Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Black on black violence is the lesson from Malcolm X's death

On yesterday, 52 years ago, members of the Nation of Islam killed Malcolm X.

Who killed Malcolm isn’t a matter of debate. Leaders of the Nation of Islam haven't been charged with his murder. Some argue the FBI conspired to murder Malcolm.

What matters is how Malcolm's death impacts conversations related to reducing black on black violence. How effective can the Nation of Islam be in leading efforts to convince black people to stop killing one another when their leader has justified the death of Malcolm X

During his 1993 Savior Day message, Louis Farrakhan, leader of the Nation of Islam, called Malcolm X a traitor and defended the right of a nation to kill a traitor. 
Louis Farrakhan discusses the death of Malcolm X

It’s a despicable part of black history. Three black men killed Malcolm. Talmadge Hayer, Norman 3X Butler and Thomas 15X Johnson were convicted of murder in 1966 and sentenced to life in prison. All three were members of the Nation of Islam. Prior to his death, Malcolm told Gordon Parks that the Nation of Islam was trying to kill him.

Farrakhan said a nation has the right to be governed by their own laws. He said it’s no one’s business how a nation deals with a traitor. Malcolm was nurtured by the teachings of the Nation of Islam and it’s the right of the nation to punish those who violate their trust.


It’s a lesson that resonates among some black men trapped in the web of street justice. Some die due to the consequences of betrayal. Some are punished for violating a set of rules established within a culture not troubled by the laws of the broader society. They are bond to lessons about solidarity to their own cause. They are taught lessons about manhood that establishes relationships of trust.

Farrakhan said it’s no one’s business. The Nation of Islam has the right, no, in his mind, the obligation, to kill anyone who decides to promote a different message. This is the mindset of groups like the “Bloods” and “Crips”. The death of Malcolm X helps frame discussions involving street justice and the increase of black on black violence. 


Members of the Nation of Islam killed Malcolm.


It was his third death. Each death came with a change in his name.

Malcolm Little was the name on his birth certificate. A part of his past died when he took the last name X. The X denoted the unknown. Little was the name of his ancestor’s slave owners. It implied a relationship with the people who forced faith in the blue-eyed Jesus.

The X was replaced by El-Hajj Malik el-Shabazz after his pilgrimage to Mecca. His Hajj was delayed in Jeddah when his U.S. citizenship and inability to speak Arabic raised questions related to his status as a Muslim. He was given Abdul Rahman Hassan Azzan’s book “The Eternal Message of Muhammad” with his visa approval.

He became a Sunni Muslim and returned to America with a different message.

“I believe in human beings, and that all human beings should be respected as such, regardless of their color,”  El-Hajj Malik el-Shabazz said during a forum at Harvard Law School on December 16, 1964.
It was a second death.

The final death happened on February 21, 1965.

He was preparing to address the Organization of Afro-American Unity. More than 400 people were gathered at Manhattan’s Audubon Ballroom to hear him speak regarding his effort to speak before the United Nations about human rights violations.

"Nigger! Get your hand outta my pocket,” a man yelled.

As his bodyguards attempted to subdue the disturbance, a man rushed forward and shot Shabbaz multiple times with a sawed-off shotgun as two other men fired semi-automatic handguns. The autopsy located 21 gunshot wounds to the chest, shoulder and legs.

The third death was community trust. He belonged to all of us. His words inspired the type of change that challenged movement toward a better way. Three brothers killed his dream. Three brothers taught a lesson we can’t forget.

This is the burden of black on black violence.

It started with Malcolm’s death.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Trump's "fake news" exposed for being the truth


Thank you, Donald Trump.

Really. I mean it with all my heart. I know, it’s Valentine’s Day and love is in the air, but my reasoning behind thanking 45 goes beyond my desire for pieces of chocolate, a fine meal and a bottle of bubbly to set the mood.

All of that is true. My mama raised me to be a romantic, but there is nothing about Orange Julius to trigger warm fuzzy feelings. Put another way, there’s little love in my statement and God’s grace and mercy have nothing to do with my position.

