Saturday, July 20, 2013

Thoughts on the lynching of Trayvon Martin after his death

"Hey, let's move on" always works in the eyes of oppressors and other wrongdoers, but it never works for the oppressed.  The usual answer to that is to shut them up with invasions and bombings, the whip and the gallows, or with a beating - depending on whether it's on the scale of the nation state, local jurisdictions, or an individual family.  American white people are heavily invested in not knowing what it's like to be a black person in this country - or people in Yemen or Pakistan, who are supposed to appreciate treatment that all Americans would answer with roadside bombs if they were in the same situation -  so they don't.

Marching German villagers to the camps in 1945 to see what they didn't want to see fueled plenty of discomfort, but not racial hatred.  That was what spawned the camps in the first place.  Making Americans see what they actually did in Indochina in the process or murdering over 3 million people wasn't comfortable, but it was necessary, and we're in a lot of the trouble we're in because that remedy was not properly applied and accepted 40 years ago.

The problem is that American racism is in the foundations of American national identity.  This nation was founded on slavery and genocide, and the problem was noted by even such as Abigail Adams and Samuel Johnson, who rightly asked in 1775:

"How is it that we hear the loudest yelps for liberty among the drivers of negroes?"

Until Americans consider and arrive at a good answer to Johnson's question, we're not getting anywhere.  And it's a tough question, which drags in a few other questions, for instance:

- What is liberty anyway?  Is it the freedom to do whatever you want?  Nazis abounded in that sort of liberty where Jews and Roma were concerned, just as Americans treasured such liberty where robbing Indians and enslaving, flogging, and raping black people was concerned.  Let's remember that the American revolutionary impulse began in 1763 with the British order for Americans not to cross the Appalachians in order to rob and dispossess the Indian tribes.

- Do we find life and liberty by granting these to others, as Jesus and the prophets taught, or by enslaving others as slave-owning preachers of liberty like Jefferson, Madison, and Patrick Henry believed?  What drove them all nuts in Virginia in November 1775 is when the British governor, Dunmore, offered liberty to any slave that fled to him from the lovers of liberty like Jefferson and Henry. 

To a Christian like me, the issue is starkly put in Revelation 13: the faith and perseverance of the saints in the face of the regime of Antichrist is to know that those who live by killing people will die, and those that build their freedom on their captivity will be enslaved.  That tells me that the ideology of Antichrist is that our lives are ensured by the murder of others, and our freedom by their enslavement - and that has been the foundational ideology of the American nation since our fathers crawled up out of the ocean 400 years ago.

Such fundamental problems in our view of ourselves, in where we can live and move and be, are not fixed by superficial remedies.  Unfortunately, professing Christians are generally so apostate themselves in these matters, being actually in greater darkness than those around us, that no help is available from there.  It calls to mind what Jesus said: if the light in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

I think it's obvious that Jesus and the prophets are right - that slaughtering, enslaving, and plundering the world, and then lying to ourselves about it, is quickly leading to the loss of the life and liberty under the Bush-Obama regime that for centuries we have denied others.  And our boastful conceit, our airs about being the light of the world and so forth, are running into that law of the universe that pride comes before stumbling, and a haughty spirit before a fall.  Maybe centuries before, in some cases, as with Samaria and Judah, but eventually without fail, unless there is some fundamental repentance, unless the American war against the truth about ourselves comes to an end.  

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