29 April 2008

Who is Dick Morris, really?

I was watching Fox News tonight and witnessed something I just could not keep to myself. Many Americans have watched the proceedings of this years Democratic race and have been shocked by some of the proceedings. Rick Morris is apparently awestruck by Barack Obama's "pastor" Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Truth be told, he is no longer the pastor of Trinity UCC but pastor emeritus. Rev. Otis Moss III is now at the helm. Logistics aside, after Rev. Wright's speech with the National Press Club, many Americans are wondering whether or not Obama should be trusted.

Do we not see what's really going on here? Ever since the media realized that Barack Obama had gone a whole year in the national and international limelight without any negative press, they have consistently attempted to derail him from his quest for the "highest office in the land." I call it the typical media roundhouse kick. It is truly a shame that this country and many of its citizens are unable to think critically enough for themselves about issues that directly impact their very existence here in America.

During the show, after the Rev. Joseph Lowery harped on the fact that Rev. Wright's comments have no bearing on the Democratic race since Rev. Wright isn't running for any type of elected office--not even "dog catcher," Dick Morris comes on the scene and vehemently urges Obama to not only distance himself from the Rev. Wright but to denounce his "anti-American" statements. He moves on to say that if he were in Obama's position he wouldn't disagree with Wright's statements in the manner Obama has--with "velvet gloves." Rather, he would ensure to "silence this elephant" because his comments were reckless and damaging to America. the issue here, for Morris, is that the Rev. Wright actually said that America "was capable" of creating AIDS and other bio terrorist agents. Morris emphatically asserted that America would never do such a thing and that America is the world's largest peace-maker and disease curer. How could he say this?

America is certainly more than capable of producing AIDS and many other bio terrorist agents. America is certainly the modern hub of racism and racist acts of violence and protest. America is undoubtedly a country that prides itself on individualism as opposed to a united people in search for a common dream. America is also a place of fragmented people and one of the only countries without a "culture" to call their own. The problems seem to arise when one group determines that their acceptable cultural practices are the normative and only acceptable cultural practices.

You know what I think Dick Morris' real issue is? Dick Morris is scared! He is fearful that this country will vote in a president that is a member of the church formerly pastored by Rev. Jeremiah Wright. He is fearful because he doesn't understand what is really going on, not only at Trinity UCC but in, dare I say, the majority of historically black churches in America. Dick Morris is fearful because what he is seeing and hearing does not fit into his comfortable box of normativity. He is fearful that God is watching and that God is not pleased!

Dick Morris needs a healthy dose of faith! He needs faith in a God who delivered an entire people out of bondage. He needs faith in a God who has preserved and uplifted a church body in the midst of a country filled with racism and hate. He needs faith in a God who has allowed this country to progress to a point where there is the potential for either a female or black president. He needs faith in a God who created this whole world and each person in it, including America and her citizens. If he could but see and know the God that many in the black church traditions see, Jeremiah Wright included, he would realize the possibilities at hand. He would be able to have faith, not in America, but in God to deliver America from its sinful ways. Who is Dick Morris? He is a typical middle class, white, American male with "pilgrimatic" tendencies who refuses to be open enough to entertain, engage, and at times critique outside perspectives and viewpoints.

01 April 2008

Rediscovering Lost Values

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. preached a sermon entitled "Rediscovering Lost Values" in which he stressed the fact that we in America had strayed away from some of our precious values. He posits that it is possible to rediscover them:

"Some things are right and some things are wrong, no matter if everybody is doing the contrary. Some things in this universe are absolute. The God of the universe has made it so. And so long as we adopt this relative attitude toward right and wrong, we're revolting against the very laws of God himself."

He goes even further to admit that we tend to live with a sort of recklessness that is not productive in any way; we tend to act in negative ways towards others because we have nothing to fear. There seem to be minimal consequences for our actions as long as we don't get caught:

"The other thing is that we have adopted a sort of a pragmatic test for right and wrong--whatever works is right. If it works, it's all right. Nothing is wrong but that which does not work. If you don't get caught, it's right. That's the attitude, isn't it? It's all right to disobey the Ten Commandments, but just don't disobey the Eleventh, Thou shall not get caught."

He presents an argument not distant from that of Paul Laurence Dunbar in "We Wear the Mask" by saying that many of us dress up hate in the garments of love so that it may be viewed as acceptable to all. Dr. King believed that we could turn from our self-centered ways but that it would take some time and effort:

"Our world hinges on moral foundations. God has made it so! God has made the universe to be based on a moral law. So long as man disobeys it he is revolting against God. That's what we need in the world today--people who will stand for right and goodness. It's not enough to know the intricacies of zoology and biology. But we must know the intricacies of law. It is not enough to know that two and two makes four. But we've got to know somehow that it's right to be honest and just with our brothers. It's not enough to know all about our philosophical and mathematical disciplines. But we've got to know the simple disciplines, of being honest and loving and just with all humanity. If we don't learn it, we will destroy ourselves, by the misuse of our own powers."

God has given each of us the power to treat each other right. It's up to us to do it!

The American Dream

Isn't it funny that the American Dream seems to be all we are concerned about? It is intriguing to me, however, that in order for one to pursue the American Dream, he or she must let go of what I consider to be (or perhaps what should be) core values. As I see it, core values are God/Spirit, family, education/jobs, and friends. We somehow seem to incorporate all of these values in the wrong order. Here, I must make what some may call an unusual indictment, especially for a minister of the Gospel. In many American churches, both black and white, preachers and teachers are not necessarily concerned with ensuring that their parishioners keep God first in their lives. Oftentimes, God seems to be a fall-back or secondary option when our initial attempts fail. For example, most parent want their children to grow up and become successful. There is not a problem with this per se; however, if success is not approached in the correct manner, while keeping these core values in the right perspective, it is a vain enterprise. In generations of old, parents, especially in black communities, urged their children to grow up and become someone who did some good in the community. Today, we seem to urge our young people to do well but not good. Why is this? Is the pursuit of the American Dream worth forsaking the ethos of brotherly love? Many people have no problem reciting the Golden Rule, yet when we get into the competitive world of academia and the workforce we would rather steamroll over anyone who stands in our way. Is the American Dream worth that much, or should we consider a new paradigm centered on love and service for all?