June 24th, 2015


Listening for a still, small voice

After every great achievement comes a pause. The body needs time to rest. The mind gets tired, too. And very often, one's spirit is depressed, rather than exhilarated, in the aftermath of a challenge successfully met. I know I often have a low period after finishing off something like the Venturers' trip to New York.

This effect is intensified when I return from a big trip on a Sunday evening or so, as we did this time. Being in worship, being with my flock, is important. I need that weekly contact to keep going, to keep believing in what I'm doing. I fall prey to doubts when I don't constantly renew my connections with others. So it's always nicer to come back from a big trip late in the week and get that boost quickly; waiting six days for the uplift of the congregational gathering makes for a long week.

So I recall how it was after Elijah's great triumph over the prophets of Baal that he suddenly lost confidence and fled the country. He went down to Sinai, seeking the Lord. Despite his obvious success and visible proof that God was working through him, he faltered. God met him at Sinai, and sent him back, renewed.

What I have learned is that you have to go about your business, doing the next thing needing to be done, and not allow your tiredness and self-doubt to hold you back. The affirmation you need will be forthcoming. God is still with you. People still believe in you. The urge to run away and hide is understandable, but unprofitable.

Pointing fingers

If we're going to re-open all the old wounds -- not only of the 1960s, but the 1860s as well -- and eradicate all traces of the Confederacy and its blighted cause, then let's do it the right way. Let's blame the real culprits.

It was the Democratic Party -- formed by Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren -- that was the party of slavery, that insisted that slavery was not only allowable, but a positive good, that developed a whole apologia for slave-holding. It was the Democratic Party that insisted on fugitive slave laws that involved the North in returning escaped slaves. It was the Democratic Party that promoted "popular sovereignty" in order to aid the spread of slavery into the territories. It was Democratic ideology that Chief Justic Roger Taney spewed forth in the Dred Scott decision.

The Democratic Party was the party of nullification, then of secession, and finally of rebellion. Northern Democrats worked to obstruct the war effort even as Southern Democrats were fighting the war.

After the war, it was Democrats who founded the original Ku Klux Klan (suppressed by President Grant), and then later re-founded it in the 20th Century. It was Democrats who enacted Jim Crow, who enforced segregation, who made a mockery of the civil rights of African-Americans. It was Democrats who winked at lynching blacks, and who blocked anti-lynching laws in Congress for decades. It was Democrats who turned dogs and fire hoses on peaceful marchers in the 1960s.

It was Democrats who resisted school de-segregation. President Eisenhower had to send in the 101st Airborne to enforce a court order over the obstruction of Orval Faubus, Governor of Arkansas, in 1957. It was Democrats -- beginning with Fritz Hollings, Governor of South Carolina in 1962, who hoisted the Confederate flag over the State Capitol and otherwise re-injected this symbol into our modern political discourse. Nor was it only Southern Democrats who participated in resistance; I well remember the violent protests by Northern whites in South Boston -- undoubtedly Democrats for the most part -- over court-ordered busing to achieve racial balance in the schools and the mobilization of the National Guard required to put them down.

And while we're all denouncing symbols of the Confederacy these days, I note the reappearance in online memes of campaign buttons for Clinton-Gore from 1992 on a Stars and Bars background, celebrating the "double-Bubba" ticket.

I have often heard Democrats urge that America apologize for the oppression of blacks, but I have never heard of the Democratic Party at any level acknowledging its own racist history and offering any sort of apology for its past actions and policies. Yet the Democratic Party has been the longest-lived and most virulent promoter of race hatred and the suppression of civil rights for African-Americans in our country's history.

So, if we're going to clear the historical air, so to speak, let's start by identifying the principal bad actors on these issues and demanding that they apologize for what they have done. Over to you, Democrats. We're all waiting; let's hear it.