With the recent soul-disparaging overtaking of Congress by the GOP, liberals have tried to make sense of our current situation. How in the hell did we get to a place where the GOP could just walk in to Congress and set up shop, even AFTER they shut down the government and put thousands of people’s livelihood in peril last year. Some people have tried to explain it by saying those pesky millennials just didn’t show up to vote (add that to the list of things we’re responsible for). Others are pointing the finger at voter suppression. Either way, us Liberals and Progressives are S.O.L. at this point.
After the results were in last week, I heard some say this federal upset is proof that God isn’t pleased with our nation and its leadership that’s why he allowed this to happen. Granted, this same person at one time believed, like many other religious Blacks, Barack Obama was God’s chosen leader for our nation. God, herself, picked Barack Obama to lead this nation into the next era of change and progress…despite the war he’s supported and the various other missions that involved the slaughter of other countries’ leaders.
God picked him.
Outside of the multitude of flaws with that logic it is very interesting that we as Americans, even Black ones, believe that God has a guiding hand in our politics and things not going our way is a reprimand of God. Do we not think the heinous politics of our nation and our government’s blatant disrespect of several different groups of Americans may be an Area that God frowns upon as whole, not just when things don’t go our way? What is it about President Barack Obama, or any other major black politician, that we believe God has his hands on? Do we still think God put him there even if stats show he’s not much different than holders of the office before him?
This connection between God’s Chosen and Barack Obama is something I like to refer to as Barack Obama theology—a belief that because our president looks like us, he’s appointed by God to rule our nation. Don’t get me wrong, this belief is nothing new, white supremacists have believed God was telling them this nation should be led by X and only acknowledge groups Y & Z for decades, centuries even.
The problem with this theology is that it doesn’t promote major change. At the crux of it, believers consent that American government and politics is good. The problem is not the structure of the government; it’s the people who make the decisions in said government that are flawed, but never the system. Seeing America’s current state of running things—with mass incarceration, ambivalence about domestic violence and the ever-strong rape culture raging as hot as ever—as a venue for God to further her will for the nation is dangerous because it manifests itself in complicity in oppression where you feel your only means of making change is voting…and we’ve all seen how that’s turned out for us.
I fully acknowledge that one’s belief regarding where God does and does not exist is completely up to them. I want people to think beyond what we’ve been taught. Maybe God wants us to be okay with the way things are (or nahhhh) or maybe God is calling us to dig deeper and think beyond what we’ve been given. Maybe God wants a revolution that doesn’t just manifest itself in casting a ballot but also in action that doesn’t involve politicians. Just Maybe.