Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Passover Edition: Wright & Wrong, Forgiveness Vs. Accountability

As a person that has been accused of being too honest, let me explain why there has been a lapse since the last time I posted. A few profound events lead me to spend time thinking about my next post before I wrote what is below.

· I mayor discussed my criticism of her

· I attended Sen. Obama’s speech on race in Philadelphia last Tuesday

· My brother came home for a week. In April he will be deployed to Iraq for 18 months.

· I discussed the layoffs with many people in and out of City Hall

· I met and connected with a young lady who is helping me reconnect with the God that has blessed me over the years

Wright & Wrong

Barack Obama was forced to explain why he attached himself to a man that made what some in the media described as inflammatory and racist. For many Black people, the statements of Rev. Jeremiah Wright, were right on target and were similar to the types of things usually discussed in common company.

I have a blog now, where I am able to share my thoughts. I am also politically ambitious, hoping to one day have a prominent position in Camden, where I will be able to make my ideas into progress for the city. I found myself empathetic to both Wright and Obama, because they both had to do what they had to do to be credible and have an impact.

Wright, as a pastor of a black church in an urban area, has a responsibility to remind his congregation that America has not yet fulfilled its promise . We are not home of the brave, but home of the military that is sent to fight wars that should not be fought (thoughts of my brother), as we ignore the chaos in nations where genocide is the leading cause of death. We are not land of the free, but land of the weak dollar, increasing inflation, and our most valuable export is jobs.

Obama had to show how the relationship was complex and how Wright was more that what certain people in the media had assumed him to be. Obama had to explain the issues of race to everyone, so that we would move from a discussion about our problems with one another to a debate about what we can do to solve those problems that all Americans have.

White powerful men do not want to be reminded of their faults and the history of racism that haunts every aspect of American life. Wright offended and went against the power structure, just as Jesus did. Many black people have not forgotten about the syphilis experiments, so when Rev. Wright suggests that the government had something to do with the spread of HIV amongst Blacks, it is possible if not feasible.

Forgiveness Vs. Accountability

However, going against the status quo is not a racial issue. It is a power issue. Last week, Mayor Faison told me that she was disappointed about statements that I made about her on this website. She pointed out that she has never said that her power has been taken away, but her governance has. According to the MRERA legislation, much of the power of the mayor has been taken away. To her defense, many of the problems that encouraged the state to approve and implement the takeover, have not gotten any better. The deficit continues to decrease. Layoffs are definitely coming. There is a lengthy list of failures that are of no fault of the mayor.

I discussed these issues with the mayor. Words that Jesse Jackson said during the State of the Black Union came to mind “In politics, there are no permanent friends, no permanent enemies, just permanent issues.” I am not the mayor’s friend, nor am I her enemy. We are partners that have different positions and therefore different tactics to deal with the severe issues that impact our city. I have to be careful as a partner to not publically offend, but instead privately counsel. Therefore I apologize to her for making an inaccurate statement.

Today we are between Easter and Passover. This condition of the city has reminded me of a few people who I think are worth remembering to compare to our present situation. For God to free his people from bondage and bring them to the Promised Land, there were two main players that were apart of the equation. Moses’ responsibility was to bring his people to freedom. He knew the enemy well because he was raised with them. He knew his own people well too because he later lived among them. Pharaoh was the stubborn leader who dealt with ten horrible situations, in order for him to be convinced that God was serious about his people being freed. Even after the Jews were freed, he changed his mind and chased after them to the soldiers’ peril. Once the Jews were freed, their enemy transferred from Pharaoh to themselves. They were destroyed by their sin. A trip that should have taken a few days, took forty years instead.


What does all of this mean for us? Who are our leaders? Are they of Pharaoh or Moses? What side of the plan are they on? The good or evil side? Who are the people we are trying to set free? How long will it take our people to become free? Are we stalled by our Pharaoh or ourselves?

I do not have the answers, but I think that it is worth thinking about. Why am I saying all of this? In my heart, I truly believe and am compelled to say that we as a city will not get anywhere good as long as we fight, create racial division that otherwise does not exists (i.e. the principal transferred from Sumner), ignore the big problems and bring temporary solutions to the small ones (i.e. the budget).

As we remember Jesus Christ, let us remember what he did while on Earth. He challenged the system/status quo – those who had abused their position. He studied the activities of the church and in the last year of his life he fought against the traditions that were not in the law. He had a huge following of the poor and mistreated. So therefore, whether you are Jew or Gentile; Catholic or Protestant; atheist or agnostic; faithful or hypocritical, learn from history and do the Wright thing. Speak truth and act in a way that will benefit the people you serve. Amen.

Coming soon…

· The Camden Service District Expansion

· Notes from tonight’s city council meeting

· Calendar of events

1 comment:

leroy said...

Sean,
I'd love to hear what you think the core message of Jesus' teaching actually is. You write,"As we remember Jesus Christ, let us remember what he did while on Earth. He challenged the system/status quo – those who had abused their position. He studied the activities of the church and in the last year of his life he fought against the traditions that were not in the law." Do you think this was the central point of this work on earth?