I’m thanking the Orange faced liar for helping people understand the significance of the press. Trump’s feud with the press may be the thing that will boosts confidence in the men and women dedicated to telling the truth.

Prior to this past election, the press was impugned with being responsible for everything wrong with America. No one trusted the media. In fact, the media became synonymous with fiction writers, public relations agents and creatures from outer space. Whenever questions arose related to what aisles America, the media became the predetermined response.

Why do we have crime within poor communities? The media. Why do we have such a high achievement gap between black and white students? The media. Why did Trump win the election? The media. Why is Corrine Olympios still a contestant on “The Bachelor” –  it must be the media, because that stank has to go.

The phrase “the media” has become fixated as America’s villain replacing Lex Luthor, Darth Vador, Hannibal Lector and the Joker as the evil behind the destruction of our dreams. “The media” did it. All of it.

“The media” is controlled by the same stuff that smashed America’s political process. Love for money skillfully manipulated the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Some gluttonous corporate mogul pulls the strings of journalist who wobble from one story to the next like puppets devoid of the backbone to say “Hell no”.

That’s the newest spin regarding the disunited state of America. Be it Democrats on the most progressive end of the political spectrum or Republicans on the alt-right, the press did it – all of it.

The press should have reported more on the rise of Bernie Sanders and the avarice that silenced their pens. The media should have talked about the old school political structure that undermined the voices of young people sick of business as usual. The media should have exposed Clinton’s corruption while spending less time promoting Trump’s agenda.

You heard it all.

It’s the media’s fault.

The media is a bunch of liberal-minded hippies out to destroy America with their socialist agenda. There’s a list for that – the gay agenda, the black agenda, the weed smoking agenda, the agenda to destroy white people – it’s a long list.

All of that ‘fake news is fired by the liberal media. Don’t listen to their version of the news. In fact, there’s alterative news that doesn’t get boggled with insignificant issues like facts. The media wants to pitch facts, but who needs facts?

Right?

But, glory be to God and Donald Trump!

This is what happens when the media fails to do their job. If the media stops digging and asking and following up at the end of the press conference, the lies become normative. If the press accepts being censured for refusing to accept the alternative version of the news, America becomes a dictatorship devoid of adequate challenges when the Constitution is thrown out the window.

Trump called reports regarding National Security Advisor Mike Flynn’s contact with Russia “fake news”. Trump placed CNN in a corner, like a second-grader wearing a dunce hat, for doing their job. Americans were told that’s what the press does. Reporters are biased. They never tell the truth.

Thanks to Trump, Americans are being reminded of the role of the press. In a story, reminiscent of the Watergate scandal of 1972, the media is challenged to expose the truth. The Trump administration won’t like it, and many Americans will dispute what’s written.

But this is how we roll. This is what we do, and despite the criticism we have faced, you should thank the media for protecting America’s freedoms.

Mr. Trump, call it fake news if you wish, but the truth will set us free.


Monday, February 6, 2017

Why I'm not praying for Donald Trump


I will not be praying for Donald Trump.

It’s my answer to a question that keeps popping up in my Facebook newsfeed. I’ve read numerous postings arousing people of faith to pray for Trump as a sign of unity, understanding and peace. It all sounds reasonable given how scriptures are manipulated to endorse compromise in times of discord. Who else, if not the Church, will challenge people to end the mudslinging.

So, I will be praying, but not in the way many expect.

Don’t expect a series of sermons regarding the need to move beyond race, gender and a myriad of other groupings used to pit people against one another. Don’t expect the endorsement of an ethic that promotes forgiveness, the turning of the cheek, and checking personal feelings at the door, to engage in a meaningful mountaintop experience.

It’s not that I don’t believe in prayer. I will be praying. In fact, I’m praying more than ever before. So, it’s not an invalidation of the purpose and capacity of prayer, but a question of the focus of my prayers. I will not pray in a way that negotiates the Great Commission to teach and baptize people in a truth that radically changes the world.

I will not pray in a way that panders apathy and relinquish the role of the Church as a mediator of revolution. I will not participate in the type of slapdash engagement that measures faith by partaking in the American dream. I refuse to relegate faith by an unquestioned patriotism symbolized by waved flags and denunciations of those who protest the movement toward a xenophobic agenda.

