The United HEART of America

There’s a place that I know
In the middle of town
Seems joyful and cheery
Until you sit down

And gaze into the eyes
of Buster Brown
Who’ll turn your sweet smile
Into a sizeable frown

But before you do that
He’ll ask for a chat
“Go on now,” he’ll chuckle
Just hang up your hat!”

He’ll put down his rifle
And guzzle his beer
And you won’t really know
What you’re doing here

You’re sister told you
She’d rather be dead
Then visit this land
The land of the RED

But you are not her
And she is not you
And you want to embrace
What’s RED and what’s BLUE

Lately, you’ve wondered
What’s all this commotion?
Why’s everyone, everywhere
So filled with emotion?

And how did the middle
Get so far ahead
Seems everyone you know
Is BLUE and not RED

So here you are
Away from your home
In a place way out
Of your comfort zone

You left your BLUE friends
Way out West
Where everyone’s nervous
Uneasy and stressed

Cause things aren’t the same
As they used to be
When all felt welcome
United and free

When no talk of walls
Or deportation
Loomed over the airways
Of our great nation

Buster Brown
Stares you straight in the eye
He says, “no time to waste
And no time to lie.”

And then:

“Now that you’re sitting
I see you’re not quitting
I’ll try to explain
My RED hot domain.”

“See, we in the RED
Just don’t understand
Why you ‘liberal elites’
Think this is your land.”

“We in the RED
Take up so much more space
Than your crowded cities
That are a disgrace.”

“With your smog
Cost of living and awful congestion
We in the RED
Have a clever suggestion.”

He leaned on one elbow
As if this was big news
As if what he would say
Would blow my short fuse

He slammed down his beer
And held his head high
Then looked out the window
And let out a sigh

He said:

“Stop smoking your weed
Get off your high horses
Stop changing your sexes
And getting divorces!”

“Stop reading novellas
And thinking your cool
Driving your Tesla’s
To your kid’s private school.”

“Stop eating your vegan and
Organic food
We find it annoying
Elitist and rude.”

“Stop saving the planet
And constructing your lies
There’s no climate change, got it?”
His voice it did rise

Then Buster Brown
He looked around
Unsure bout’ how
This would all go down

He roared:

“Try some McDonalds
Inhale a Big Mac
Drive a Jeep or a Ford
Bring America back!”

“Stop posting on Facebook
And making asinine movies
Being politically correct
And drinking kale smoothies!”

“Stop shopping at all those
High dollar stores
Your men look like pimps
And your women like whores!”

Then he composed himself
As if he were prince charming
And my inner bells
Were flashing and sounding

He twiddled his thumbs
Then straightened his shirt
As if he were removing
A small piece of dirt.

“See, we in the RED
Our values are high
Our impeccable morals
Are hard to deny.”

“The sanctity of marriage between
Women and men
Is held up by the RED
Time and again.”

“But you in the BLUE
What’s wrong with you?
Mixing all kinds
And crossing all lines?”

“What happened to families
Congregations and schools
Solving their problems
Without government rules?”

“What happened to REDS
Making dreams real
Without BLUES intruding
And ruining the deal?”

“We in the RED
Are better off dead
Than having you BLUE folk
Control us instead!”

Then he sat back again
So proud of his speech
Convinced that he had
Some moral to teach

“And finally,” he said
“There’s a guy on top
Who’s all about business
And making liberals stop.”

“So there you have it!”
Said Buster Brown
Staring at me straight
Then up and down

I wiggled in my seat
And cleared my throat
Held onto my purse
And grabbed my coat

I looked around
At those in the bar
Staring at me with eyes
From afar

I thought to myself
This is what we’re against
And I swallowed real hard
As my shoulders got tensed

But – I didn’t travel
All the way to this place
To have Buster Brown
Spit in my face

So I smiled really sweet
Stared at him in the eye
And what happened next
I cannot deny

Welled up from someplace
Deep inside
Was it the strength of my relatives
Who’d already died?

