Life is terrifying. People are scary. Everything is potentially dangerous. Selfishness will get you ahead in this world of ours. And if I do not take steps to protect what’s mine, it might not stay mine. If I really want to acquire as much as possible and I want to protect what is mine it makes perfect sense for me to step on a couple of toes. Sure, it isn’t what I would ideally like, but if undocumented immigrants are taking the job I might need, I need to get them out of my country. If the LGBTQ community is trying to include themselves in the institution of marriage and threaten the meaning of something I hold so dear I need to do everything in my power to stop them. If these socialist liberals want to give my hard earned money to people who don’t have jobs then it makes sense for me to fight to keep my taxes low and my insurance premiums as minimal as possible. If the #BlackLivesMatter movement want to give people the impression that I somehow have an unfair advantage in life they will need to be stopped. Otherwise they will take away from my accomplishments and might give themselves an unfair advantage. If you wanna make an omelette you gotta break some eggs, right? We, as a nation, have to put the “greater good” first! I don’t want to come across as a bigot, really. But it is time for me to stand up for my own, if I don’t who will?
The most terrifying thing about life in 2017 is that there are so many people who genuinely believe that things like this are for the greater good. They earnestly believe that they must circle the wagons just to survive. That is an instinct that, whether we want to admit it or not, we all have from time to time. Maybe not in such grand terms, but there are times when that person wants to merge in ahead of us and we are in a hurry or our coworker is looking for some help on a project but we are too busy trying to make ourselves look good or even that time when we walk our family to the other side of the street because we aren’t sure what those kids are up too. (If it was just us we wouldn’t cross the street, but this is our family we are talking about.) We all have the potential to put ourselves first at the expense of others. And to be honest, it might actually make sense because we do need to put the greater good first. The only question we need to ask ourselves it, what greater good are we talking about?
Personally, I follow Jesus. I know that is not a very popular thing to say now-a-days, but it is my truth. And because of that HE defines what my greater good is. And even though this might be hard to believe, those ideas are VERY American. I don’t mean “Make America Great Again!” American, or even “Never Trump” American. I mean judging men by the content of their character not the color of their skin (or any other external characteristic); I mean saying give me your tired and your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breath free. I mean ask not what others (my country) can do for me, but what I can do for others (my country). That kind of American. The kind of greater good that we as human beings can feel good about, even if it doesn’t seem like it makes sense.
“It is to say that what was once forced into the dark is now permissible in the light.”
I know that we are scared. I know that things look bad for so many of us, but the idea that it is necessary and justified to take away someone’s rights to protect another from the behavior of someone masquerading as part of that demographic is not only offensive, it says that what was once forced into the dark is now permissible in the light. It says that it is now okay to judge others by external characteristics; as if they have ever really proven to be a consistent and accurate picture of someone’s heart. It is to say that we live in a nation where we are judged by our demographics, not the content of our character. It is to say TAKE your tired, your poor. Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teaming shore. Take these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, send them…somewhere else because they make us uncomfortable.
Let’s get uncomfortable.
Let’s live in our terrifying world courageously.
Let’s put the greatest greater good first!