The year 1965 etched right below the face of our nation’s first president. “Liberty” scrawled right over the top, while “In God We Trust” is tucked under Washington’s chin. The “I” is almost completely worn out. You no longer have your luster. I mean I cannot blame you—you are 52 years old.
I wonder what those worn eyes have seen? What those frayed ears have heard? How many somersaults have you done to make life changing decisions for your possessor? How many transactions have you made? How many debts have you settled?
Could you tell me what the civil rights movement was like? Did you jingle in Martin’s pocket as he marched to fight oppression? Or were you still in the darkness as your owner watched from afar? From that distance did you hear the hiss of those hoses or the howls of those dogs?
In the 70’s as funk and disco rocked the world did you dance along?
I bet you preferred the 80’s. When the cool beats of hip-hop shook the world like boom box speakers turned all the way up. Or were you and your possessor one of the many victims of the crack epidemic. Were you given away to a dealer to satisfy someone’s fix? Were you there when the police came and violated that same dealer’s rights? When the prosecutor threw the book at him because his product was a rock instead of a powder? I’m sure you witnessed so many things.
We all know where we were when those planes dropped altitude and smashed against those towers. Where were you? Did you see it happen in person or where you tucked away in the security of a child’s piggy bank?
Were you in a jar on a table in the living room of a middle-class family who cheered for progress as “Yes We Can” billowed through the speakers of their television set? Or perhaps where you in a dark nook of a leather couch belonging to a rich man as he stood in awe and anguish about his newly found increased tax bracket?
Just on a side note Mr. Washington. How did you feel? When he won did you shed a silver tear? I mean you were the first president. Did you imagine a black man attaining the same heights as you? Sitting and living in the same immaculate residence you once resided; in the city that bears your name. Actually, who am I kidding? Of course not.
I wonder if that cashier gave you to Trayvon Martin on that fatal night? When all he was in search for were Skittles and an Arizona—but found cold steel instead. Did you hear the aggression and hate in George Zimmerman’s voice? Who really was the aggressor? As your silver body became covered in Trayvon’s blood what were his last words? If you could have testified in that courtroom would George Zimmerman really be a free man right now?
Only if you could open up. The stories you would tell. The wrongs you would right. But alas—your lips are forged together in an eternal oath of silence.