I can still remember watching riots in the Middle East on the news when I was in High School, and being told about the Sunni and Shiite hatred that had existed for centuries. But in my heart I thought there must be something about “those people” that causes them to be so chaotic and violent. It wasn’t until my deployment in 2004, when I saw the conditions they were living in firsthand, that I realized, if the people in my city lived in those same conditions they would be rioting too.
I’ve been speaking out a lot this past week in defense of the protestors and against the brokenness of the American system. I haven’t been motivated to do so by reading a book or listening to the “mainstream media.” I have been motivated to do it by working with youth in my community for the past fifteen years and seeing the effects of racist economic, housing, and educational systems with my own eyes.
I’m not woke, I’m angry. I’m angry that the United States of America has been consolidating wealth and power in the hands of the few for over a century, and when our black brothers and sisters stood up to fight back against the injustices in their community, many of my fellow conservatives chose to defend the system rather than share in their protest. Lots of people have told me that they’re angry but they don’t know what to do because the system seems broken beyond repair.
I admit that I have felt this way too, but it is my faith that constantly reminds me, nothing is ever broken beyond repair. “Now hope that is seen is not hope. But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.” Many people have prayed with hope and patience for some miraculous event that would help our nation break out of the two party gridlock that has kept our nation held captive to racist systems, corrupt financial institutions, and the war machine that protects them. Well, what if the moment we’ve been praying for is now!
What if this is the historic opportunity for men and women, from the right and left sides of the political spectrum, to stop fighting each other and start fighting back against the real enemies of the people, the demonic spiritual forces of racism, greed, and violence embodied in the earthly forms of Police Brutality, Wall Street, and the Pentagon. How beautiful would it be if this present darkness was the moment in our history when conservatives and progressives stopped blaming each other and started working together.
So here’s my plea, consider joining a peaceful protest or march in your local community. The simple act of demanding justice for a person or group that has been written off by the vast majority of their society is a deeply Christian act. This is what Paul meant when he said, “Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still his enemies, Christ died for us,” and “In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus.”