How Did We Get Here?

African American news from Pasadena - Editorial - if we can beat slavery, we can beat a battle for health careThis week I went out and bought a copy of Deborah Cox’ CD, for one song, “Nobody’s Supposed To Be Here.” The song asks the question, “How did you get here?” It is a love song from the 1980s, but spells out the dilemma of America today. If Black America, with the help of God, white liberals, progressives, and independents can beat slavery, this same team can beat a battle for health care.

What is clear is that the Obamacare haters will never stop fighting for the victory that will never come, i.e., a return to the culture of slavery and white supremacy. Equality is, after all, God’s work and we are God’s people.

The New York Times editorial for Thursday October 17, 2012 began with the words, “The Republican Party slunk away on Wednesday from its failed, ruinous strategy to get its way through the use of Havoc.” It ended with the words, “Those who refused to submit to blackmail in Washington need to remain vigilant.”

In the weeks that led up to this victory, the A-Team, led by America’s first black president, Barack Obama, was called everything but what he is, and that is a child of God. The conservatives even brought out one of America’s black heroes, Dr. Ben Carson, who said that Obamacare was worse than slavery. It was never clear how he knows that Obamacare will be worse than slavery, except through the eyes of the white masters who pay him. And how do they know? In the law it’s called, a pre-emptive.

On Thursday, we watched as President Obama said, “Thank you”, to the American staffers for sticking around and waiting. We have all seen the movies, “The Help”, “The Butler”, and a thousand other movies that prepared us for this moment. To watch them all march back to their posts this week was magnificent. It was even more magnificent when we consider that the Republicans tried to push a pay cut onto those government staffers. They did this by saying that their health care would have to be paid by them as individuals.

We all need to say thank you to our President, for standing up and saying “NO” and meaning NO to the Republicans as they worked to strip health care from Americans. Yes, there will be improvements to be made, but the beginnings are here, and it shall be known as Obamacare.

Let us not forget that when basketball began, when it was founded it was a wooden basket that the ball was thrown through, and it has improved to metal, with flexible basket brackets for the dunkers. It was an eight foot tall basketball goal, until seven foot tall, Lew Alcindor showed up, and dunking was on the menu. There was no three point goal until it was necessary to try to equalize the game.

Our ancestors fought slavery, race discrimination, and drug addiction, yet we won our victories because, as Reverend Jeremiah Wright says, ‘we are God’s people’. My Mother taught us there are things that are God’s work. This health care bill is the result of God’s work. On the same day that the bill went into effect, our fourth black senator in New Jersey, Cory Booker, was elected. Ironically Booker’s father died one week before his election. One week before President Barack Obama’s historical election, his grandmother died.

Unfortunately, as we keep winning, our troops keep dying off, or killing themselves with careless behavior. Drugs, guns and unemployment all lead up to headlines that say, “Ninety Percent of Juvenile Arrests are Minorities.” (Pasadena Star News, Sunday, October 13, 2013.) A fact that I reported in 2007, as part of a Chuck Colson Ministry symposium on crime held in Washington, D.C. When you force all those with negative behaviors into one community, that’s where you will find the crime, while the other communities spend their time sober, studying, and cultivating beneficial relationships.

How did we get here? My answer is: with God’s help, doing God’s work. It was described in Michelle Norris’ book, “The Grace of Silence” (page 56), where she says, “I felt as if everywhere you turned someone cheered you on — and not just family members. Everybody was in the same boat, rowing in the same direction, determined to get somewhere fast. The irony is that when so many of us got there, the community bonds began to fray . . . “

We cannot give up. For when we keep moving forward, by God’s grace, even though we may lose a little, we still gain more than we lose. That’s how we got here!