As I write this column, all eyes are focused on Ham’s progeny as multitudes in the north of the African continent rise up against repressive systems of government. Changes have already been initiated in Algeria and Jordan (yes, Jordan is located in Hamitic territory), and pundits and politicians in the West are predicting and prodding regime change in the world’s oldest civilization. While the decades old regimes do have a faithful cadre of supporters, it is those who have been denied a voice that have dared to overpower the powerful with their demands for democracy.
An American Revolution
In the very week that President Mubarak caved in to democratic pressure with a promise to retire, Roger Vinson, Federal District Court Judge and unabashed Tea Party activist, made a dictatorial decision that disrespectfully slapped American democracy in the face. Through the authority of a law that allows a demagogical partisan judge to veto the voice of over fifty percent of eligible voters and hundreds of members of Congress, Roger Vinson has declared the Affordable Health Care Act null and void. Totally insulated from the reality of most Americans burdened with health care debt, this judge is content to have our taxes pay for his health insurance but does not want his taxes to pay for ours. Intoxicated by his loyalty to party he has betrayed his pledge of impartiality and has shown the world why the democratic ideal has still not been achieved in Reagan’s “shining city.”
Even as we look across the oceans at obvious signs of revolution in the land of Ham, the majority are oblivious to the implications of the revolution that is taking place under our very noses. Whether we want to admit it or not, another Civil War is brewing in this great nation, and the identity of the Confederacy is clear. One and a half centuries ago, the Confederates announced their independence as they sought to maintain a capitalist system that was built and based on the inhumane system of chattel slavery. The new Confederates have a similar agenda–protecting the privileges of the “haves” by sowing seeds of division and swinging hatchets of destruction. In the spirit of its predecessor, this Confederacy is also fueled by racist ideologies of Black subordination. Their separatist agenda is made even more urgent by the presence of a person with immediate African roots in the White House.
Similar to the first Civil War, supporters of the new Confederacy can be found in both political parties–Democrat and Republican. However, an influential sector of the Republican Party has made it clear that their’s is the base for those supporting these twenty-first century confederate ideals. (1) It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to realize that the massive hemorrhaging currently being experienced by the Democratic Party is driven by White prejudice, as mostly Southern politicians in State and local governments desert with impunity. When asked to explain why nine elected officers in Covington County, Alabama, switched parties, local Republican leader Bill Blocker boldly declared “Some of them were looking at the Democratic party with Barrack Obama as head of that party and saying, ‘That’s not me. That’s not what I signed up for.’”(2)
Undoubtedly, those using the absurd reverse racism “victim” strategy are already trying to spin Blocker’s explanation to make it seem as if the defections are strictly ideological. However, I would love to see them defend the Southern defectors who did not dilute their motivations for joining the Republicans, as they expressed their dismay that the Democrats had become the party of Blacks. Their anger is so ingrained that their contempt for the President governs every public remark. Recently elected Alabama Governor Robert Bentley all but declared Alabama independent in a speech last month; and his Attorney General exemplified the kind of idiotic vitriol driving the high profile lynching of our Commander in Chief when in his remarks about the Health Care Act, he fed the fickle fears of his frenzied throng: First he controls your healthcare, then he tells you what car to drive, then what coffee to drink. It amazes me that so many gullible citizens are buying this. Many of the people who voted for the heartless Confederates don’t even have adequate health insurance, but would rather die than see a plan succeed if it has anything to do with Mr. Obama.
This gullibility scares me. It lets me know that there are people in this nation who will do anything to defend a system of prejudiced preference. They manipulate the minds of the multitudes who are so blinded by hatred that they are oblivious to the woolen hats that obscure their vision. Think about it, most who fought in the Civil War to maintain the slavery system could not even afford slaves themselves, but somehow they liked the status attached to “White privilege.” The neo-Confederates are gearing up for their last stand as they cling tenaciously to xenophobic superstitions that hinder them from experiencing the American ideal. And as they do everything in their power to hold on to power, the Republican party has laid out a welcome mat for their racist platform. Does this make every Republican a racist? Absolutely not. Nonetheless, thanks to the Party that has betrayed the ideals of Abraham Lincoln, the Southern Strategy has found it’s second wind and is succeeding in its effort to cover the Democratic racists under it’s exclusive umbrella.(3)
How Shall We Stand?
As I observe events from the belly of the new Confederacy, I am anxious to see how the Seventh-day Adventist church will respond to these obvious expressions of racist and classist incivility. I know that a number of our Adventist leaders are aligned to the Republican Party, but I wonder if any are ready to elevate Kingdom ideals over Party loyalty? I wonder how many are willing to champion the cause of the downtrodden and underprivileged? I wonder how many are bold enough to promote universal healthcare? I wonder how many are ready to remind their party that God will hold politicians accountable for their decisions–whether they are Democrat or Republican?
Before I conclude, I feel a need to declare to readers that I do not champion any political party–my ultimate allegiance is to the Kingdom of God. However, since it is the Republican Party that has provided a home for the neo-Confedaracy, this admonition is directed to those who feel a need to defend the objects of their loyalty–even when they are wrong. Nevertheless, in the same way that Adventist Christians aligned with the Democratic Party have a godly responsibility to promote the sanctity of life and biblical ideal for marriage, members in the Republican Party must shout loudly against those who have no concern for the least of these, and must decry the cutthroat model of capitalism that continues to drive a wedge between the haves and the have nots. Just as Adventist liberals guided by the Spirit of God need to understand that not every liberal cause has divine endorsement, truth driven Adventist conservatives should acknowledge that there are some demonic economic and social practices that do not need to be conserved.
If these words are offensive to you, ask yourself why. If you really don’t care about the wealth disparity and inequity in this nation, I beseech you to seek assistance from the One who came to liberate the underclass. If you really believe that race based power structures should be maintained by any means necessary, I plead with you to talk to the One who has united all nations by His blood. If you are among those egging the administration to throw down the gauntlet with China, Venezuela, Cuba, Iran, North Korea and any other media bolstered bogeyman, I invite you to make an appointment with the Prince of Peace. If you wish to maintain a system where more health care dollars are placed in bonus packages and corporate perks than in making people whole, I counsel you to seek therapy with the Great Physician. If you wish to turn a blind eye and deaf ear to the racist rhetoric that has already fractured our society, I implore you to open your heart to the love of the One who has included members of every nation, tribe, language and ethnicity in his beloved family.
The one who has an ear, let him or her hear what the Spirit is saying to the church. Maranatha.
Keith Augustus Burton teaches at Oakwood University and Florida Hospital of Health Sciences. He has addressed issues of racial disparity and ethnic unity for most of his years in ministry. Some of his solutions can be found in his book, The Faith Factor: The Key to Black Empowerment (Harvest, AL: lifeHERITAGE Publications, 2005).
(1) Aaron Blake, “Southern Democrats in dire straits; 2011 looms large,” Washington Post . Retrieved January 11, 2011 from http://voices.washingtonpost.com/thefix/democratic-party/southern-democrats.html.
(2) Anon, “9 county officials switch parties,” Andalusia Star News. Retrieved February 4, 2011 from http://www.andalusiastarnews.com/2011/02/01/9-county-officials-switch-parties/
(3) Steve Kornacki, “The Southern Strategy Fulfilled,” Salon. Retrieved February 4, 2011 from http://www.salon.com/news/politics/war_room/2011/02/03/reagan_southern_strategy