Thursday, October 30, 2008

White Extremist Terrorism and the Jack Johnson Effect

Currently, The Butterfly Effect is probably the best know of all the effect theories. It basically says, if you change the smallest thing in the past, it can effect major changes in the future. As a person who believes heavily in Chaos Theory, it makes perfectly good sense to me. One of the funniest episodes of The Simpsons was a Tree House of Horrors episode that parodied the Butterfly Effect. Homer, after going back to pre-historic time and killing an insect, then returning back to the present and finding his world turned upside down, continued going back and forth making changes, with increasingly worse results. When he finally had the perfect world, family and home, better than ever before, he found out that this world didn’t make donuts, so he screamed and left that scenario before it started raining… but it just happened that in that scenario, when it rained - donuts fell from the sky. Finally, Homer reached a version of the present where everything looked normal, but when his family started eating, they all had tongues like frogs. After Homer thought a minute, he said “ahh, that’s not so bad” and went on with his meal.

The basic premise of an “effect” theory is that something happening will cause something else to happen based on some related factor or factors. The most talked about Effect recently is the Bradley Effect. The Bradley Effect is the theory that White people will “say” they will vote for a Black or other minority candidate if s/he is qualified when polled, then vote for that candidate’s White opposition when they get in the voting booth. The Bradley Effect is named after Tom Bradley, who ran for Governor of California. He was ahead in the polls among White voters, but lost decidedly on Election Day. It is believed that happened because White voters who never intended to vote for him said they were going to, or claimed they were undecided, because they didn’t want to be seen negatively as racist. Political pundits are now wondering whether Barack Obama will be subject to the Bradley Effect.

Some Pundits have created a new and very interesting theory called the Obama Effect. This theory states that, Conservative Republicans who say they would never vote for Obama when polled, will actually cast a vote for him in the booth. The premise behind this theory is that, while they don’t want Obama for themselves, they will elect him for their children because their children believe that Obama offers hope for their future, and Conservative Republicans will choose their childrens’ hope over their own fear. I think this one is a stretch, but I can’t say it’s impossible. Only time will tell.

The one effect I fear during this run for the White House is the Jack Johnson Effect. Jack Johnson was the first Black Heavy Weight Champion of the world. He was an intelligent and dapper man in his casual relationships, but when he was in the ring, he was known to taunt and brutalize his White opponents with his superior skills and strength. The term “Great White Hope” originated based on the effort to find someone who could beat Johnson. Jack Johnson was a source of pride for Blacks in the first decade of the 1900’s… to a point… because he also brought a great price tag. Johnson not only held the title that was considered to represent the greatest athlete in the world, but he also dated and married White women. The concept of a Black man beating a White man in public, and then walking off with a White woman afterward, and doing both legally, was too much for many White men of that day (I got jokes here, but I’ll let it… goooooo…). So every time Johnson won a fight, and reminded them of his superiority in “their” sport, White men would go out and indiscriminately brutalize Black people. Lynching, drowning, rape, mutilation, and other atrocities were all part of the reaction to Johnson’s victories. Thus, the Jack Johnson Effect: When Blacks experience a victory over strong White opposition, White Extremists will retaliate violently.

History has shown that there are White Americans that will fight and die for the right of African Americans to pursue their goals and receive their rights as Americans. History also shows there are White Americans who take pride and pleasure in showing their feeling of superiority, whether socially, or physically. I have stated several times that there will be repeated plots/attempts on Barack Obama’s life. That is an accepted part of a Black man running for president. I don’t fear for Obama, he made his peace with God when he decided to run, and three exposed plots to kill him so far haven’t slowed him down yet. I do fear for the safety of his wife and children, because anyone who kills the wife or children of Obama will become either a White Extremist cult hero or martyr like Byron De La Beckwith did when he killed Medgar Evers. But that’s not the Jack Johnson Effect. I fear for what will happen to regular ole Black folks after Obama wins.

This latest plot to kill Obama also included the bombing of a school. School and church bombings were a staple of white retaliation during the Civil Rights movement by those who felt that Blacks who wanted to be seen as equally human were taking something away from racist Whites; technically what they were taking was the “feeling” of superiority and entitlement. Taking personal offense at something that was not done to you personally, and then attacking innocent people in retaliation has been part of White Terrorism from before the Ku Klux Clan until now. And don’t believe for a moment that every act of violence against Blacks is Klan related, anymore than every shooting in the Black community is drug/gang related. There are just some sick folks out there, and the “rogues” are often the most dangerous. White Extremist Terrorism is not subject to just Black victims either, as the Oklahoma City Bombing proves. There, the victims were predominantly White, and the attack was done on a building that was known to have a daycare operating on the premises. The previous Oklahoma bombing of Black Wall St. in Tulsa, as well as race riots in East St. Louis, N.Y., and other cities, shows White Extremist Terrorism knows no bounds

