That NEW Adage

A pressure-relief valve about God, and just about everything else.

Look at You, America!


Medgar Evers. Shot dead in the back in his driveway in front of his family. Chaney, Schwerner, and Goodman. Civil rights workers, murdered. Four little black girls. Blown up in a church, for goodness sake. King. Shot in the face. Black women and men, sprayed by fire hoses, chewed by german shepherds, beaten with sticks, spat upon, hanged, burned, castrated, terrorized, cheated, miseducated. All these atrocities and countless more in attempts, mainly, to keep black people from that one central symbol of human, American freedom: The Vote.

The crux of the Civil Rights Movement was the right for black people to vote. Voting was the most direct route to economic fairness, education, and basic human rights, and both sides knew it! That was probably why there were so many trumped-up rules and restrictions. That was why so many black folk, and sympathetic white folk, died premature deaths. Voting is more “America” than that fabled Apple Pie.

I am not a Democrat. I am not a Republican. And I am not a “Bill O’Reilly Independent,” either. I have true non-negotiable differences with both parties.

I don’t support a woman’s “right” to have an abortion any more than I would be expected to have the “right” to kill my two-month-old daughter sitting next to me. But I also think that there are life-and-death repercussions for systematically leaving whole segments of the population to perpetually, generationally fester and prey on each other. Spiritually speaking, I think there are souls being lost in poverty, gang and drug-infested areas of America, and frankly, God says that loss of the soul is more serious than loss of the body to death.

You think white girls are not getting pregnant, too? Look at the “Girls Gone Wild” phenomenon. Look at Ft. Lauderdale and Cancun during spring break. Come with me to an Ole Miss frat party! I submit that if their conservative daddies were not paying for so many abortions, the white out-of-wedlock-birthrate would look like the black one.

I just don’t think that either party is the “Party of Christ.” Were that so, eight years of George Bush would’ve done something to curb — not advance — gay rights and abortion. Twenty years out of the last twenty-eight of Republican presidency would have decreased some of the moral ills that plague us. Practically speaking, Republicans don’t appear to love God any more than do Democrats…

This is not about for whom I am voting or endorsing. Don’t dismiss me as just another Brother voting for a Brother because he is a Brother. I don’t do that. Besides, we black folk have been voting for white guys for years! We don’t tend to discriminate like that. We get or surgeries from white doctors, we get our teeth pulled by white dentists, we get our loans — when we can — from white bankers, we buy our homes — or rent them — from white realtors, we fly planes piloted by white pilots, and on and on…

We even worship a white Jesus! And we don’t care! (melody: I Dreeeam of Genie…) “I wor- ship Je-sus – with the light – brown – hair…!”

But there is a reason why so may blacks were Brooklyn Dodgers fans. There is a reason why so many black folk moved to Detroit to work in the auto industry back in the day. They gave us a chance. That is the reason why so many blacks vote with the Democrats.

But never did I really think that even democratic white voters, West Virginia notwithstanding, would en masse vote in favor of a black dude with an African name for the highest office in the most powerful nation! I am nonplussed! My wife cried her eyes out as she listened to his ostensible acceptance speech. This was US up there! Our dead sharecropper, housekeeper grandparents. Our lynched great-uncles and stepped-on progenitors.

I am so proud! Michelle Obama was skewered for daring to hint that her American experience was anything but idyllic. But as someone who was — and occasionally is — persecuted for my pigment, I totally understand her perspective. I have never been ashamed to be an American. In fact, when I was in the military and overseas, I was almost overconfident in my Americanness! But black folk see the country from under the stairs. I am overjoyed that America has come this far in this struggle to take an unknown black guy and rocket him past a woman who started this race five feet from the finish line.

I really feel like an American now, like I have a chance, however remote… And if you ave a problem with me just now saying that, I am not bothered. 

I never once thought I could tell my son that he could grow up to one day be President. Now, I can. My folks told me that if I applied myself, I could be a lawyer or a doctor or an engineer. They never told me I could be the President, though. If they did, it rang hollow like knocking on a pressboard dinner table with an aluminum spoon. That ceiling was plaster and concrete! They never thought this day would come. In a way, the nomination is more significant than the general election would be. It speaks of possibilities, of what might be, of living on stars.

When he first got into the race, I was totally dismissive, not believing that this country would ever let a Negro run the show. And then he won the Iowa caucus… I never thought I would see it.

The Republican machine can be treacherous though. Sean Hannity, et al, will not go gently into that good night to be sure!

