It’s everywhere you look. Prison statistics. Poverty statistics. Gun violence statistics. We gave lip service to ending slavery but never really made our black brothers and sisters free. Red-lining. Police shootings for traffic stops. It should not be illegal to be of African descent. Juneteenth is a celebration, but a muted one. There is much, much work left to do. When “black lives matter” signs are countered by “blue lives matter” we know there’s a deep-rooted problem. It’s an especially unfortunate, and hypocritical problem for a melting pot like the United States. We have room. We have resources. Until recently we had commitment to freedom. Now, just as things should be improving we cave once again to unwarranted fears and paranoia. What’s holding us back from celebrating Juneteenth?
The solution’s not simple, but it has a clear starting point. Our elected officials must stop valuing power over people. Racists—of either party—should know without a doubt that they can’t win nominations. The good people of this country will not stand for it. Running on a platform of vacuous celebrity only—how many celebrities are really deep, clear thinkers?—should be soundly shouted down. The two-party system requires at least a third serious challenger. America’s leadership must start looking like the people who actually do the work in this country, not those who suck up all the profits. Catering to the wealthy inevitably causes problems on the other end of the social ladder—the end upon which that ladder must stand. We no longer need slaves. We never really needed slaves. What we need is high principles.
Othering may be normal human behavior but that doesn’t make it right. We are able to overcome our prejudices. We are able to say “black lives matter” without following it up with “all lives matter.” We are able to recognize the sins of our past and repent. Christianity has produced great followers. These followers require leaders who have the best for the people in mind, not the best for themselves. Corporate climbers do not understand this. Brains addled by money, they see America as a company to run and a way to skim profits off the top. Politicians are constantly comparing the sizes of their “war chests” for the next election when they should be soul-searching instead. Let’s celebrate Juneteenth. Let’s say “we were wrong” and “our theology was wrong.” Let’s promise ourselves that any racist should fear running for high office. Let’s end systemic racism and celebrate the results.