America the Beautiful

America the beautiful…
To hear Ray Charles sing it
I could almost see it too
And I wanted to believe that
“God shed His grace on thee”
but, the more I learned of “thee”
the less could I deny that
this was a lie
For there was nothing beautiful
in genocide
And there was nothing graceful
about slavery
But, what I did find beautiful
…from sea to shining sea
Was that despite the disgraceful legacy
which our Founding Fathers perpetrated
And despite the fact that their most damnable offspring
White Supremacy
is still alive and well in America
Despite all of this…
there have always been some
men and women
who were willing to challenge
that which was, far from beautiful
Some of them, way back when
took up arms
like the abolitionist John Brown
And some of them, not so long ago
took a silent, and peaceful knee
Those, to me
were the Beautiful
in America the Beautiful
Not those men whose faces
were chiseled into the side of a mountain
and not those whose faces
are still stamped onto our currency
…But to those who stepped up
those who knelt down
(for the betterment of others)
Those are the ones I choose to honor
And those are the ones I want to remember
When I think of
America the Beautiful.

Marty Zupan is a a foundry worker from Seattle. He can be reached at Read other articles by Marty.