Why is this important?

Because when the Church prays in a certain way, it is being used to promote an agenda that compromises the work of the Church. The Church becomes slothful and daft with teaching that sponsors the positions of the rich, the privileged and the powerful. The Church prays on behalf of the individuals and institutions that oppress and belittle the weak, rather than teaching a message that demands repentance.

Yes, the Church prays for the minds of the powerful to be changed, not for the dominant to facilitate a process that increases the burden. The Church is commissioned to defy all spirits and systems that limit the advancement of our neighbors. The Church is called to function as the Spirit of the resurrected Christ in ways that evoke the will of a loving God. The Church is challenged with the enduring obligation of reminding institutional leaders to undo the systemic evils that hinder human progress.

Thus, I will not pray for unity and peace that forces compromise related to God’s vision for the world. I will not bid people to pray and get over it, to work harder without confronting revolting systems or to hold hands, sing songs and pretend evil hasn’t been legislated by political and religious leaders.

I know the scripture often used to implore congregants to pray for political leaders

“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all men, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life, godly and respectful in every way,” Paul writes in 1 Timothy 2:1-4. “This is good and it is acceptable in the sight of God our Savior who desires all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.”

I’m aware of both the context and culture that frames Paul’s plea for prayer. He’s writing to a community vexed by an oppressive government. I’m aware of the challenges Paul faced due to being jailed for proclaiming a message not endorsed as a legitimate religion. Paul’s appeal for prayer is offered from a unique perspective. He requests prayer for leaders responsible for his imprisonment.

When placed within the context of his writing, these words attributed to Paul, offer a reason for his request. This is not an appeal to pray over the handling of public education, national security or immigration. Paul is requesting prayer that evokes a change of mind. Given the lack of support for his message, the author sought prayers that would correct the way leaders perceived his ministry.

The prayers of the Church weren’t passive acts. The work of the Church coincided with prayer. It didn’t relegate the power of prayer to lofty words during the Sunday morning ritual. Paul, and the other men and women who promoted the teachings of Christ, did more than pray for leaders. They worked to change the minds of leaders by presenting an alternative view on how people can coexist.

They continued to expose hypocrisies within their own religious system and the governments that subjugated poor people, women and sick people. In encouraging a new way of thinking about what makes a community, prayers were needed to change the way people thought about what that means.

This means I will not be substituting prayer for protest. Don’t expect the type of discourse that validates the spirituality of Christians who spew hate towards members of the LGBTQIA community, attacks women’s reproductive rights, have a limited understanding of what it means to be the beloved community or fails to move beyond a fundamental approach of scripture to assist in conversations that undo the tension between the Bible and science.

Don’t expect me to accept Christians who demand the submission of woman and the disallowance of the “Black Lives Matter” movement. I reject the call of “All Lives Matter” as a theological construction. Don’t expect me to pray in ways that refute the pain and passion of hurting people. Don’t expect me to place the impulse for harmony above the commission of the Church.

Jesus came to us to expose hypocrisy. The Church that prays for leaders, devoid of indisputable critique of the systemic evils hindering human progress, is used to advance immoral activity.

The book of James says “faith without works is dead”. To that I add, prayer without activism leads to those dry bones in the valley.

Prophet, preach to the bones.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Trump's fails the Black History Month test

What should black Americans expect from President Trump on the first day of African American History Month?

Maybe a mention of Serena Williams for winning the Australia Open. Williams now stands alone as the all-time leader of Grand Slam titles in the modern era with 23 wins.
Maybe a mention of President Barrack Obama who just left office as America’s first black president.

It was an opportunity for Trump to mend fences caused by his birtherism campaign. Speaking of fences, Trump could have mentioned August Wilson and the performances of Viola Davis and Denzel Washington in the movie adapted from Wilson’s play. He could have talked about “Hidden Figures”, the movie that unpacks the contributions of black women working for NASA.

True to form, Trump used today’s meeting at the White House to celebrate Black History Month to emphasize his grudge with the press.

"I don't like watching fake news," Trump told guests at the listening session.

