We consistently choose the powerful and their institutions over powerless individuals and disempowered people to protect the privilege of the rich and powerful.
I say we because I am not exempt; no one is. We, who are traditionally disempowered and exploited, unfortunately more often than not, seek power and wealth, not for the benefit of everyone but the "us" that we represent or deem worthy.
We choose fraternities, police officers, johns, shareholders, government officials, athletes and pimps over those who claim sexual assault, abuse, slavery and exploitation.
We choose corporations and profits of shareholders over the rights of indigenous people and stewardship of the planet.
We defend the men in power in the military over the women and men who claim rape, abuse of power, and genocide.
We choose a "justice" system over those who claim to be treated unjustly by every state, town and village government.
We choose NFL executives and entertainment over those dying from the effects of concussions.
We choose cheap chocolate over the children in the Ivory Coast.
We choose a diamond for those we care for over the child laborers we don't.
We choose to question those we don't know, believe or understand, instead of entering into the pain of their humanity.
We choose to hurt those who have hurt us when we get the chance instead of loving our neighbors, enemy and friend, as Jesus did and calls us to do.
All of us are guilty! None of us are innocent because we choose to insulate ourselves from the suffering of the vulnerable instead of defending the powerless.
And the #transracial debacle in Spokane, WA is a prime example of our inability to see outside of ourselves and consider for a moment the relational and systemic implications of our personal thoughts and actions. Rachel Dolezal's cultural appropriation is a lens for the sea salt on an already infected and festering Black American wound.
The notion that a White American (empowered and privileged) would don modern-day black face and then be defended by black and white Americans, for me wreaks of profoundly disappointing intellectual laziness, depressingly low levels of empathy for communities of color and an alarming wake-up call that this is the sorry state of racial reconciliation in the United States of America in 2015.
It is no wonder that we can't pass bills that actually love and serve those around us who are poor and in need. We don't know them. It's too hard to build relationships and get wrapped in their problems. We can't have forward progress on climate change because self-interest is just more important than research and building trust with our indigenous and aboriginal neighbors. It's not worth the time to consider how to serve and protect the planet and marginalized people if they are not lobbyists or contributors to our super-pac. Unless the now homeless, wounded veteran or single mother of color is a pawn for an election campaign, those holding privilege and power have no need of actual relationships across barriers of race, gender, class and sexual orientation.
This is the country that we live in. A divided state of America, in a United State of Amnesia: dismissing history and plotting a future that repeats the same mistakes, but updates them to be sure to hold down the same disenfranchised population and protect the same powerful one. We who are the other presume to know what it's like to be something we are not and act out of simple or complex assumptions but they are guesses nonetheless. Men assume and act like we know what it's like to be women and vice versa. Whites assume and act like they know what it's like to be black. CEO's pretend to be their workers for a day and we celebrate these bastardized versions of the incarnation and reinforce dividing walls of hostility because of ignorance, deceit, and disguised or blatant self-interest. Lord have mercy on the state of our collective soul.
I can't celebrate freedom this Fourth of July because I feel enslaved, except now my chains are invisible and so nuanced that even my captors can't see them; they aren't even looking for the keys.
So, I praise God that my chief citizenship is in His Kingdom and that forefathers of the US don't actually have a monopoly on freedom. I praise Him because Galatians 5 says that He who the Son sets free is free indeed, not just those included or excluded in the constitution.
I place no trust in those in power because I don't even trust myself. I am sinful and we are sinful. Everything is broken, save for The Trinity and His Kingdom.
God, bless those who are indifferent to the needs of the poor and oppressed. May they have an encounter with you Jesus, which pierces their facades and reorients their core towards a loving relationship with God. It is the only thing and You are the only one who can save us.