Jon Stewart got serious for a couple minutes during his opening remarks on The Daily Show last night about the outcome of the Eric Gardner case. If you’re interested in hearing his thoughts, it’s about three minutes long and he states much more eloquently than I can what the problem is with this picture.
A couple of things he said:
“None of the ambiguities that existed in the Ferguson case exist in the Staten Island case, and yet the outcome is exactly the same.”
“We are definitely not living in a post-racial society.”
I think it’s obvious that there are horrible injustices that go on on a regular basis in our society. Every once in awhile we have civil outcries like the ones we are now seeing about the Gardner case and the recent Mike Brown case — another travesty of a failed grand jury indictment. I can understand if he was found to be innocent in an actual trial — but not for a grand jury proceeding.
But how long will it be before people completely forget? Already, we are seeing some of the most ignorant posts — you’d expect this kind of ignorance from bigots that perhaps do not know any better from a previous generation, but not from the young people we are seeing today. No offense, but 100% of the dismissive statements about these two cases that I’ve personally seen were written by white people. I don’t believe these individuals to be racist or bigots themselves (though some possibly are) — just seriously ignorant.
See, the truth is — and I really hope I’m wrong — these types of outcries do not make any difference. We’d love to believe that America is one of those countries where people have a voice, where the government will listen to the people’s cries and make changes based on what’s best for the greater good. But we don’t see that. What we see is a perpetuation of policies aimed at what’s best for the interests of an elite few. To cite a couple examples: our policies on media ownership and our Middle East foreign policies over the past several decades.
You know what our problem is? We don’t take ownership. We see these problems as far away, even though they are literally in some our backyards. Who cares if we’re murdering people internationally for the interests of an elite few on taxpayer dollars if we don’t have to deal with it? We see these injustices happening on TV, we maybe bitch and moan about it a little bit, but ultimately, we will go on and do what we normally do.
We have a mercenary militia that gets sent abroad for purposes that are not moral. We have politicians, government officials, various heads of different institutions (such as educational and financial) that are engaged in serving only their own, personal interests, at the expense of doing what’s right for the American people and the rest of the world. Even in the Church, we see that people will compromise God’s agenda to serve their own.
That’s just our problem. Our country is run by a generation of bystanders. By people that pass the buck instead of take personal responsibility for effecting change. We can’t, as a nation, even take responsibility for keeping our health in check. If we can’t manage our flesh, what makes us think we’ll be able to be responsible for others under our care?
Out of necessity, leaders are being raised up to tackle the challenges created by the poor stewardship of a foolish and entitled generation. I have a lot of hope for the coming years. I believe that our country will lose (technically already has) it’s “world-leader” status and that will be passed on to a different nation with higher moral standards. I’d like to say this will happen if we don’t change, but honestly, I believe it’s past the point of no return, even if we do change — and change we must, regardless of what happens.
Change is necessary, not just to maintain standing against the rest of the world. Change is necessary if we are to avoid destruction from within.
As a sort of afterword:
I do have a lot of faith in this country and in many of the people in this country. I believe God has His hand on our nation and on our people and will not let us come to ruin as long as there are a few faithful within it. I think of the cities Abraham interceded for in which God agreed to relent of disaster if there were a remnant of righteous people in them (however, we must be aware that He DID destroy Sodom due to a lack of righteous people in it, though He sent angels to rescue Lot).
I believe that we must avoid demonizing on a blanket scale (like I honestly probably did in this post / rant of mine) our leaders, our society, our institutions, and instead find those that desire, are capable, and are willing to effect change and work together in unity to improve things for the common good.
I believe it is given to some the change the destinies of many. I believe many of these world-changers are already in our midst. I believe mountains are being moved even as I write this.