This nomination definitely does not kill all racism, not even most of it, but it shows that the ship is actually turning.

Hank Hanegraaff, a theologian whom I admire greatly, and from whom I have learned a countless amount, often is known to have said that “the Bible says nothing about race except to run the race.” The problem that I have with what appears to be only lip service to the realities of racial disharmony is that he does not address the fact that we still have to live. We still have to “do life” in this country. How does his statement make those people feel who have had to start from a mile behind the starting line? How does that statement play out in this current predatory lending crisis? How does it work when I have to read racist jokes written by co-workers in a black magazine? What does it do when a racist neighbor confronts my wife?

It is fine to say that when you get to come and go as you please, and play golf at whatever country club you please without stigma, but it does me little good when I have police walk up on me with their hands on their guns because my tags were out.

And the Bible certainly does deal with race! Moses’ own sister was struck with leprosy when she rebuked her brother for marrying a Cushite — a black woman. And Peter, Jesus’ own disciple, was reprimanded by Paul for showing racial prejudice towards non-Jews. So, while Hanegraaff is a kind of mentor to me, his seeming dismissal of racial issues hurts those like me who expect a prominent “evangelical” to echo the heart of God on the practical application of Christians on everyday racial issues.

It makes it look as though “evangelicals” don’t mind us serving the same God as long as we do it from our own neighborhoods, our own churches, and with our own women. Surely this is not the case!

But regardless of the political ramifications, regardless of how this affects potential Supreme Court demographics, how doggone cool is it that people of all hues can truly look past exterior differences and cultural unfamiliarity to nominate someone unlike themselves? THAT is America! That is a glimpse of what this country can truly be! Irrespective of how you see the role of government, how great is it that the most historically oppressed group of people in this country can be finally equal enough to win the nomination of a major party in a cycle when the OTHER major party has so alienated people that it is highly likely that the latter will likely lose power?!?

No, Obama is not someone to whom I would look for Spiritual guidance, but neither was Reagan or Nixon or Clinton or Carter or Bush. Maybe Huckabee, but definitely not Romney or Gore. But we are not electing pastors. We are trying to find someone to competently run this nation’s business. To govern and legislate justly in the best interest of every American, not just the rich, the Spiritual, the privileged.

Race doesn’t determine my politics. But I refuse to be angry that someone who lives life through the same prism that I do has a chance to sit in the Top Chair.

I am exceedingly proud to finally, really, be able to tear up my Three-Fifths of a Man card and step into this full surrogate American humanity.

This is like Joe Louis versus Max Schmeling. Jesse Owens versus Hitler. They run, they fight, for themselves, but for the rest of us, too.

So, gimme five, America! On tha black-hand side! You got soul!

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June 4, 2008 - Posted by | Abortion, Barack Obama, Christian Life, Christianity, Civil Rights, Conservatives, Democrats, Elections, George Bush, God, Hillary Clinton, Humor, Martin Luther King, Obama, Politics, Pro-Life, Race, Racial Reconciliation, Racism, Religious Right, Republicans, Sean Hannity, Vote | ,

8 Comments »

  1. Hmmm. I’m split by this post. I 100% agree that this nomination is a victory in the war of equality and I celebrate that. I’m excited that finally there is potential for every man to be president.

    However, I struggle with your dismissal of political ramifications and spiritual guidance. As Christians we are called to vote on our faith. The United States was founded by Christians with Christian morals and principles. Doesn’t is concern you that in this election there is not one candidate who stands for what they believe in outside of the moral? Doesn’t it spell trouble when neither white nor black candidate would protect unborn children, or the sanctity of marriage?

    You said, “To govern and legislate justly in the best interest of every American, not just the rich, the Spiritual, the privileged.” I agree that the President is to govern all men and women regardless of race, income, education, privilege, etc. But wouldn’t you want them to do so with a moral code?

    Look man, I’m happy that a black man is the democratic nominee for President and I salute him for this success and win for racial equality. But is it going to change all that much? Is this the “change we can believe in?” Because I don’t believe in most of what he says.

    I like that you said, “This nomination definitely does not kill all racism, not even most of it, but it shows that the ship is actually turning.” I just wish the person to win this victory was worth voting for politically. For that matter I wish any candidate was worth voting for.

    Here’s tipping the glass to a win for racial equality; and a loss for Christian morality and ethics.

    Comment by bob | June 5, 2008 | Reply

  2. Hey, bob! Thanks for taking the time to read and respond.

    I don’t disagree with you here at all! I am not dismissing the moral aspects necessary for effective leadership. I have really struggled with all of this for the last ten or eleven years, believe me.

