treerootbridgeEverything’s been said
Poetry and all
The rich have butlers and no friends
And we have friends and no butlers
Yet, nobody said
The immigrant have no friends and no butlers
Well, correction…
That’s unpoetry
We just didn’t remember

I began my day this morning with this little poem, while riding the E train to work. The thought came to me, like an unanticipated burp, and I thought I had to write it down before it fizzled out. So, I did.
I don’t know how many times I’ve talked about building the bridge across the common men and women’s class — the so-called working class. I have written about it. I have posted numerous Facebook posts. I have even given small speeches at every opportunity I got.
And yet, I feel sorry that the bridge has not been built.
But it’s not that people do not want to do it. I speak with my labor union students. They understand it. I speak to my immigrant community. They understand it. I speak to my Bernie Sanders for 2016 colleagues. They get it very well.
Yet, I feel disappointed to see that the bridge has not been built.
Build That Bridge!
Build the bridge between whites and blacks. Blacks and immigrants. Immigrants and mainstream. Men and women. Electrical workers and plumbers. Plumbers and painters. Painters and poets. Poets and musicians. Musicians and cab drivers. Night cab drivers and night toll booth operators. Parents and teachers. Teachers and students. Environmentalists and tomato pickers. Day laborers and grocery store clerks. Car washers and clergy. Nurses and paralegals…
Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Sikhs, socialists and atheists…
You know the rest.
There is no real difference between the so-called conservative and so-called liberal, when it comes to our day-to-day struggles. The so-called left and right divide: artificial and purposefully kept. “Our” issues are not much different from “their” issues. The Kentucky clerk who refused to marry the gay couple — defying dictates from U.S. Supreme Court — perhaps goes through her real-life situations, just the same way the gay couple does, when it comes to their education, health care, pension, wages, transportation, home mortgage, lack of savings, fear of gun violence, and social security issues.
They are perhaps both concerned about the deteriorating law and order situation, and how American police are killing blacks like flies, and how the private prison corporations are working hand in hand with law enforcement to put more and more immigrants in jail — for profit. They are, I’m sure, all concerned about the rise of terrorism globally. They are, I’m sure, all sick to hear how Monsanto farmers are killing themselves in India, out of hopelessness and desperation. I am sure they all feel helpless that U.S. corporations keep shipping manufacturing jobs out to China, Korea, Mexico, India, and Bangladesh, making huge profits and paying their workers slave wages.
I am talking about the commonality of the moderate, law-abiding, non-violent men, women, and families. Here, differences can be, and will be, sorted out.
Because, unless they are crazy right wing fanatics or crazy left wing extremists, their view of life is not much different from one another. They all belong to what we now call the 99 percent. They are all being exploited, worked, and taken advantage of by the one percent. And that is where the real fight is.
It would be extremely important to find our commonalities, and our common struggles. It would be critical in the coming days to find solidarity across the spectrum, and build that all-important bridge.
Once that bridge is built, we’ll usher in a new era of togetherness — to move forward.
Let’s build that bridge.
Partha Banerjee
Brooklyn, New York