Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Reconciliatory Dialog

In nearly every conceivable polar situation, there are people across a wide continuum of Left to Right, Liberal to Conservative, Pro to Con, For to Against, etc. Also present on the far ends of these continuums are the ugly 1%. These are most visible when they are willing to kill and maim for their cause. Bombing abortion clinics, assassinating leaders, spiking trees, burning ski resorts, using religion, fear, and violence as weapons against an ideology that they do not agree with.

Just inside of that ugly 1% is an ugly 2% that is probably not as violent, but equally driven by fear and hate. The Obama campaign mentioned numerous times the hateful and divisive chants and comments coming out of the McCain/Palin crowds at political events. There were chants of "nigger", "terrorist", "kill him", etc.

I agree with Senator McCain in that the whole of a party can not be held responsible for the actions of a few. That ugly 2% present at political rallies who would start chants like previously mentioned are not representative of the Republican party, but they do point to the existence of that 2% end of the spectrum that still exists today in America.

It is present everywhere.

John McCain dehumanized his political opponent and referred to him as "that one".

Rep. Lynn Westmoreland used the HEAVILY racially charged word "uppity" when talking about Barack and Michelle. "Just from what little I've seen of her and Mister Obama, Senator Obama, they're a member of an elitist class individual that thinks that they're uppity." And when asked about his use of the word "uppity", Westmoreland said again, "Uppity, yeah."

And if that were not bad enough, Obama's own running-mate, Joe Biden, was quoted as saying that Obama was the "first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy."

This is only a sneeze, a small cough, a runny-nose-symptom of a deeper, disgraceful problem that still exists in deeper currents within our society.

Racial reconciliation is a conversation that America is not yet ready for.

Economic division reconciliation is a conversation that America is not yet ready for.

But these are conversations that we will have to participate in, and engage in if we ever hope to fulfill the greatness that our nation is intended for.

As Wendell Berry put it in his poem "Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front"

Denounce the government and embrace
the flag. Hope to live in that free
republic for which it stands.

Denounce does not mean to destroy, reject, or render worthless, but instead to "condemn or censure openly or publicly", or "make a formal accusation against, as to the police or in a court".

Confront and censure the racism and hatred of peoples. Bring about discussion, communication, and implementation of compassion, love, and relationships that can yield the crop of reconciliation.

Dr. Cornel West can put this much better than I can. At least watch part one, 10 minutes, and continue on to part 2 and 3 if you so desire.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3


Rev. Donald Spitz said...

You seem to imply there is something wrong if a babykilling abortion mill is burned or bomb. Which do you prefer, a pile of bricks or a pile of dead babies? Innocent unborn babies deserve to be protected just as born children deserve to be protected. You would have no problem protecting born children if they were about to be murdered.
SAY THIS PRAYER: Dear Jesus, I am a sinner and am headed to eternal hell because of my sins. I believe you died on the cross to take away my sins and to take me to heaven. Jesus, I ask you now to come into my heart and take away my sins and give me eternal life. http://www.armyofgod.com

Jake and Jess said...

No, not really. I just imply that the use of violence and murder to stop more violence and murder of a different kind is a problem.


I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love are weak weapons, but they are the only weapons that have and will overcome evil over time.

Anonymous said...

Roz says... Hi Jake and Jess! "Wow" it's been along time since I've been on your blog and was a bit surprised by the content/tone. The heading is termed Reconciliatory Dialog but that's not what I picked-up at all. Seems that if you desire to see the unborn (the weakest in our society) protected, that doesn't qualify as a Dr. West expression of one's "depth of love" and service. Dr West is well educated and certainly well spoken but I don't agree with him on many points. You talk about elitism and all the conversations that America is not yet ready for but I for one believe our country has made huge strides regarding racial reconciliation so lets move on from the past and focus on the future. You also mentioned the ugly 2% present at political rallies and your focus centered primarily on the McCain/Palin events. Divisive comments actually came out of the crowds at both camps. America is not perfect and never will be but nonetheless I thank God daily for the blessings he has and continues to bestow on this country. Our hope must remain in the Lord. We all have this in common: The Lord is the Maker of us all.