Given the emphasis on the press, Trump could have transitioned into a discussion involving the work of George Curry, the former editor of the Detroit Free Press and Emerge Magazine, and Gwen Ifill, a veteran television journalist who served as moderator and managing editor of the Public Broadcasting Service's talk show "Washington Week”. Both died in 2016.

You would expect a discussion involving the contributions made by black journalist since the publication of Freedom's Journal, the first African American owned and operated newspaper in the United States. The newspaper was founded by John Russwurm and Samuel Cornish on March 16, 1827 in New York City.

Rather than take the high road, Trump used the opportunity to attack CNN and other news outlets while celebrating the efforts of Fox News.

"Fox has treated me very nice. Wherever Fox is, thank you," Trump said.

It’s disappointing that Trump’s fight with the press took precedence over Black History.

"Frederick Douglass is an example of somebody who has done an amazing job and is being recognized more and more, I notice," Trump said.

Is that the best he can do?

It sounded like a lecture from a Black History Month program during an assembly at an elementary school. As bad as the mention of Douglass played in displaying a lack of sensitivity and refined understanding of Black History, Trump quickly launched into another confrontation regarding an erroneous report that a bust of Martin Luther King. Jr. had been removed from the Oval Office.

"It turned out that that was fake news," Trump said. "But that's the way the press is ... Very unfortunate."

Trump failed to mention that the claim of the bust being removed was never a news story. It was limited to a press pool report tweeted out in social media, but corrected within minutes of its release. It was a regretful mistake that deserves censure, but what does it have to do with Black History Month?

Americans should expect more from Trump than a few comments about Douglass, King, Rosa Parks and Harriet Tubman mingled with criticisms against the press for spreading his version of “fake news”.

"During this month, we honor the tremendous history of the African Americans throughout our country, throughout the world if you really think about it, right?" Trump said when discussing the life of Douglass. "And this story's one of unimaginable sacrifice, hard work and faith in America."

What’s the point in offering a tribute while attacking the press?

The people invited offers a glimpse of Trump’s views on Black History and black legitimacy. The meeting included black pastors, business leaders and people who supported his presidential campaign. HUD secretary-designate Ben Carson and communication advisor Omarosa Manigault attended as the two black members of the Trump team.

The discussion was not an observance of the contributions of blacks throughout history as much as a strike at black leadership. Trump continued his threat to “send in the feds” if Chicago isn’t cleaned up.

"We're going to have to do something about Chicago," Trump said.

What does that have to do with Black History Month?

The mention of Chicago was prompted by a comment from Darrell Scott.  The Cleveland pastor, who serves on Trump’s transition team, said he’s been contacted by "some of the top gang thugs in Chicago for a sit-down."

What does that have to do with Black History Month?

Absolutely nothing, unless you assume the only relevant issues involving black history happened during slavery or the Civil Rights era. It would help if Omarosa, Trump’s advisor in handling black folks, read a few more books and took classes on critical race theory.

So, Oma-Rosa, check this out. Tell Trump to stay on course when he talks about black people. Don’t mix his beef with the press while reflecting on the contributions of black people in America. It feels like black people are no more than a side chat in your personal agenda to minimize the role of the media.

Point two, surround yourself with some credible black leaders. It’s a dishonor to the achievement and legacy of Dr. King, Gardner C. Taylor, Samuel D. Proctor, J. Alfred Smith, Jeremiah Wright, Vashti McKenzie, Prathia Hall, Renita Weems and Carolyn Knight – men and women who minister from a place of deep theological reflection rooted within the context and culture of the enduring witness of black people in America. Scott lacks the insight and intellect to represent black folks outside his promotion of a prosperity driven theology.

Put some respect on our name. In other words, put on your big boy underwear and talk like you know more than you learned in the second grade.

Trump’s Black History tribute is an offensive display of the type of rhetoric that seeks to minimize the message and focus of black liberation. It brutalized the press for reporting the disdain that fuels protest. In blaming the press and offering a crude statement, Trump once again proves he doesn’t get it.


Sadly, no one is surprised.

Friday, January 27, 2017

"Post-truth" is the word of the year


Oxford Dictionaries has confirmed what many have suspected in declaring “post-truth” its international word of the year.

