Dear America: Murder is Not Complicated; It’s Murder

Kellin Burr

Dear America,

Last year you turned 243 years old, and in that short amount of time so much has been achieved. Skyscrapers, microwaves, and LED lights were all invented in America. The first email was sent in America. And with that tidal wave of wealth and innovation came greed, corruption, and extreme imbalances of power. On May 25, 2020, George Floyd was murdered. It was a complex act that was given complex excuses in order to uphold a simple, fascist system, a system that you, America, keep alive. 

You used to be seen as a land of great opportunity for those from other countries who needed a better life. A better future. And for many, it still is. So I reached out to a couple of my friends from other countries and asked what they thought of America. My friend Elias, who lives in Saudi Arabia, said, “It’s this place that everyone glamorizes and often people would become envious of…it’s less safe and so intimidating, healthcare’s [bad], cops are terrifying, your presidents and people of power are always a joke, student loans, [what] are they and why are they so expensive. Yes, sometimes I do get jealous that you have more freedom to express yourselves but still, at what cost?” And I think they raise a lot of great points. Media, Hollywood, those blinded by false glamour, all ignore the major problems with you, America, just to keep up with the charade. My friend Ryder, who lives in Indonesia, had some strong words as well. He said, “the world doesn’t revolve around America. You should know that, you have disadvantages, sure, but please listen to other countries’ voices, do NOT speak over us, we’re tired of it really.” When I hear what he has to say, it makes me sad, because America can be a better place full of hope and bright futures. You just have to be a white, straight, cisgender male with money in order to have that bright future. 

As well as having a bad rep with other countries, some of your own citizens aren’t too fond either. When I asked a friend to describe America in one word, their answer was “neocolonialism.” “Living” in America feels more like just surviving. Fighting to not go broke. Fighting to have a decent job and fair opportunities. Fighting for basic human rights. Fighting to survive when you don’t fit the mold of what American society wants to see. 

You are a country where young black kids are taught how to not get shot when a cop pulls them over. You are a country where slurs are said freely and kids are desensitized to them. You are a country where hate crimes go unpunished because “it’s complicated.” But the color of someone’s skin is not “complicated.” Someone’s sexuality is not “complicated.” The murder of George Floyd was not “complicated.” It was a murder. 

Signed, a punk, queer, fed-up citizen of America,

Kellin Burr