Jake and Jess said...

Let's not confuse RIGHTS with RECONCILIATION. Massive gains in rights have been made on nearly all fronts of society, and I celebrate them. Blacks and women can marry who they choose, work where they want, vote, and own property.

However, reconciliation is still a largely untouched area. That is the elephant in the room. That is what most people are both not ready for, and not in a position to even start.

In reference to the "depth of love" and service of Dr. West, I think it is within those bounds to say that we should not murder health workers to save babies. That is the point of the truth and love is that it does not use violence to solve a problem.

Dr. King maintained an absolute vigilance against the use of violence to promote the rights of blacks. His legacy lives on in what was accomplished. He could have chosen a road of murdering whites to gain rights, but he did not, and I think we are the better for it.

What subjects in particular do you disagree with Dr. West.

Jake and Jess said...

Roz - How wonderful that you commented and I am so glad that you did. I think one of our hopes in having this blog is to increase dialog between those who may not share the same thoughts, opinions, concerns, hopes, etc. I think that sharing "life together" (whatever that may look like) is possibly one way we can bring the Kingdom of God a little closer. You were part of that in sharing your life, thoughts, opinions, concern, etc. with us. Thank you!

The thought of giving you a hug makes me smile.

Rachel said...

Rev. Spitz (whom I believe was merely trolling around) - There is something wrong if a clinic is bombed or if a doctor is murdered. There is something wrong with that.

There is something wrong with that.

Anonymous said...

Roz follow-up... Seeing your picture on the blog made me smile and think of you. I'm thankful for the opportunity to comment on your blog and May the God of hope fill you will all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Anonymous said...

I don't see how the 2% makes us not ready to dialogue about reconciliation if there's 98% not like that. Unless you're using the Biden quote, etc to suggest that it's much greater than 2% in actuality.

Also, the "that one" remark was blown way out of proportion. People use that colloquially all the time, at least in my experience. I've never thought of it as dehumanizing. Michelle Obama herself said she was not offended by the remark and goes on to imply that the pundits made it into something it wasn't.

Anonymous said...

Or to be more precise: 1% extreme on both sides, 2% not so extreme on both sides implies 94% not like that, unless you meant to imply it's much more skewed.

Wasn't one of Obama's large points in his acceptance speech that "hope" had won out? He stressed that the hard work begins now, to be sure, but this post doesn't seem like a hopeful assessment of the times or to give much weight to that 94(or somewhat less)%.

I think we can talk about it. I think we have been and will continue to.

Jake and Jess said...

Kevin, the mail point of viewing the 1 and 2% skew is to view how far the population curve spans.

If we have a population of people, and the far left and far right of an issue are "I like strawberry", and "Strawberry is just OK", then we know that what is in the middle is not that different.

If our two sides are more like "I will only eat strawberry, everything else is worthless", and the other side is "I am allergic to strawberry, I will die if I eat it", our spread over the continuum is much, much larger.

The 1 and 2% samples are to tell us that the spread here is huge.

It s wonderful that some people say they are ready to discuss this, but the fact that a huge majority of people are NOT discussing it is much more telling. 95% of American men may say that they are ready to be fathers, but that does not mean that they are fathers, that they will ever be fathers, nor that they would make good fathers.

Do you have examples of this dialog taking place? I would love to see them and read them. Perhaps they can help me with my own journey.

Anonymous said...

Not if it's a bell-curve.

Anonymous said...

The range may still be there, but it doesn't imply that there are "a lot" or even "many" at the extremes.

Anonymous said...

I'll keep my eye open for examples.

Anonymous said...

Keep my eyes open.

Keep an eye out.

:) I think I combined those two.