Jack realized he had, as all humans tend to, gotten older and had gotten fat. Not 'sack of lard' fat, not 'needing a scooter to get around' fat, but there was more weight on him than he preferred.
Jack joined a gym.
He had a plan. He had read countless articles in Men's Health about the right kinds of workout he needed to do to get that droopy 50-year old gut toned down. He knew what the super foods were and to avoid carbs when he could. He bought an app for his smartphone that would keep track of his exercise and caloric intake.
Jack could envision what he would look and feel like 35 pounds lighter. He could see the top of his self-imposed summit. He bought a new belt that was a few inches shorter. He ordered some new jeans that had an intentionally smaller waist to motivate him.
The first day, he woke up early and went to the gym. He worked out but not too hard. Needed to get into the groove and all that. The same for the second day and the third. The fourth morning he found himself just a bit too tired to go in. He took the day off of his climb.
By Day Nine, he realized he hadn't stepped foot in the gym for six days in a row. He was busy, he justified to himself. He had a whole life to live and wasn't a hamster in a wheel, destined to run and run with no immediate destination. He still felt committed to dropping some pounds but maybe he would shorten his goal post and work on only losing ten pounds.
Two months later, Jack had gained ten pounds.
Jack wanted the results of working out and monitoring his diet but he didn't want to put in the work. Which means that, in spite of all of Jack's noble intentions to become the Adonis of his early forties, he really didn't want to lose the weight. Not really. Not enough to actually put in the work and follow through.
As Americans, we've been realizing that racism (the systemic institutionization and legalization of bigotry baked in to American society) and the insidious specter of white supremacy is baggage we need to be rid of. We've been committing ourselves since the Reconstruction through the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to hunker down, focus our collective energy, and eradicate the extra weight of our less than glorious history.
But we don't really want to put in the work to do so.
The Conservative Americans think the work needed to be done is by brown people. Rely less on government, assimilate to the majority, work harder, stop behaving like criminals and the weight will melt off the country like biscuits duct taped to our well fed asscheeks.
The Progressive Members of the USA Tribe think the work needed to be done is by white people. Recognize their privilege, dismantle the institutions that subtly and overtly marginalized brown people, listen to PoC and those pounds will drop like stones.
Both sides are right and both sides are wrong. Black, brown and white people have to live in this godforsaken semi-united but mostly divided States together and the work to peel off the burden of prejudice is in equal measure.
We can see the goal. Seeing the goal and lip service to getting there is the easy part.
If we want it, the work must be done, pound by pound, person by person. There is no liposuction or Shake Weight or special supplement that will do the work.
We don't have equality in America because we don't want it bad enough to do that work.
First step is to agree that we want equality.
Second step is to be open enough to listen to one another to figure out what the workout regimen and diet needs to be.
Then we have to show up and do the work.
Until then, it's just a pipe dream.