“I hear what you’re saying,”
I said, so sincerely
“But it’s not all that simple,”
I spoke to him clearly

“I get that you’re angry
That we’re interfering
That you think we’re perverse
And domineering.”

“I get that you think that
We’ve stolen your dreams
That you think we are playing
On opposing teams

“But Buster Brown
Please listen here
It is not the BLUE folk
You should fear.”

“See we are trying
To make it easier for you
Yes – easier for REDS
We in the BLUE.”

“We want your kids to be safe
And your air to be clean
We want BLUE and RED
To dream their own dreams!”

“We want fairness for all
Both the rich and the poor
Cause under His plan
The rich will get more.”

“We want your land to be green
And your skies to be blue
And if He burns more coal
It won’t benefit you.”

“Cause the more that you burn
The more we’ll get heated
GLOBAL WARMING IS REAL
I said, then repeated.”

“It’s not BLUE against RED
It’s bigger then that
It’s the fate of our planet
That’s under attack.”

“And if one day the Chief
Gets his ego all bruised
If one day he feels a bit cross
And all used.”

“He might alter the lives of
The BLUE and the RED
No more talking like this
Cause we’ll all end up dead.”

“And so Buster Brown
In the middle of town
I’m asking you sweetly
To put your gun down.”

“I’m not fighting you
And you’re not fighting me
Cause we both want to live
In harmony.”

“I’m sure you have a son
Or even a daughter
Who deserves non-GMO food
And drinkable water?”

“Who deserves to feel free
Without fearing an attack
Cause a ‘Muslim ban’
Just won’t fix that.”

Who deserves clean air
And not a black sky
Where children can breath
And birds can fly high

Then in his eyes
A sadness appeared
As if something inside
Had magically cleared

He pulled out his iPhone
And held up a pic
“His name is Richard…
but we call him ‘Rick.’”

His eyes welled up
And his voice became croaky
“He’s the light of my life
I know it sounds hokey.”

“Oh he’s so cute
Can’t be more than four?
But what is he holding
The inhaler for?”

“Well…the little guy’s got asthma
He needs it to breathe
The doc tells us things
Not sure what to believe.”

“Says the power plant where I work
Is making it worse
Says he may need to always see
A doc or nurse.”

And as I spoke to the man
Who held his gun near
I saw on his cheek
A solitary tear

Was Buster Brown
This big brawny guy
Showing emotion
And starting to cry?

And I didn’t want to take
A BLUE position
Touting power plants can agitate
His son’s condition

So I just sat for a bit then
I did something surprising
I could feel my heart open
My bravery rising

I extended my hand
Across the table
As if I were a wise woman
In a eminent fable

I knew it was risky
And I saw all the REDS shake
But something told me
It’s a risk I must take

Cause us REDS and us BLUES
We share the same flag
Drive the same highways
That zig and that zag

We share the same planet
Stare at the same moon
And that’s not changing
Any time soon

This is not a time
To fight with each other
It’s a time to shake hands
Like a sister or brother

And so Buster Brown
He took my small hand
As I felt this great nation
Form a tight band

His eyes became soft
And his lips formed a grin
And I knew that a friendship
Could somehow begin

For it just takes one person
To extend their hand
And one by one
We can all understand

That America’s flag
Is both BLUE and RED
And the changes we make
Affect both of our beds

And so we sat there
We sat there we two
A RED man holding
The hands of a BLUE

And I felt our colors
Intertwine
RED arteries and BLUE veins
Crossing lines

The human heart
Weaving RED with BLUE
Beating to a
Hidden hue

Interlacing colors
Of great division
Pounding with
Routine precision

So next time you can
Please do not be shy
Speak up and ask
That small simple guy

Why he hates you
And thinks your so awful
Doing terrible things
That he sees as unlawful

We’re in this together
The RED and the BLUE
I see that so clearly now

But….

Do you?

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