White’s aren’t the only people who practice retaliation. Back in my teen years, when a carload of White kids shot me and my boy Tito while we were walking his sister home from work, my brother and some of the other Warlords went over to West Hempstead and gave a healthy beat down to pass on the message that behavior of that type was not allowed (beat downs were all we had since most Black kids didn’t have guns in the ‘70’s). Hey, Blacks and Latinos definitely do their share of killing, and sometimes they target Whites. But there is a major difference between going eye for eye based on a personal attack, and bombing churches and schools at random. Even the most vicious gang-bangers in Black and Latino communities know that churches and children are off limits. If a Black kid shoots another kid in school, it’s because he has a conflict with that kid, but Black kids don’t shoot up the whole school because they are bullied, or have a problem with their teachers, or they aren’t understood by their parents. Black kids understand that shooting a bunch of people for no reason can get your family wiped out. But I digress…

In this season of celebration, remember to be vigil. The origin of the Watch Night church service was that when news of the Emancipation Proclamation came through, being together and in God’s presence was the safest place to be… ‘cause there were White folks who would have done bad things to the newly freed slaves if they caught them. Just like in the Bible, the children of Israel had to fight their enemies most after they got in the Promised Land. Our battle should be first - spiritual, second - moral, third - intellectual, and “last” - political. And it should be fought with an army that is multi-racial, multi-ethnic, multi-religious affiliation, and multi-economic class.
Obama’s victory is a major step in the battle for America to live up to its ideals, but the war is far from over, and the White Extremist Terrorists will be attacking, ‘cause the Jack Johnson Effect will be in effect. Be proud, but humble; fearless… but vigil…
Last note:
In interviews with people at the McCain/Palin rallies, many good Americans express a fear of what an Obama presidency will “do” to their country. They say that if Obama is elected president, it will be the end of America as they know it. The reality is, America as they know it has already ended, and a new one is emerging. THAT’S WHY Obama is being elected president.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

WWJE... Yes, I'm Going There!

This is something I had to write. I was working on about five separate blogs, and couldn’t really tie down what I wanted to say for any of them. Then my wife came to me one night and said, “you need to write a blog about Who Would Jesus Elect… I don’t have the details, but I just know you need to write it. As soon as she said it, I knew that it was exactly where I had been going, and would tie together many of my loose concepts. It bothers both of us that we profess to be a Christian country, and our politicians talk about Christian values; yet so much of what we hear on Sundays in church contradicts what the politicians say before church on Meet the Press. So taking what I got from the pews, the Bible, and some conversations with my Lord and Savior, Here are the platforms for the candidates I believe Jesus would elect.

Education - Jesus went to synagogue every day. He went to teach and He went to listen, so He was into lifelong learning. He started His ministry by saying that education should not be just for the elite, but the common Jew. He ended His ministry by saying that His teachings should be available to anyone around the world. Jesus was all about knowledge, wisdom, and understanding, and equal access to all three. So Jesus would vote for the candidate that advocated providing equal access to equal education across the board.

The Economy (The role of government) - Joseph had the job of organizing the government to make sure that the productivity of business was maximized, and the needs of the country were met long term. Through encouraging the growth of business, the collection of taxes, and the redistribution of the money and resources to areas of community and individual need, he got both Egypt and the Children of Israel through a major crisis. Had business been allowed to run without governmental oversight, the empire would have collapsed. Likewise, without a strong private sector in the seven years before the famine, the country would still have collapsed. Jesus would vote for the person who promoted the most comprehensive government that promote the growth of business within the framework of strengthening the government for the good of the people.

Job Creation – Jesus had no preference for private job creation or government job creation. Some of His disciples were private businessmen, others were government workers. Who created the jobs was not as important as how the business contributed to the benefit of society. The Bible promotes work and creativity in earning a living, and the responsibility to feed oneself to the best of your ability. God’s use of rich men in building His kingdom shows that he respects private business and their ability to create jobs. God also says that all leadership is of him, and he used kings, governors, tax collectors, soldiers, and other employees of the government for great tasks. Jesus would vote for the person who would promote the most comprehensive plan of using government and the private sector to create jobs.

Taxes – Jesus asked that everyone pay tithes and everyone pays taxes. Both send a share of your earnings to a common pot of money to be used for the common good. Jesus said of taxes, give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar. Jesus pulled money out of a fish’s mouth in order to pay the taxes for He and Peter, and He chose a tax collector (Mathew) to as a Disciple and traveling companion. That means that he accepted that the government needed to have funds to maintain itself, and He needed to be abreast of the tax laws in the lands He traveled. He also said that the rich should sell what they had and give it to the poor based on who had most need. Jesus would not be thrilled with the rich withholding their fair share, as shown in chapter four of Acts, when Ananias and Sapphira dropped dead after selling there stuff, lying about their profits, and giving less then their share. I believe that Jesus would expect the rich to pay more because they were obviously blessed more (and that doesn’t go to effort, because every coal mine worker works harder than every corporate executive), and people who tried to provide tax breaks to allow the rich to keep more than their share would be seen as aiding and abetting an Ananias/Sapphira situation. He would vote for the person who would uphold these principals.

