Herds of sheep will calmly follow any leader who seems trustworthy so slaughter houses have long used a “Judas goat” to lead them calmly along an unfamiliar path. At the last moment the goat is turned aside to do the devious deed again as the sheep discover it is too late to avoid being butchered.
Liberals, civil rights leaders and the news media have been shouting a lot of things in the days following the death of George Floyd under the leg of a Minneapolis police officer. By doing that they’re putting a Judas goat in front of the American public and hoping a lot of them will follow like sheep. Listen to what is being demanded and you’ll get a good idea of the terrible places they want to take us. De-funding the police may sound good but fewer police on the streets means more freedom for criminals to steal and rob.
The people who will suffer first and the most are in the neighborhoods like where George Floyd lived. Diverting funds from the police to social programs sounds nice because the quality of life in those cities has been declining for decades. Look closer and you’ll see that those cities have one big thing in common: decades of rule by mayors, city councils and governors who were Democrats who always wanted more social programs to cure the problems in the cities. They’re yet to fix the first of those problems, so why should anyone expect things to get better after social programs are put on steroids?
I’ve been eyewitness to real racial discrimination. My family moved to Alabama in 1963 when the civil rights movement was getting hot. I remember when George Wallace stood in the door of a schoolhouse to prevent black students from entering. I remember when the march led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was brutally attacked on the Edmund Pettus Bridge as they left Selma on their way to Montgomery. I saw the “whites only” entrances to businesses and water fountains and toilets. I have seen people being treated unfairly in ways that any decent person could sympathize with.
In that first school assembly after our school was integrated all the black kids were sitting on one side of the gym and all the white kids on the other. Racial animosity was running at a fever pitch across the South so a lot of taunts and disrespectful name-calling was heard after we went to our assigned classrooms. But a good number of us figured that since we were in it together then we might as well get acquainted and get along with each other. Perhaps the biggest thing we all learned was that underneath our different skin colors we were all human and we had enough in common to become friends. Some of those friendships have endured for more than half a century.
In contrast with that reality, a popular claim being spread today on social media says “You’re not black so you can’t understand.” That’s a rude, in-your-face demand for you to shut-up and accept every claim shouted by liberals about America being inherently racist without tolerating any testing of the claim. The claim is illogical on its face because it claims “the black experience” is so unique it is impossible for anyone who is not black to sympathize with them in any degree. That’s another Judas goat and their objective is dividing us as a nation. So much progress has been made at resolving real racial inequity that civil rights advocates have been forced to change their definitions. Instead of talking about discrimination we’re hearing terms like “institutional oppression.” Most of the time they can’t give you evidence of it but when they do their answers make it obvious they’ve been buying a lot of elastic lately.
We are all unique individuals, yet with all of our differences we share the opportunity as fellow humans to create understanding and solve problems by sympathizing with each other. Unfortunately, some people don’t want to do it. Like the nurse I met in the hospital emergency room one day after suffering a back injury at work. I was in a lot of pain and asked if they could give me something to relieve it. She pointed to the poster on the wall illustrating the one-to-ten pain scale and asked me to rate my pain. I put it at a “solid nine” because I wasn’t crying as much as the cartoon face on the poster. She responded that it was impossible for my pain to be that high because I was a man so I hadn’t experienced childbirth. Well, I’d been in the delivery room with my wife so I had a pretty good idea of how a person behaves when they’re in that much pain, Plus, I was the one in pain. I was discharged two hours later with both my pain and a prescription for pain killers “on the chance you need them,” she told me.
In contrast with that, a few years later I had to undergo a surgery where the recovery period has a well-earned reputation for being extremely painful. A friend didn’t just sympathize with me, she empathized by telling me she’d had the same surgery and it had caused her more pain than any two of her three difficult and long childbirths combined!
Sympathy can cross even what appears to be the widest gaps and differences in life experiences. Years ago I was working with a health ministry in New York City where we checked blood pressures at different locations around the city. I will never forget the first time a man rolled-up his sleeve I saw the tattoo marking him as a survivor of a Nazi death camp. He sensed my discomfort and told me yes, he’d seen terrible things and had lost numerous members of his family but that was in the past so he was more concerned about things like taking care of his health. Over time I learned to read the tattoos and know at first glance which death camp a person had been in.
The ways they related to the experience varied from one person to the next. For some it was a dark cloud hanging over every moment of their bitter existence while others quickly warmed to my interest in them and the stories began flowing. I heard stories so horrible that I had difficulty even imagining them. I heard of seeing parents and siblings taken away to the gas chambers or to be test subjects in hideous experiments designed to measure how much a person could suffer before they died. It was impossible for me to empathize with them, yet it was amazing how often what sympathy I offered with their grief and pain drew thanks for my caring and reminding them that God still loved them.
Today we have the opportunity to let our collective horror and grief over how George Floyd died bring us together as citizens of our great nation who are determined to make things better instead of following the Judas goats liberals keep putting in front of us. By pulling together and sympathizing with each other in our varied life challenges we will be able to relegate claims like “institutional oppression” to the ash heap of history. We must see each other as fellow citizens who can together embrace and treasure the liberties that are protected by our Constitution and resist the efforts of the political left to destroy them.
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