As my last post pointed out, Holy Week is a time to think of crime, and punishment, and the cross. "Crucify him!" the congregation shouted on Good Friday, and it was frightful. It was us.
And it's still us, even though Easter has passed and everything is fixed now, right? Not so much. The happy happy joy joy comes into conflict with this mean old world, the horrible things being said in politics, and then the shocking, shocking video from South Carolina showing a police officer shooting a fleeing man 8 times in the back and then coldly, deliberately dropping something next to the body (his taser, presumably, as accusing the dead man of taking that weapon was his excuse.)
The Huffington Post presented a news story that would have come out if some brave person hadn't filmed the whole thing.
Amongst the crowd as they shout "Crucify Him!" we like to think we would know better. That we wouldn't have shouted--heck, we wouldn't have been there! Or in this case, that we would have been suspicious even without the video. Would we? My white skin and comfortable upbringing means that I am acculturated to trust the police, and the kindly, decent officers I knew growing up wouldn't have done such a thing, would they?
And it's only quite recently (and I'm over 50) that I've become really aware of the persistent evil of racism in this country, which roared back with the election of President Obama and sits like a festering wound. I mean, I knew there were unreformed racists, and I knew there had been systemic abuses, but I really thought we were moving ahead of this. Like the author of this piece, I was a mainstream moderate.
But then came Obama's election and the freedom with which huge numbers of people spoke the most racist slurs without apology, and our persistant problem with racism was exposed dramatically. Read Ta-Nehisi Coates's piece in the Atlantic on the Case for Reparations, and whether or not you agree with reparations, it is a dire indictment of what we have done to our black sisters and brothers, and I had no idea of much of it. It's not just in the distant past because Walter Scott lies dead in South Carolina, shot down like an animal by a cop who surely, surely knew better.
And in the Washington Post, a scathing report on the Republican efforts to make the poor as miserable as possible. Those people. The ones not like us. Punish them for being welfare queens and living on my dollar, they say.
Pew Research finds that anyone who is not Those People (which means, anyone who is not an angry white man, often less educated) is unlikely to lean Republican.
So vote, dammit. because otherwise we are all standing in the crowd, tacit in their cries to "crucify Him!"