by S.A. Prince
Understanding each other by labels is ruining us. Let’s take the label Christian as an example.
Almost all of the Presidents have been Christian: including Donald Trump, Barack Obama, George Bush, and Bill Clinton, our last four. Over their presidencies, thousands, if not millions, have been killed by our military. We have launched drone strike, after drone strike, after drone strike under the idea of keeping America safe. Have those drone strikes, where the killing of 200 innocents is justified if 1 terrorist is killed, kept us safe, or do they simply further American imperialism?
Now, I ask you: Do you consider those men Christians?
The answer would depend on your definition of Christianity. So, what does Christianity mean to you? Is it the “Love your neighbor as you love yourself” rhetoric? Or, is it the “March 7 times around Jericho and kill an entire city of people, some of whom are definitely innocent” rhetoric? Or, is it something else? Again, I ask you: What does Christianity mean to you?
Does the fact these presidents consider themselves Christian give them leeway in their actions? Because Jesus spoke love, they can also speak love. Because Joshua marched around Jericho, they can drone strike without regard. If Christianity gives them this leeway, then what is the label worth?
It is worth nothing. Christianity is a throwaway, just like all other labels.
What is the Alt Right? What is Black Lives Matter? What is feminism? They are labels designed to congregating people under the banner of complex idea with too many moving parts. Labels create opposition. They make people choose sides.
But, labels are lazy.
They don’t get to the nitty gritty details needed in problem solving. Labels allow us to blow one another off. We can place an Alt Right person into one category, and Feminist into another. Our labels are going to lead us into an era of Social War, because they stop us from doing the hard work.
We are so busy concerned with What people are, in turn we have disregarded Who and Why they are.
Why are we fighting complex ideas? Feminism, the Alt Rights, Black Lives Matter. These are battles that can never be won. They are pointless.
The true battle is within your city. It is in your neighborhood, your community. We have to do the hard work. We have to go to the disenfranchised, not as a group, but one by one, and develop relationships. We have to understand Who and Why they are instead of What they are. To overcome situations like the one that happened in Charlottesville yesterday, we have to begin to ask questions of one another.
We cannot rely on any labels. We have to do the hard work and develop relationships with those around us. There is no other way to peace. We can either fight the war there, or wait until it reaches out doorstep.