You heard me right. I said what WE did wrong.
Read the Old Testament. In it there is the clear chronicle of what God did to help a slave race escape from slavery and stand on its own two feet. It was not easy. For centuries God struggled with these people as generation after generation tried to drift back into enslavement to one god or another, to one government or another. Do you remember what God had to do to the Israelites to teach them not to be slaves anymore? Do you remember what a tough government he set up? It was so tough, many of us still complain about it to this day. We refuse to read the Old Testament because it confuses us. We think God's legal system was too tough on them. And yet, we applaud Rush Limbaugh when he says, "The law is a teacher."
The legal system God set up for the Jews in the aftermath of the Egyptian slavery is the very thing that taught them to be the fiercely independent, self-sufficient race they are today more than 3,000 years later. They fought it, surely. They whined till God let them have a king because they thought they needed an authoritarian government instead of the decentralized (essentially capitalist) system that they had.
God let them pay the price for that. He did not shield them from the consequences of their actions. He expected a high standard of behavior. While the Jews, like any group of humans did not entirely learn the lessons God was teaching, they did learn to be self-sufficient, hard-working and smart. They survived against all odds, living (and thriving) to this day in a tiny bit of land surrounded by people who want them dead and pushed into the sea. When God teaches, the lessons stick!
What we did to the black slaves in the aftermath of the Civil War by marginalizing them, refusing to give them decent education, true equal rights or equal opportunity and then by trying to buy their compliance with freebies from the government was wrong. It treated a whole race like little children. Is it any wonder they face the troubles they do today?
When are we going to acknowledge that our country screwed up in how we handled the 40 years in the desert of the former slaves in our own country. How can we when we're so afraid of a government that is truly tough and fair that some of us won't even look at the Old Testament, much less read it and learn from it. God did a really good job of liberating one slave race and standing them up on their feet. Maybe it's time we join forces with those in the black community that wish to invite God to do that again for their own race.
The truth is, we could stand a little Old Testament discipline for all Americans, lest we allow ourselves to drift into slavery as the Israelites allowed themselves to do after they moved to Egypt. to escape the famine.
There's a lesson there too. In every handout there are the seeds of slavery. Be careful not to become dependent on them. The Old Testament style of government had a lot of other good ideas like:
- Limited central authority
- Tough criminal laws
- Voluntary taxation to meet national needs as they arose
- Locally based judicial system
- Seven year debt holiday (how many people would be able to survive poor financial decisions if that were in place AND how many banks would make bad loans under that system?
- Small standing army, citizen call up in an emergency
And, yes, I know it's our father's and grandfather's mess, but does that matter. It's still a mess. It still needs cleaned up and if we're not willing to help out, then we're just part of the problem. It's time to quit griping about what's wrong with black people and immigrants and start helping those among them that want to improve their communities, put their neighbors to work and instill a little pride, self-respect and self-sufficiency into their kids.
We're part of the solution or we ARE most assuredly, part of the problem.
I'm just sayin'.