Earlier today, a friend posted on Facebook
What do you think? Yesterday I said, "racism makes "good" people do "hate-filled" things." I believe there are different kinds of racists -- some are conscious and focused, cruel people (whom I can't do much with) but many are oblivious and unaware. Yes, some of my "friends" are naively racist. They are good people raised in non-integrated environments who go to church, try to do right, but have absorbed dominant culture ways around people of color. They have lived an unexamined life when it comes to race and might hold their purse tighter when the unknown black man gets on the elevator. Do you think good people can be racists? Perhaps I need to hold on to hope.
In my news feed, it came right after a link to an article in the Hartford Courant, 17 Arrested After Blocking Hartford Road During Rush Hour.
Police arrested 17 protesters who blocked Central Row during rush hour Monday afternoon as part of a Moral Monday demonstration.
The protest began at 4 p.m. as protesters locked arms and stood in the street. Many held signs saying "Black Lives Matter."
Immediately following my friend’s post was a link to Texas Cop Caught on Video Going on Violent Rampage at Pool Party.
Here is the comment I left in response to my friend’s post:
I tend to think that racism, and other 'isms' is part and parcel of the human condition. To speak in theological terms, of being sinners, of being fallen people. To speak in psychological terms, the fear of the 'other'. Who is like me? Who is different? Who is a good person? Who is a sinner? Who is a racist? Who is deeply loved by God?
To me, that last question ties it all nicely together. I strongly believe that God deeply loves me, in spite of things I've done. I strongly believe that God deeply loves those I would consider racist. I strongly believe that God deeply loves that that would consider me racist. In that, no matter what your skin color is, your reaction to other people's skin color, your gender, your sexual orientation, your reaction any of this, at the most underlying level, you are no longer 'other', you are just like me, deeply loved by God.
Perhaps, proclaiming this radical nature of God's love is core to combating racism and other 'isms'.
“Are you a leader? Are you a follower? Are those the only two options?” That old quote has come to mind a bit recently.
In the Rhizomatic discussion, we are currently talking about “what is the role of the facilitator/teacher/professor where we are using learning subjectives”. Are you a teacher? Are you a student? Are those the only two options? My initial approach was to talk about the importance of someone creating a structure, a safe place to learn.
Another context is a cartoon I shared on Facebook. A speaker addresses a crowd of people asking “Who wants change?” and everyone raises their hands. The same speaker addresses the same crowd asking, “Who wants to change?” and no one raises their hands. It seems like we see this all the time of Facebook. People trying to change everyone else’s opinions, but not being willing to change their own opinions.
Perhaps we see this best in current online political discourse. It is also showing up in the political process. Who are you supporting for President (for my U.S. friends)? Is this a person that represents your views, who you think will be most effective in getting polices that arein line with your views, elected? Can we get a transformational politician that will say something like,
The biggest lie people like me tell people like you at election time is, if you vote for me, I’ll solve all your problems. The truth is, the power to change this country is in your hands, not mine.
As much as I like this idea and the politician I’m quoting, it makes me think of the scene in Life of Brian where Brian tells the crowds, “You are all individuals, and they change back in near perfect unison, ‘We are all individuals’.
The power to change this country doesn’t come from voting for the candidate that promises change. It doesn’t come from voting for the candidate that tells us we have the power to bring about change. No, the real power of change comes from being the change we want to see in the world.
So, are you a leader? A follower? A teacher? A student? Do you have power, if so, what is it?
It has been a very long day, starting off with people wishing “May the Fourth” be with you, or singing, “Tin soldiers and Nixon coming.” I thought about Kent State. I was there ten years later. I thought about Baltimore, and Texas and how divisive our politics has become. Some friends have been saying it’s going to be a long hot summer.
But I had work to do. I took the day off from my paying job to volunteer to help get the vote out in the Woodbridge municipal election. There was a lot of data entry and number crunching, but not much time for reflection.
Now, I’m finally home, and I can reflect, but I’m too tired to go into detail. The incumbent Democratic First Selectman, Ellen Scalettar narrowly won re-election. The Republican under ticket did well, and it looks like, after a very divisive campaign, we will have mixed government in Woodbridge, perhaps doing as well as our mixed government in Washington has done.
It is Election Eve in Woodbridge and Bethany, and a few other towns around Connecticut as well. There are a handful of towns that have their municipal elections in May.
For the past week, I’ve been doing what I can to help with the Democratic ticket. Most of my focus has been on data. The signs are all up and we are ready for the election.
As I drove home from election headquarters, I felt a certain excitement. Elections are important, especially local elections, and too many people don’t appreciate that.
My writing has fallen behind schedule over the past week, but I’ve managed to organize some of my thoughts, so I hope to get back in the swing of things soon.
However, April was a very busy month and May is looking the same, so we’ll see.
A comment and a post I put up on Facebook today. The comment was in response to a friend who posted about “a segment of the population that acts as if anyone who is accessing their government benefits, they paid into their entire lives, is ripping off the government.”
I often think that people who protest too much about one thing or another are actually reflecting their own fears or weaknesses. They worry about others ripping off the government, because deep down inside, they know that they are getting more out of society than they put in.
I believe that I get much more that what I am justified receiving, not only in terms of services from the government (good libraries, schools, roads, police and fire, etc) than I actually pay for in taxes. Yet I believe that this also reflects the greater condition of mankind, receiving more from God's abundant grace than we deserve.
The other was a snarky comment about a post that one of the campaigns in this year’s Woodbridge Municipal election made about people in local politics having spouses that are involved in local politics. I noted that my campaign manager from my 2012 may have been a distant cousin of mine.
All of these are things I’d like to expound open, if I wasn’t so tired. The next three days will be pretty busy, but then I hope to get a little down time.