I feel ashamed to be an American

I made the mistake today of watching some of the  senate’s proceedings in the nomination of sexual assaulter Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. I watched the Republican led committee attempt to push through the nomination of a man who has been accused by no fewer than three women of sexual misconduct. I watched online as Dr. Christine Blasey Ford recounted the harrowing details of an attempted sexual assault. I watched as she described the vicious threats and attacks on her character. Then I watched a man with anger and contempt in his heart launch a screed against the Democratic Party calling the last two weeks “a calculated and orchestrated political hit.” I watched a woman emotionally recount the worst moment of her life, and I watched a man lie contemptuously to a nation. It made me want to vomit.

The last two years have been the lowest point in our nation’s history at least since the Vietnam war. Millions of Americans have resisted and have fought back to no avail. One party with no power attempts to hold our political and social infrastructure together, while the other attempts to render it apart, betraying our oldest values of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The last two weeks may have been the most frustrating so far. The Republican Judiciary Committee has attempted to force through their nomination without due process, and performed a mockery of a hearing in to extremely credible allegations of sexual assault against their nominee. This nomination process is a disgusting, shameful, and unacceptable abuse of the democratic process.

When I sit here in Israel and look at the news, I at best cringe, and at worst cry. I look at the shell of what my country has become. America is unrespectable. Our government abuses the democratic process daily, whether it is attempting to take away healthcare from millions of Americans, ignoring calls for common sense gun control, or pushing through the nomination of a man accused of sexual assault. The executive branch promotes the abuse of human rights when it defies court orders to stop separating families and is slow to reunite them.

I feel ashamed to be an American. It hurts that this is part of my legacy, it hurts that these abuses are part of my identity. I feel ashamed. Pride in America at this point would be foolish bravado. I feel ashamed. Part of me wants to go to the nearest consulate and perforate my passport, to renounce this part of my being. But no matter how many holes I punch in my passport, I alone cannot absolve America of her sins.

I am choosing to enter shabbat with this on my mind. What can I do to make my country better, how do I reduce this disgust I feel? I am not eighteen which means I cannot vote, however many of you can. I urge each and every one of you to vote, and involve yourself in the process. Vote in a way that you feel puts a check on our government. Let us together make America a country we can be proud of again.


About the Author
Born and raised in the Fairfax suburbs of Washington D.C. Mitchell Akawie at fourteen decided to move to Israel without his parents as a member of the NAALE program. He writes about the Israeli youth experience, Oleh Rights, The Conflict, and Israeli art and culture . His interests include playing piano, guitar, and bass, along with destroying the eardrums around him on saxophone. He also enjoys writing and baking in his spare time. He currently lives at Mosenson Youth Village in HodHasharon. He is also an alumnus of Gesher Jewish Day School in Fairfax VA.
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