The word has shown up in books, articles and speeches that describe why people are less dependent on experts, the media, teachers and preachers trained at exposing and promoting truth.

“With only themselves and their appetites as a guide, they bypass any information that doesn’t suit their predisposition and worldview,” writes Jonathan Mahler in a column for New York Times Magazine (http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/27/magazine/the-problem-with-self-investigation-in-a-post-truth-era.html). “The self-investigator’s media diet is like an endless breakfast buffet, only without the guilt: Take what you want, leave what you don’t.”

Jonathan Gold, contributor with Huffington Post (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/teaching-in-the-post-truth-era_us_58597f2de4b0630a2542361b), believes today’s students are unskilled at detecting bias and identifying fake news.

“They prefer to seek out evidence that aligns with their preexisting views, to work to dismiss or find counter-arguments for perspectives that contradict their beliefs, and to evaluate arguments that align with their views as stronger and more accurate than opposing arguments,”

The implications related to living in a “post-truth” era impacts numerous core values and assumptions aimed at fostering relationships. It changes the way teachers teach, preacher preach and politicians engage in politics.

“Post-truth” helps us understand the brokenness exposed in the aftermath of the election. It addresses the divergence between the people who promote the “Black Lives Matter” movement and the people who contend “All Lives Matter”. “Post-truth” rebuffs the legitimacy of mandates on the other side.

For those unmoved by the other side, their facts don’t matter. What happened long ago is inconsequential. White people don’t consider black history. Men don’t contemplate the impact of historical and structural sexism. Among many, it no longer matters that America’s pride was grounded in being a safe-haven for immigrants.

“Post-truth” cultivates white nationalism, xenophobia, heterosexism, the renunciation of global warming and an assortment of assertions uncorroborated by experts who offer an unprejudiced evaluation.

The facts don’t matter. That’s what the experts say, but is there more involved in understanding the word of the year?

If truth no longer matters in cultivating consensus, it may help to find ways to help facilitate change beyond the imperative of truth.  If so, what inspires us to bond beyond the numerous versions of truth?

In Durham, it may help to define what it means to be a community transcendent of differences. What are the common interest that make Durham a happy home? What are the obstacles that require massive cooperation after years of fighting to determine the groups in control?

In a “post-truth” era, moving forward will demand a willingness to forfeit control of versions of truth.  It’s an important step in formulating strategies that promote common interest. It means surrendering ideological warfare to promote the advancement of a more vibrant community.

Who leads the way? Will it be leaders in public office or members of the faith community? Will the inspiration come from business owners, educators or private citizens?

The people who have reaped advantages based on an interpretation of truth must lead the way. I know, here we go again in addressing notions of privilege.

Gold challenges us to resist the temptation of laying the responsibility of saving American democracy at the feet of teachers.

“And yet, the dawn of this post-truth era is for me a clarion call to reevaluate and reassert the values of progressive, liberal arts teaching,” Gold writes.  “In the post-truth era, defending truth — and teaching students to seek it — will not be easy, but it’s a worthy fight. We may never be able to recover what we’ve lost.”

Gold seeks strategies that preserves truth. Missing in Gold’s argument is an examination regarding the assumptions Americans make involving truth.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident,” writes Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence. “That all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,”

It’s a truth questioned by minorities and women. Who are the men regarded as equal? Why no mention of women?

Teaching and preaching the truth doesn’t mean the same among those who question how truth is taught in school, church, the media and in places that advance the agendas of the wealthy. More than a movement that promotes anti-intellectualism, “post-truth” addresses the hostility among people who seek to modernize interpretations of truth.

In the “post-truth” era, the facts are shaped by context. The truth doesn’t mean the same because it can no longer be trusted.

In Durham, it would help to have community conversations involving the differences related to how the truth is understood.

Until then, the truth will fail to set us free.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Black people shouldn't be asked to forgive Trump's birtherism

This feels like another one of those “shut up and get in your proper place” moments. It’s assumed that forgiveness comes promptly after something is said or done to question the integrity of black folks walking in space occupied by white people.

