Monday, January 19, 2009

Not Solved Yet

All over school, they're telling us to be happy at least for the inauguration of the first black president of the United States.

I'm sorry. I just can't be that simple-minded.

The Obama presidency means different things to different people. What his economic and social policies will be and do remains to be seen, but we can predict closely enough that he will try to usher in a more socialist and broad-reaching government. There's nothing happy in that. But even policy aside...

Everyone keeps trying to tell us that it's such a wonderful thing that the first black president is being inaugurated. It's a "huge milestone" as they say. I just can't see that, though. I don't think there are "huge milestones" in real life, in the big picture of things. There isn't something magical that happens to the nation now that our president comes from a minority ethnicity. Racism isn't going to disappear tomorrow as Obama takes the oath. Lower class schools that are packed to the brim with minority students, most of whom will drop out before they turn 16, will not suddenly improve.

If people really thought about it, they'd realize that the magic equalization of all people won't come from the skin color of the man who works in the Oval Office. If people actually learn about it, they'd also realize that the magic equalization of all people certainly won't come from his socialist economic policies either. But that's what they're expecting.

Now, I will agree that a black president is a good indicator of how far we've come... but it's not some precise mile-marker that says "You've come this far and you have this much left to go!!" Nothing is that simple.

I think the only thing that puts all of us on an equal footing in any sense of the word is, in fact, sin. Not wealth, not rights, not education, not jobs. We are not raised to equal footing, but lowered to it. Only sin separates us all from God. Only sin corrupts our nature and our minds so we are incapable of knowing or learning everything; indeed, the pursuit of what we can never fully attain remains man's ultimate purpose. Only sin throws a wrench into God's perfect system of reason and liberty so that economics, politics, intellectual pursuit, and human relationships will never be (on this earth) what they were designed to be. And sin doesn't discriminate.

Finally, let me emphasize that my biggest concern is that people (white people, especially) will think that they've done something grand and glorious by merely electing a man from a minority to be our president. The road to racial reconciliation doesn't end with the election of one man or with the supposed socio-economic equalization of different races or by having minorities represent a certain percentage of the wealthiest one percent. Damn, no. Reconciliation is an on-going battle in our hearts, minds, neighborhoods, families, classrooms, and schools. No statistic or inauguration will ever tell us that this battle is over because it will last until doomsday.

So when President Barack Obama solemly swears to faithfully execute the office of the President of the United States, and to the best of his ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States...

...don't stop fighting.

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