    I do want to say, however that when I hear that oft-stated phrase that America was founded by Christians on Christian morals, I cringe because I just cannot juxtapose Christian values and morals with the ownership of human beings.
    I think that this country was founded by geniuses who professed Christ but did not live Christ.
    “Liberty and justice for all” seemed to mean, “for all the white folks” at the time.

    The right to life issue is what ultimately made me look at my way of voting. As I grew in my Christian walk, I began to see how certain aspects of liberalism were antithetical to a Christian worldview.

    But my dilemma lay in the fact that many aspects of conservatism are unGodly as well. I don’t know what to do sometimes. But at the end of it all, the idea that ALL people are eligible is what makes me rejoice here.

    I absolutely agree that a TRUE Christian politician would govern the best, but this post and some other of mine lay out the fact that I think we may not HAVE any!

    It does bother me that no candidate echoes my feelings on abortion and gay rights. It bothers me that the Democratic party is populated by many who hate my faith, or try to muddy it up with false idols. But my experience makes me equally as dismayed that the party of “moral correctness,” the one with all the evangelical Christians, is often the group whose policies hurt those who are already hurt.

    It breaks my heart that many of those who believe the same Bible that I believe don’t want my son to date their daughters. It troubles me that many “evangelicals” have what appears to be only a spoken faith.

    Believe me, I agree with you. But the conclusion I have reached in my own mind is that all these people have let me down Spiritually, and that I will not look to a politician for Christian leadership. I will pray that God’s will will be worked out through whoever is in office. Many suffering minorities will tell you that the Right is, to them, as unholy as you say the left is, populated by whitewashed sepulchres.

    My celebration is MAINLY due to the fact that a black man can now be seen as having the potential to attain the fullest of the American Dream.

    Comment by maxdaddy | June 5, 2008 | Reply

  3. I continue to love your blog and am challenged by it.

    You and I read the same bible. As I became a Christian I dated a black girl in college. My dad was born in 1924 and to this day remains a segregated white man. I’ve been married for 7 years now and just last year my dad found out that during college I dated a black girl. Mind you, I have graduated college, moved my family 800 miles away from home, given him 3 grandchildren, and am gainfully employed; and yet he still yelled at me on the phone and didn’t talk to me for a week or two after hearing this “news”. It was that day that I began to question racial equality in my life and in my America. I’m a recovering racist and I believe Obama’s nomination may perhaps be the closest thing to America joining a 12 step program.

    “Hi, my name is the United States, and we are a recoving racist society.”

    You and I agree 100%. Now let’s get someone with like minded thought and belief to run for president. Too bad they’ll have to be independent. 🙂

    Comment by bob | June 5, 2008 | Reply

  4. Wow! That is a story that needs to be told! I admire you. Would that I had the guts to let fly with my (current or past) shortcomings! Honesty with no guilt.
    Great comment. Be blessed.

    Comment by maxdaddy | June 5, 2008 | Reply

  5. I’m not sure what to say … It’s a good post. I see your point, and I think that a lot of your criticism of society and both parties is valid. I’m neither Democrat or Republican, either. I have no intention of joining either party because both offend me deeply.

    For my own part, I can’t get past abortion, and especially Obama’s fight against BAIPA. However, I think that a lot of the attack on him has been racist — the stink about him as a “closet racist,” the implication that he might have been selling drugs, and such.

    Anyway … I can’t and won’t get behind Obama, but I think I might prefer him to McCain at this point.

    Comment by wickle | June 7, 2008 | Reply

  6. Hey, Wickle! Where you been? Thanks for the comment. Yeah, I understand and respect you standing on your principles.

    I’m not campaigning for anyone here, but as I told a friend of mine, as someone who has suffered in this skin, I can’t be mad about seeing a black man ascend to the highest secular office. It is not a racial preference on my part, but just solidarity, I guess.
    Good to hear from you, man!

    Comment by maxdaddy | June 8, 2008 | Reply

  7. You always write such great stuff brother! While I agree that the nomination does not put to rest all racism, given our generally fallen state, it should put a stop to the race baiters like Sharpton and Jackson. Wait, except for defending their own actions or misactions, they have been pretty quiet of late. Peace and love brother.

    Comment by Doulos Christou | June 27, 2008 | Reply

  8. Thanxalot!

    Comment by maxdaddy | June 27, 2008 | Reply


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