There are things too hard to forgive. Why show up to parties celebrating Donald Trump after he stirred doubt related to the citizenship of President Barrack Obama? After questioning the legitimacy of Obama’s presidency, and promoting a boycott of his inauguration, why should black people support the peaceful transfer of powers?
The good book says you reap what you sow.

“I don’t see this president-elect as a legitimate president,” Rep. John Lewis, D-Georgia, told Chuck Todd, host of NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “I think the Russians participated in helping this man get elected and they have destroyed the candidacy of Hillary Clinton.”

Lewis evoked the sentiment felt by many Americans. There’s an uneasy feeling linked to Donald Trump winning the presidency. Be it his loss of the popular vote or the intrusion of Vladimir Putin, being suspicious is a reasonable response.

Sadly, Trump countered with a personal attack following the news that Lewis plans to boycott the inauguration.

“All talk, talk talk - no action or results” Trump tweeted along with attacking Lewis for representing a district he claimed is “crime infested” and “falling apart.”

The outpouring of support for Lewis is squared by critics of his boycott.  

Reince Priebus, Trump's incoming chief of staff, said Lewis' criticism of Trump was “irresponsible” and challenged President Obama to “step up” by telling Democrats to stop questioning "the legitimacy of the next United States president."

"We need folks like John Lewis and others who I think have been champions of voter rights to actually recognize the fact that Donald Trump was duly elected. He's going to put his hand on the Bible in five days," Priebus said.

"I think it’s incredibly disappointing –- and I think it’s irresponsible -- for people like [Lewis] to question the legitimacy of the next United States president,” he added. “I think putting the United States down across the world is not something a responsible person does."

Trump’s hypocrisy is glaring. He launched a birtherism campaign that radically shifted Obama’s message of hope into a movement to prove his citizenship. (read Trump’s tweets on birtherism at: http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2016/09/16/donald_trump_s_birther_tweets_in_order.html)

“Read this--@BarackObama's birth certificate "cannot survive judicial scrutiny" because of "phantom numbers," Trump tweeted on July 23, 2012.

“An 'extremely credible source' has called my office and told me that @BarackObama's birth certificate is a fraud,” Trump tweeted on August 6, 2012.

It was a vicious attack that gained traction with Fox News. It encouraged stereotypes that invalidated Obama based on the fake news that he’s a Muslim born in Kenya. It was the excuse some needed to hate Obama. Being black was enough to discredit Obama’s presidency among those who watch Fox News and listen to Rush Limbaugh and other promoters of fake news on talking radio. The lie that he’s a Muslim born in Africa was enough to justify all of that hidden racism.

It can be argued that Trump is the champion of fake news. His rise as a candidate for office can be linked to his effort to delegitimize the Obama presidency. He has offered no apology.  Rather than concede his role in encouraging hostility toward Obama, he blamed Hilary Clinton for the initial suggestion that Obama is not an American citizen.

Trump refuses to acknowledge the damage he created. In a September 2015 CNN/ORC poll, 43 percent of republicans believed Obama is a Muslim. Another 13 percent believed Obama was born outside the United States. (see: https://www.rt.com/usa/315347-americans-obama-muslim-poll/). The poll suggested that a substantial number of the doubters were Trump supporters.

Black people have reason to denounce Trump for promoting birtherism. Journalist have reason to question how Trump used birtherism to build a base of backers who believed his fake news. Americans have reason to speculate on Trump’s ties with Russia, and women have reason to boycott Trump’s inauguration.

America’s divide is not something the Obama administration created. It was orchestrated by a media blitz to discredit Obama’s citizenship.

Forgiveness has been part of the black community’s DNA. Not this time. Don’t expect a long line of black people endorsing the Trump administration. Don’t shame black people for refusing to embrace the peaceful transfer of powers.

Doing so is paternalistic and assumes a level of authority that Trump, and many of his supporters, denied President Obama.

Get ready for four long years. This time, moving forward will not be about conceding the will of the President. This time, it’s about doing onto others as others have done onto black people. The other cheek has been turned for over 400 years. This time, expect to be called out for your hypocrisy.

