You may want to write this down because I don’t say it very often. Perhaps we should follow the shining example of the Republican Party in one very significant way. The Grand Old Party – formerly known as the “party of Lincoln” – abolished the sinister practice of slavery here in the United States in 1865. For all intents and purposes, President Abraham Lincoln sacrificed his life in order that slaves in America might be free. Although the Emancipation Proclamation was not honored or implemented in the spirit in which it was written, Lincoln’s most noble effort cannot ever be ignored or marginalized. I’ve been wondering lately – silently and aloud – if each of us could invoke our own inner Abraham Lincoln. If we put our minds to it, what should we abolish? What could we abolish?
Perhaps we could abolish political terms of ideology in our great nation. I’m entirely serious. What if we did away with the terms Democrat, Republican, and Independent? Would the earth stop rotating on its axis? Absolutely not. Would animals suddenly be granted the privilege of speech and humans suddenly be rendered silent? Nope. Would Oreo cookies perish from the earth? As much joy as the very thought of that brings me, the answer is still no. Imagine if we instead assigned ourselves and each other far more transparent designations. What if the identifying brands politically were changed to the For Party and the Against Party? To wit: are you for meaningful immigration reform, or against immigration reform? Are you for true gender equality in America, or against true gender equality here? Are you for addressing our country’s increasingly crumbling infrastructure, or not? And if you’re against any or all of those hot stove issues, that’s fine. There’s nothing wrong with your political stances therein. However, everyone would know where you stood.
Perhaps we should abolish racial terms in the US. No, think about it. What if we no longer classified people as black or brown or red or yellow or white, etc., etc.? What if the new term was simply human? Would long-simmering racial tensions be eased somewhat? Yes, but only if we ensured that was the case. Since we all know from the Bible that faith without works is dead, we would have to commit to rolling up our sleeves and doing the work. Racially diverse groups would have to come to the table of brotherhood and engage in frank conversation. Moreover, some hugging, handshaking, apologizing, forgiving, and relationship building would also have to take place. We’re certainly capable of achieving all of those things. If we could devise a plan in the early 1960s to place an American man on the moon without the internet, the cloud, or a single computer as advanced as your I-pad or I-phone, we could deal a near-fatal blow to racism here if we decided individually and collectively to do so. I’ve said this before and it bears repeating: as long as there is money to be made and power to be gained from sowing seeds of disharmony and hatred between the races, there will always be people willing to devote their time, talents, and treasure to keeping Americans separate and unequal.
Shouldn’t we abolish how we view old age? What if our society honored an elderly person’s experiences rather than their numerical age? After all, the true measure of any civilization is how its young and elderly are treated.
My next point will be considered controversial, but it truly shouldn’t be. Maybe it’s time we considered abolishing the names of the many systems of faith we subscribe to. I say that because too many Christians spend too much time denigrating all the other faiths – mainly because they don’t belong to those faiths. It’s very easy to demonize Islam if you’ve never been to a mosque, or never known anyone who is Muslim. It’s very easy to critique Judaism if you haven’t been to a synagogue, or haven’t had a conversation with someone who is Jewish. People tend to fear what – and who – they don’t know about. That’s the case geographically, racially, culturally, politically, and religiously. Perhaps we could try using the acronym FOG – followers of God. Or assign FOG with the faith as a compliment – such as FOG, Episcopalian; FOG, Southern Baptist; or FOG, Catholic. Perhaps such a simple suggestion might promote more racial diversity in churches, synagogues, and mosques through the US. Perhaps not. Couldn’t we at least try? Please?
To those of you who recognize the possibilities expressed here today, I ask you this: can you be like honest Abe? What will you abolish?
I’ve read that if any person anywhere does something every day for 21 consecutive days, it will become a habit. What if for the next 3 weeks, we abolished every form of discrimination and division? What might we accomplish?