It’s Only a Matter of When | Sojourners

It’s Only a Matter of When

"Our destiny is dependent on whether people who want to do good and want to do right and want to help humanity step forward and really assume responsibility for actively pursuing their convictions … If they do not, then I feel that there are some rocky days ahead. Because I don't think you can neglect and deprive great segments of society and successfully carry on the life of our nation with one class of our people having all the assets and resources. This may contain the seeds of our destruction." Bishop Charles E. Blake Sr.

Within American culture many have heard the phrase, “as a matter of fact,” utilized in moments of intense debate or discussion. Yet, today the phrase utilized is, “a matter of when?” When will the current trek of looming destruction reach its apex?

On Jan. 21, the third “Women’s March” occurred in Washington, D.C., two days prior to Martin Luther King Jr. Day, honoring the birth, life, and legacy of the authentic Dr. King. While thousands descended upon the nation’s capital to fight and stand for the rights and humanity of women, one could ignore the truth surrounding us. The truth of the necessity of the moment, and too the truth of continued American privilege afforded to the majority. In the midst of this march for full existence, humanity, and livelihood loomed a government shutdown affecting 800,000 workers and their families. Yes, we’re aware of its temporary cease with President Trump’s announcement ensuring government funding through Feb. 15 and federal employees’ backpay. Nevertheless, void from the president’s announcement was the assurance that such replicated disaster or pain would not occur again. Instead, Trump utilized his diversion skills, placing more attention on the fabricated emergency at the southern border than that of the welfare of impacted American citizens — a too common occurrence of apathetic American elitism.

America, yet again, stands at an oxymoronic plateau of contradiction and injustice. One of this nation’s “noble” creeds declares us to be “one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” Yet, the aforementioned movements and crises, including detainees at the southern border, indicates hypocrisy and partiality.

The United States of America, and its citizens, have long witnessed the enablement of one at the destruction of another. History displays such with the displacement and murder of Native Americans, enslavement and torture of African Americans, internment of Japanese Americans, discarding and dismissal of Mexican and Latinx Americans, and beyond. Yet, the cry for morality, justice, and righteousness seems muted in a nation built upon capitalism on the back of its marginalized.

The 35-day government shutdown unapologetically sheds light on the plight within this system — one that insists that 800,000 workers be displaced and void of a paycheck yet expected to work for free. One who’s impact was so stark the Federal Aviation Administration witnessed a shortage of employees this morning, putting the livelihood of air traffic controllers and passengers at risk. The display of apathetic consciousness is a promotion of modern-day slavery and free labor at the expense of one’s livelihood and full humanity, all for an unconscionable, campaign-promised wall at the nation’s southern border. Dismissing not only the potential displacement, starvation, and poverty of American citizens, it too magnifies the bigotry and racism within this nation’s leadership.

The reality is that a disproportionate number of federal government employees that were impacted by this shutdown were minorities, living pay check to pay check and fully dependent upon their compensation.

From WAMU: “Roughly 37 percent of federal employees are minorities, according to the Office of Personnel Management, and 18 percent are African American. Overall, African Americans make up 13 percent of the U.S. population.”

While relief will occur, security has not been promised or assured. Where do Americans place their hope in a system of partisanship absent of empathy for their constituents?

“Because I don't think you can neglect and deprive great segments of society and successfully carry on the life of our nation with one class of our people having all the assets and resources. This may contain the seeds of our destruction.”

This statement by Bishop Charles E. Blake Sr. is this nation’s currently reality. One of soon destruction, as one sector of American society continues to flourish and the other approaches, as some already have, potential destruction and extinction. Yes, commend those churches, especially the black church, and organizations that have aided furloughed workers. Yet, shame on conservatives and evangelicals who stand in ardent harmony with this immoral and xenophobic call for a wall neglecting the concerns of this country’s inhabitants and too its immigrants.

At some point Micah 6:8 — “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” — will cease from being quoted in moments of peril and will become a question and statement of judgement. This is not just a matter of when, it too is a matter of fact.

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