You reap what you sow, and Trump has sowed his share of fake news.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

What does this teach us about America?

Finally, the election has ended. The outcome startled many political pundits while fueling a chorus of “I told you so” from Trump supporters. Claims regarding a media conspiracy can be heard echoing in homes where Trump is the hope among those sick of Obama.
Many are left pondering what happened. How did America do this? What are they thinking?

The obvious conclusion is America is more divided than those experts speculated. There’s enough rage among voters to circumvent the work of the Obama Administration. Trump supporters will tell you they voted for Trump, but the truth is many cast votes against Obama. This election is a radical nullification of the ambitions set forth by Obama when he took office in 2008.
This election is about returning to post-Obama America.

This is not post-racial America

“We are now in a 21st-century post-partisan, post-racial society,” said Low Dobbs during his radio show in 2009. In was a thought many Americas held after the election of a black President. It was a landmark moment that signaled the end of systemic racism.”

"Chattel slavery and the legacies it left behind continue to shape American society,” wrote Anna Holmes in her New York Times column ‘America’s Post-racial Fantasy’. “Sometimes it seems as if the desire for a ‘post-racial’ America is an attempt by white people to liberate themselves from the burden of having to deal with that legacy.”

This election sends a message about voters impatience related to conversations involving race. They’ve had enough with “Black Lives Matter” and protest during the National Anthem. They’re tired of conversations involving police brutality and the deaths of unarmed black people. Votes don’t want to talk about race. They want to move past discussions involving inequality.

Could it be that this election ends discussions about post-racial America? If so, will there ever be an opportunity to revisit the possibility?

The need for theological reconstruction

This election forced critique involving the meaning of evangelical. More than before, theological suppositions were placed in the national spotlight in a way that undermined the purpose of the Church.

As conservative Christian rallied behind Trump, progressive Christian redefined the meaning of evangelical to foster dialogue involving the social justice agenda of the Church. The divergent views of the Church appeared on the stages of both national conventions.

The aftermath of this election leaves a pile of residue regarding a variety of theological presuppositions. Moving forward, how will churches define their relationships with members of the LGBTQIA community? What statements will be made involving positions on female leadership? What about interfaith dialogue as it relates to mounting Islamophobia? What theological language will be given to address what it means to be a welcoming community within the context of deportation? What about theological reflection that addresses the debilitating impact of poverty stirred by unpaid medical bills? How will churches address ongoing schisms resulting from implicit bias? How about women’s reproductive rights and other public policy issues that have significant theological implications?

Misogyny and Rape Culture

The election of Trump leaves America with a perplexing dilemma – how will we contend with the allegations involving sexual assault? What is the message sent by voters related to misogyny and rape culture?

It can be assumed that voters dismissed the claims of the women who accused Trump of assault. If so, moving forward, what language can be used to protect women from assault while not dismissing the merit of the complaints they make? Are we to assume America is a nation that refuses to honor the voices of women who boldly demand justice?

How do we validate and protect women from the approaches of powerful men after electing Trump? Are we to assume the emergence of new approaches related to sexual assault? If so, look for the characters on television to resemble an episode of “Leave it to Beaver”.

The death of the watchdog

On numerous occasions, Trump condemned the press for what he viewed as intrusion. In doing so, Trump has articulated the desire to alter the freedom of speech protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. Trumps delicate relationship with the press could significantly undermine the Amendment that prohibits government from enacting laws that abridge the freedom of speech.

What are American voters telling us about their views related to the press? In elevating Trump to the presidency, are we experiencing a splintering of trust between citizens and the press that could significantly alter the role of the press as the watchdog of government?

What does it all mean?

For some, last night was about making America great again. For others, it is the return to the rhetoric of the pre-Obama presidency. This election was a brawl for the soul of America’s conscious. Put another way, this election was about defining what it means to be America. Will we continue the quest for inclusion reflected in an ongoing quest to tackle a broad agenda? Or, will America be defined by an agenda built on the concerns of white, heterosexual, Christian and mostly male Americans?

On last night, diversity and inclusion lost, and America began a quest to be defined by those who controlled public policy before the Obama years.

Welcome back to business as usual.