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Kennington Avenue

Wednesday, November 5th, 2014

A Nation going Backwards

I’m listening to the election returns tonight. These are the mid-term election results. And it looks as if the Republicans will win big as has been projected in a number of quarters.  The exit polls are telling us that voters are fed up with Washington, and yet they are deciding to elect people who will give us more of the same gridlock that we have witnessed over the last 6 years because those in the senate in particular have been so consumed with blocking anything that President Obama put forth. They have played the politics of obstruction and they have perfected it. It has been interesting to watch and listen to the political ads here in southern Illinois where we recently moved. Every Republican running for office has started out their campaign saying in essence “vote for me because I do not support President Obama.” And as I have been following campaigns across the country Republicans have used that line and they have effectively used it by painting the President as someone to be feared, someone who is taking the country in the wrong direction and who has made America lose standing in the world. It does not matter whether what they are spouting is true, but that they convince people to accept the lie as truth.  And I am not just amazed but dumbfounded that there are so many people who are willing to believe and follow the lie. What has been so remarkable to me throughout history is how patient African-Americans have been in terms of giving whites the benefit of the doubt, of believing the best about them. But at some point our patience will wear thin. I think all that Blacks have ever asked of whites is for whites to meet us half way in terms of trying to reach a point of racial reconciliation and whites have always been reluctant to do that. The results of these mid-term elections was not just a referendum on the Obama Presidency, but a referendum on race in America and the unwillingness of white America to let go of the one thing that has given them power and kept them in power. This is what is so ugly and disappointing to me. And it is the ugliness that we are not speaking about.

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About the author

Ken Wheeler is a retired pastor. He most recently served at Cross Lutheran Church, an ELCA congregation in Milwaukee, where he is now the director of the Bread of Healing Empowerment Ministry. For 18 years he was as an assistant to the bishop of the Greater Milwaukee Synod of the ELCA.