The Poor – Jesus loves all people, but the Bible does not really address the middle class, or money and quality of life for the people in the middle, as opposed to how to live in a way that God can prosper you in terms of money and quality of life. He speaks greatly about the poor though. He expressed that you should help the poor. Jesus said the poor will always be among us (Deuteronomy 14:11 and Mark 14:7), so poverty is not necessarily a punishment for what you have done, but more a result of what you have not done, and what others have chosen not to do for you. The Beatitudes, say blessed are the poor; well, a major part of how they will be blessed is that those who are rich bless them. The candidate who most wants to reward the rich for helping the poor would be the candidate that Jesus would vote for… and dare I be so presumptuous, but limiting tax breaks to only those associated with giving to religious and/or charitable organizations would probably make Jesus really happy.

Equal Pay for Women – Jesus recognized that women had the right to divorce men. That was unheard of at the time. Jesus said that his Kingdom would not give preference based on race, sex, or anything else. All are free to come, and all will receive equally. Some may argue that Jesus’ parable about the workers who came in the evening getting the same money as those who came in the morning is justification for differential pay for the same work, but again, it was not based on any personal trait the workers had. The candidate that wanted to give women their due would be the one that Jesus would vote for.

Supreme Court Appointments – Jesus believed that you should study to show yourself approved in an area. The person that showed the best background in understanding the constitution would be the candidate that would be best able to choose people who knew enough to serve in those positions. He didn’t get farmers to be “fishers of men”; He got fishermen. This is more important for a Supreme Court Justice than for a Cabinet Member because the Justice would still be there after the president is gone, and the Justice would not be working directly with the president at any time after appointment. Jesus would vote for the candidate that had the most proven understanding of the original purpose of the constitution, and its creation as an amendable structure that could adapt to the growth and change of the country while holding onto it’s initial intent.

Roe v. Wade – Deuteronomy 30:19 says “…I have set before you life and death, the blessings and the curses; therefore choose life, that you and your descendants may live.” Based on this, I would say that Jesus was anti-abortion and pro-choice. Jesus would believe that abortion was wrong for any reason and at any point, which goes directly to “that you and your descendants may live”. But Christianity is based on teaching toward choice, ie. “choosing life”, and if you take away choice, it takes away the gift/responsibility to choose that Jesus places before us. God didn’t put a fence around the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, because he wanted Adam to choose to respect Him and not the fence. The candidate that advocated a comprehensive plan of education about the sanctity of life without taking away the ability to choose life would be the one Jesus would vote for.

Foreign Policy – The Great Commission, Jesus’ main foreign policy, was to go throughout the world preaching the Good News of Jesus. Within this is the overarching concept that Jesus is Love. Jesus would want our country to be a leader in doing the work that Jesus believed in, like feeding the masses both physically and spiritually, establishing systems of support for the lesser of His children, and teaching what His principals are in a way that would promote others to choose to do things our way.

Military Force – As a carpenter, Jesus had to understand the value of strength… particularly in a time when tools were primitive. Paul said to "lay hands suddenly on no man", so the Bible respects that you should neither attack, nor retaliate, without thought. It follows this up with “be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger”, again saying that conversation should come before conflict. Moreover, Jesus said in the Beattitudes, “blessed are the meek, for the will inherit the earth”, and “blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God.” As a member of a country that wants to be a world leader, Jesus would vote for the candidate who would be willing to speak to his enemies before striking at them, even if they laid hands on us suddenly.

2nd Amendment - The King of Kings believed in turning the other cheek when it came to conflict. He would respect the dictates of the government in which he resides as along as it did not make him compromise His values. He would probably support the candidate that best tied gun ownership to an educational program of the sanctity of life and the dangers of gun abuse, and punishment for those who chose to ignore what they learned or chose to use guns without education. Jesus also preached temperance, so He would probably advocate hunting weapons for hunting, and restrict assault weapons to military and police use (those for whom “assault” is part of the job).

If you don’t agree with me, that’s fine. But if you don’t think I have a right to speak for Jesus, you’re wrong. I know Jesus… I have a personal relationship with Him. What I covered here is what He told me personally. If he told you something different based on your relationship, that’s fine. If He didn’t talk to you at all, you need to spend a little more time reading His Word and listening to Him. Just make sure that if you speak for Him you are doing His will, and not your will in His name. He doesn’t like that second one very much.