Monday, May 3, 2010

Angry Men

May 3, 2010

I read an article somewhere suggesting that part of the problem with much of the negativity in Washington (currently represented by the tea party movement and Mitch McConnell’s inability to find anything he likes in any proposal from Democrats, but from which no party is immune) is that it is un-American. The article suggested that in a democracy, some respect must be given to majority desires in the assurance that there will be another election in due course where the polis may express their preferences. The author pointed out that President Obama ran for office in part on a platform of healthcare reform, was elected by a large majority at the head of a party with majorities in both houses of congress. He then set about doing what he said he would do with endless and public conversation, televised debate, open process and on and on. At what point do those who resist move on? The refusal to accept democracy at work is what is being suggested is un-American.

Related to that, a friend sent me an article from the San Francisco Sentinel by Tim Wise (25 April 2010) called Imagine if the Tea Party was Black.

Here are just a few quotes from the article:

“Imagine that hundreds of black protestors were to descend on Washington DC and Northern Virginia…armed with AK-47s, assorted handguns and ammunition …Would these black protestors with guns be seen as brave defenders of the Second Amendment, or would they be viewed by most whites as a danger to the republic?”

“Imagine that white members of congress, while walking to work, were surrounded by thousands of angry black people, one of whom proceeded to spit on one of the congressmen for not voting the way the black protestors desired?...that is what white Tea Party protestors did recently in Washington.”

“Imagine that a rap artist were to say in reference to a white president: ‘He’s a piece of shit and I told him to suck on my machine gun.”…that’s what rocker Ted Nugent said recently about President Obama.”

Is this really legitimate protest when engaged in by people who have generally seen themselves as ‘those in power’ when ‘outsiders’ would be viewed as threatening and probably criminal? And does any of this suggest that all is well with the State of the Union?

The sea change that has been going on for years and has made possible (at least for now) a black President is being predictably resisted by those who feel some sense of loss, often without really knowing what that is. We have seen the same behavior in the church over the ordination of women and, more recently, the reaching of a tipping point in support of gay and lesbians in the church. The noise and bad behavior of those who feel themselves displaced is just plain ugly. I am not convinced that any of these changes are secure as yet but I am convinced that they are gospel, consistent with the good news of Christ and consistent with Peter’s vision at Joppa of nothing and no one God has made being declared profane. With any such change sabotage and resistance is inevitable. This is the time to stay the course.


oldmiler said...

Geoffrey, thank you for a clear and concise statement, full of grace AND truth.

Lerewayah said...

Amen, Geoffrey, amen. There is nothing so dangerous as an injured, cornered animal. The metaphor that comes to mind is my cat, who had been injured, and I was trying to get her to get into her carrier to be taken to the vet for treatment. Whether reasonably or not, I think that is why we are seeing such a vicious reaction from the likes of the most rabid of the Tea Baggers.

Gretchen Chateau

David Harre said...

Geoffrey, I think that the confusion and profound sense of loss that
many Americans feel is a result of the increasing Latinization and Africaniztion of this country.

They perceive that something must have gone deeply wrong with our country when Oprah and Tiger Woods, only two examples of minorities can become overwhelmingly successful and wealthy.

The uniquely American value and goal of absorption of immigrants has often been threatening before is was celebrated.

Stay well and articulate,