The following is a special message written by a man of faith. It deserves to be spread across the country and the world. This was written before the President offered new and mixed messages about hatred, including the Phoenix speech where he insinuated he was prodded by his staff to attack the haters. This is not political. It is a heartfelt and clear message by a man who has witnessed what language and attitudes of leaders can do to not only a country but to millions of people.
August 13, 2017
Cry the Beloved Country
Like each and every single one of you (and I sincerely hope that I can state that without the slightest equivocation or reservation) I too have been left utterly horrified by the awful and tragic events we witnessed in Charlottesville, Virginia over the weekend beginning with a shameful, bigoted, racially-inspired, torch-lit parade through one of this country’s most beautiful college campuses and ending, yesterday, with the completely inexcusable and utterly contemptible rhetoric and behavior of a marauding gang of white supremacists hellbent on bringing chaos and calamity to one of America’s most iconic cities.
As I watched the news on CNN last night, I couldn’t help but shake my head in utter disbelief: where on earth was I? Was this an ugly throwback to the Apartheid years of the old, racially-divided South Africa that I lived under – replete with its overtly white supremacist demagoguery and thuggery that constantly fueled the violent flames of racial intolerance and anti-Semitism – or was this in fact the sad, bedeviled, tortured face of the America of 2017 incapable of letting go of past prejudices; unable to climb out of the dark, sinister dungeons of racial hatred and oppression of the “other” and into the radiant light of a tolerant, hopeful, optimistic, inclusive nation where we are judged, solely, by the content of our good, noble character and not, God forbid, by the color of our skin.
I grew up in, to all intents and purposes, a pigmentocracy; the “original” beloved country that we cried for. Little did I realize that such an odious, disgraceful philosophy still exists in certain quarters of our population in this country. And make no mistake about it: the so-called “alt-right” have been significantly emboldened by the ugly, divisive, charged, combative rhetoric that we have witnessed, time and again, by this Administration.
J’accuse: I accuse our President of willfully and woefully omitting in yesterday’s verbal comments any specific, explicit reference to the white supremacist factions who were, ultimately, responsible for yesterday’s mayhem and carnage on the streets of Charlottesville.
J’accuse: I accuse our President of deliberately failing to condemn, in the strongest and most unambiguous terms, the very nature and existence of these malicious groups that have NO place in your America or mine.
J’accuse: I accuse our President of failing to recognize the “fire and fury” of these prejudiced thugs – many among his most ardent supporters – and calling them out for who and what they are: the most contemptible and vile among our multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, multi-lingual citizenry and, quite frankly, who don’t deserve to see the light of day.
I remain consoled by the incontrovertible fact that the overwhelming majority of our fellow Americans are good, decent, kind, generous, compassionate, respectful, law-abiding citizens and that we all yearn, each and every day, for a truly beloved country that will reflect the grand, abiding values and ideals of its founders.
On the last day of our congregational tour to South Africa in November 2014, we visited the sprawling township of Soweto where Nelson Mandela once lived. There, outside his humble abode, is a large painted mural adorned with one of his most famous quotes: “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”
May we all learn from and teach by, our own good, rightful conduct.
Thanks for reading.