Friday, July 08, 2016
From many - One.
The difficulty in talking about racism is that racism is predicated on gross generalizations, sweeping statements and a dehumanizing set of biases. It’s difficult to talk about racism – particularly as a white southerner - because one runs the risk of becoming an apologist or a naïve denialist or even worse, slipping into gross generalizations that, even when well-intentioned, turn to an “us vs. them” point of view.
The public space where this conversation should happen, our political sphere, has become a shit show.
The rhetoric of hate, the politics of exclusion and fear mongering have dominated our public discourse.
Money, and we are obsessed with money, Money is speech. Every conversation we have of the public good is underwritten, undercut, by money. As a people we seem so fearful that someone might take something away from us.
Many of us claim to be people of faith. Many of us say we are Christians, Muslims, religious Jews or any number of other religions, and many more say we are committed to the ideals set forth by our founders, and yet, many of us practice an intellectual laziness that undermines everything we say we believe in. Many of us do not question whether or not the positions we take are in keeping with the principles we say we hold. For many of us our biases are so deeply rooted that we cannot muster compassion for our fellow human beings.
What is our responsibility as guardians of the principles we hold? – There is so much cynicism around the things we “say” we believe in. Too often it’s enough to say it or use it as a position from which to condemn others – but to actually practice what we say we believe … This is the hard work that we’re called to do – to put aside our selfish concerns, to look past fear, to hold our nation to the highest examples of those principles.
I get so frustrated when people who claim to hold to these ideals, who claim for instance to be Christian, can justify in their own minds the selfish and meanness that produces the very atmosphere of fear and hate that contributes to the violence we’re seeing now. The great leaders of history were philosophers, they thought deeply about ethics, about how the world should be and if we are to follow any one of them we must do the same.
How to we comfort one another? How to we take care for one another? How do we fulfill our responsibility to the ideals of our nation: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness? that we are all created equal? How do we ensure that we are worthy of our inheritance, of those that we say we come after? Love one another - and part of that work is to dwell on what loving means.