November 8 will be America’s time to decide what kind of future to give to its children: one of  hope or more fear

 

I

A lonely figure walks down an empty, dusty road. Opposite, across the way, he spots an even lonelier individual. ‘Nigger’, is the word to be spoken, spoken with too much freedom and ease to even begin to comprehend.

In the school playground a young mother protects her children from an evil, prowling far too easily.

Another mother defends her children against the steely glare of the town bullies.

Niggers vs the Bullies. One man’s nigger is another’s freedom fighter.

Back at the school playground … kids are divided. The blacks stare at the whites. The whites stare at the blacks. There’s no tag being played today.

From within the school gates the children look out at the empty oil rigs, the abandoned factories. My dad used to work their, you can hear them say.

In the classrooms the teachers talk of a golden past of wealth and prosperity. Talk of today is … nonexistent — it’s far too depressing for children’s ears.

Outside the sirens can be heard. Not distant enough. Outside the school gates are acts of murder and violence you couldn’t even begin to explain to a child in a playground.

How can a human do that to another human? a child may ask …

Through the beauty of a child’s simple and unneutered mind comes the most compelling question.

An answer?

There’s none. Only one of distress and tears. One of guilt and confusion.

II

Further down the road the posh kids play. The ‘establishment‘, a mother calls them. The ‘b*****ds’, another parent shouts. The division and hate could not be clearer.

In this playground there is no bullying, no steely glare. But instead, prosperity and wealth. A child living the dream … Playing tag with freedom. In this other playground mothers talk of the lazy and thick ones from down the road. The unfortunate, the hopeless idiots.

From within the school gates the children look out at the bustling city, the high-rise tower blocks. ‘My dad works their’, you can hear them say.

In the classrooms the teachers talk of a dark past of poverty and crime. Talk of today is … popular — after all, it’s a much jollier story for children’s ears.

Outside the school gates sirens pass, far too distant for a child to raise their head and look out the window.

III

Eight years ago this road was filled with hope and joy.

Today that tale is only told by ‘the few’.

On one side of the river is anger and neglect. And fear.

Whilst on the other side is a feeling of joy and prosperity. And wealth.

But life continues; the clock keeps ticking.

That’s until November 8 — the date on the school blackboard.

‘What does that mean’, a teacher asks?

It’s an opportunity to sort this street out, a white child cries. While another child, black this time, says the same. And then again, the same eight-word expletive follows: ‘b*****ds!’. This time though, by a rich child up the road. Then back at the other school, a poor child mutters the same.

Through the simple mind of a child November 8 is a chance to sort his street out. The question is whether this street votes for Hillary Clinton, someone who has presided over their lives these past years, or Donald Trump — supposedly representing the greatest change yet (even if we don’t know what that change will be).

This complicated and divided street has a sign. Like any street, this sign is to provide passers-by with a name, now to a lost place. Once it stood proud and strong. Now it barely holds up. Swaying in the wind, it reads: Welcome to the United States of America.

And maybe these words … where the American Dream is not shared by all … should be added to the bottom:

Each child dreams a different American Dream.

On the 8th of November, 230million people will decide which child wakes up to see their dream come to life. And which has to get out of bed, head to the playground and join the rest of the children, who are sat staring at the happier kids playing a simple game of American class tag.

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