What Do They Have in Common?
“Do unto those downstream as you would have those upstream do unto you.” Wendell Berry
The righteous care about justice for the poor, but the wicked have no such concern. Proverbs 29:7
I offer these brief thoughts as sort of an addendum to my previous posts called, “What Should We Do?” wherein I talked about the kingdom way of using wealth, leverage, and power. Here I’d like to use the actions of a comic, a candidate, and a few bad cops who have used these for bad instead of good.
The comedian to whom I refer is Bill Cosby, the cops are those who shoot first and ask questions later, and you might guess the identity of the candidate. I’m aware that Cosby hasn’t been conclusively proven guilty of numerous aggravated sexual assaults in a court of law. I know that many of the cases in which cops have been implicated of police brutality and murder are still pending. Let’s assume for argument’s sake that there is some truth to the accusations of guilt in at least some of these cases.
I have no beef with all cops because of some bad ones any more than I have a problem with all comedians because of Bill Cosby. Neither Cosby nor certain cops have soured me on everyone in their respective professions. Cosby, whose records (yes, the vinyl kind!) I listened to as a boy doesn’t speak for all comics, nor do some policemen speak for all.
My problem––and yours, I hope––is with anyone who uses their wealth, leverage, or power to gain an advantage over the vulnerable. Misusing these privileges is what we call injustice. What one comic and some cops did is not only despicable but also a crass demonstration of injustice. God have mercy on us insofar as we’ve degenerated to liberty and justice only for those who can afford it and when we use our power and privilege to victimize those who possess neither.
Bursting with bravado and teeming with testosterone, “The Candidate” said of his sexual conquests, “When you’re a star, they let you do it!” We’ve been letting people like him––superstars, CEOs, and so-called “public servants”––do it to us since the beginning of time. Their wealth, leverage, and power clear a path for them to do anything they want to anyone they want to do it to.
If proven guilty, Cosby and the cops took out their twisted frustrations on those who couldn’t fight back. Like the Candidate, Cosby has the money, the fame, and an entourage to back him up. The cops have the badge, the Kevlar, and the weaponry––to say nothing of body cameras that never seem to work when you need them to. With all their obfuscations and excuses they seem to think they’re bullet proof. But they’re not judgment proof. God has a problem with bullies!
The LORD saw it, and it displeased him that there was no justice. Isaiah 59:15
The LORD your God … is not partial and takes no bribe, he executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and loves the strangers, providing them with food and clothing. Deuteronomy 10:17-18
Sad to say but I don’t expect Cosby or whichever cops are actually guilty to be prosecuted. Cosby’s standup days are over and some of the cops may lose their pensions, but as far as going to jail where they belong, I’m afraid it won’t happen. Their cells are reserved for those who can’t afford an expensive team of lawyers.
People with clout are made of Teflon. Nothing icky ever sticks to them. They can bend rules and redefine norms to fit their needs because superstars get away with rape and murder, whereas the poor and powerless are profiled by class or color. But while the powerful are unlikely to see the inside of a cell I hope and pray they’ll see the inside of their own souls, humble themselves, and repent.
“Left to ourselves, the majority will always protect the powerful, and forget the weak. That’s especially true when the weak at issue are not only powerless but invisible.” Russell Moore
You might have noticed I’ve hardly referred to “The Candidate.” Frankly, with all we now know about him and the daily bombardment of damning data I’m just tired of talking about his entitled, arrogant, abusive, and narcissistic self. There I go again! His antics lured me into it.
“Liberty and justice for some” isn’t a world we can tolerate, especially those of who lack the wealth, leverage, and power to buy, weasel, or force their way into “the some.” Yet we who possess more heavenly “firepower” than the most wealthy, privileged, and powerful people, must interfere––at the polls, with our pens (well, laptops), and with our petitions. I refer to both kinds of petitions––the prayer kind that we deliver to the Lawgiver and the paper kind that we sign and deliver to lawmakers.
“We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere.” Holocaust survivor and Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel
Hey, my book, The Other End of the Dark is now available in both eBook and paperback versions! The profits from it go to Freedom House. If you’ve already read it, it would be a great if you would review it on Amazon. Pleeeeze!