- Racial Equity
- Talk About Race
By John Kuckuk
After the nation seemed to be mired in vituperation, more and more people joined the rising majority, working to re-establish the framework for our country written by our nation’s Founders. In the American Revolution, bright “provincials” put monarchy behind them and grasped the strangeness of democracy with determination. In two hundred years, the fallacies of populism, of unregulated freedom, of laissez faire capitalism, of gross individuality had been tried and failed. Americans had grown wiser together in their personal freedom; there were no longer fierce “red necks” afraid to trust anyone. The end of that abortive era has been left for history. Another thirty years proved the passing of a watershed.
The miraculous transformation of religion illustrates the new maturity of Americans. Just thirty years ago the Roman Catholic papacy was facing worldwide disgust at its antiquated “old boy” hierarchy. The church’s very human organization had lost itself in the ancient institution of aristocratic privilege and had protected itself from the thoughtful minds of human beings for the last time. The Roman Catholic Reformation has taken hold and renewed this venerable institution. One might not recognize it today!
Not quite like the British monarchy, the Roman Church did not simply become an historic shadow of pomp and artifice; the Roman Catholic Church had outlived that temptation. The Roman hierarchy became a modern bureaucracy. Red-robed “prelates” became religious servants. Great treasures were opened, distributed by market forces, and spent in recovering dignity for half the world’s poor. The flow of gifts was redirected to the works of healing, helping, and teaching humanity. The “one and only church” joined Christian sisters and brothers around the world in living for the fulfillment of human life. Its immense power turned from preserving itself to serving as Jesus the Christ served. Protestants rejoiced with “Catholics” in a new unity that might be called a new Christendom! Reformation is no longer a pejorative but a commonly sought path of life.
The nation has found a new wholeness with the passing of the antiquated “conservatism” that corrupted the political process. The old type of conservatism hung onto economic models as most of us had in the past hung onto “golden age” illusions. The new sense of history plumbs the past, learns new lessons, forges ahead to create a new wholeness about the body politic. There is no fear of others, but a depth of appreciation for the insights others, even in their mistaken antiquities, bring to the conversational table. In fact, sometimes highlighting those past events has prodded us to conceive new insights. As the days pass, there is less and less fear of others, less and less fear of insidious forces as a new nation we learn to correct and fill the loopholes faulty legislation introduces. In fact, no longer self-righteous, Americans accommodate one another, the foibles of legislators, the errors human beings introduce and the wonderful diversity of human life. And out of the glorious mix of human thought comes new truth!
Almost a century ago Reinhold Niebuhr reminded us, “Make no mistake: Evil does exist in the world. A non-violent army could not have halted Hitler’s armies.” Evolution does its work unevenly among all creatures. Some insist on their antiquated ways, however anti-social they may be. But we are new people, new every day. When we rise in the morning it is a new day we face, with new opportunities and new challenges. International troubles have diminished and war no longer seems necessary. We are beginning what we may hope is a long and rewarding era of peace. If we must exercise force, we will not revert to the vengeful patterns of the past, but work assiduously for the peaceful resolution of problems with respect and care for the people related to the problem we see. We will not under any circumstances intentionally hurt innocent people, nor exercise animal ferocity in dealing with offenders. We have learned that other people, however different they may seem to be from ourselves can be interesting, valuable, and enriching friends.
The stupendous displays of nature a few years ago reminded us of our belated recognition of our dependence on nature and on one another. Then “global warming” was the newly imagined devil in the world. But even the weaknesses of highly disciplined scientists in misdirected expressions of doubts and queries can be subsumed in the new civic consciousness. Demagogues no longer exploit the ambiguity of language, the weaknesses of people, and the opportunistic failings of leaders. The public controls them as people throughout the long pre-history of humanity controlled power-hungry leaders – with the corrective of common sense.
To make a long story short, we have the passed along the road the illusions of grand achievement of emperors, of religious leaders, of scholars, of idealists, and of empiricists. We have learned from a huge array of wise people over thousands of years that our magnificent imaginations and our rational capabilities are gifts to all people, not only to ourselves. We no longer see ourselves as the grand exploiters of earth’s treasures, nor of other peoples, nor of ideas, nor of insights. We are people who share a planet and with the continuing changes we make in ourselves and in it we will forge ahead toward a more perfect society.
Finally, the dancing and singing with which our very ancient ancestors enjoyed one another as their numbers grew and they began the long journey many thousands of years ago, will return to our local communities. We will learn again the joy of what just a few years ago were called “folk” dances. Large numbers of people will gather in community halls as they did before the electronic age for the pure joy of seeing, touching, and enjoying other people. We will sing, off key or on key as the ubiquitous finch continues its complicated song. The “national” singing groups will revive the near-forgotten tongues of boisterous joy in “folk” tunes. Taverns and beer halls will again ring the neighborhoods, small, congenial, always available, but never violated with drunkenness, since one our new understandings of life is to maintain our sensibility always. The result is a pleasant, peaceful, and productive world.
Author: Kirwan Institute (427 Articles)