Rev. Daughtry's weekly article that appears in the NY Daily Challenge every Wednesday and Friday.
Jackie, Imus and Rappers - Part IV
Why Virginia Tech?
Sunday, April 22, 2007, I along with others answered the call of State Senator, Eric Adams, to show support for Virginia Tech victims with a 6:00 p.m. candlelight vigil. The vigil was held at the Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn. It was a small crowd but significantly diverse.
There were Christian and Jewish clergy. There were Asians, Euro-ethnics, people of African Ancestry, the young and the aged, evenly divided gender, elected officials, they were all present at the entrance to Prospect Park. Candles were distributed but the strong wind refused to allow the light to remain. Clergy and elected officials made statements, with a closing prayer by Rev. Joe E. Parker, pastor Wayside Baptist Church.
In my remarks, I reflected on why Virginia Tech. There are two considerations, which help us to understand the cause.
The oneness of the human family. We are all living in the same house we call the earth. Thus, there is no isolated act. What is done in the farthest part of the world will have impact thousand of miles away. Modern scientific discoveries, which increase daily, have brought this home to us with sometimes devastating consequences. Long before there were nuclear bombs, rockets, jet planes, etc. John Donne reminded us in his poem, “No Man Is an Island,” “No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as any manner of thy friends or of thine own were; any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind. And therefore, never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”
My second consideration takes on a theological or moral dimension. We get back what we send out. In some places it is call karma. The Bible says, “Be not deceived, God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth that shall he also reap.” I believe this is true for individual as well as nations. I believe it is true to generations yet unborn. A person or family or nation, which brings unjustified death and pain to the human family and destruction to the earth may escape retribution in their day, but their children will reap the consequences. The Bible says, “The Lord is longsuffering, and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression, and by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation” or a shorter version “The fathers have eaten sour grapes and the children teeth are set on edge.”
With these two considerations before us, we ask what kind of society has been bequeathed to us or we have created? Inarguably, a prominent aspect of American is violence. It is everywhere. It bombards us in all kinds of shapes, sounds and sight. It leaps at us from the television, movies, literature, physical assaults and verbal exchanges. And we loved to have it so. A form of violence, we suddenly became aware of, was the verbal violence of Imus. But he and the rappers and others have been wreaking violence upon people for years. We laughed and applauded them and danced to their music.
We love violence! We praise it! We glorify it! And we embrace it! We do this sometimes publicly, most of the time, privately. For movies and products to sell, there must be violence and sex. Even sex in America is wrapped in violence. We choose heroes who are violent. At the Governmental level, America surely must be at the top of the list of violent nations. Dr. King said during the Vietnam War, “My country is the greatest purveyor of violence in the world.”
The present administration has launched a war in which countless people have been killed, maimed and inestimable destruction to land and property, all based on inaccurate information, whether honest mistake or deliberate misrepresentation, the end result remains the same. Is there anybody who believes that this act of war, which has produced incalculable suffering, will go unpunished?
Violence saturates our families, our schools, our neighborhoods, our work places and of course our jails. The police have been unnecessarily violent in inner cities across America. We have taught our children the love of violence by our actions and/or non-actions. We have influenced the behavior of our children by the music we create and the violent games they play and watch on television and videos, etc. From infancy we start our children watching cartoons. There are two destructive lessons cartoons teach. Ascribing to animals human attributes and actions, and violence. Cartoon animals talk and act human and engage in the most vicious kind of violent acts. So our children learn early, we are liars and deceivers and violence is acceptable. I often wondered who came up with the idea that talking dogs and cats in cartoons are healthy for children to watch. So-called minorities in the USA, especially people of African ancestry, have been subjected to violence to the extent that it seems inherent in the American way of life.
Even in sports, it is the acts of violence we like to watch. In boxing contest, it is the slug fest that we love to see. If there is no blood, we boo. Wrestling matches are little more that phony acts of staged violence. In hockey there must be a good fistfight or two. In football, the replays, highlights the violent contact. There is a program on television called “Jacked Up.” It shows the most violent plays during the game. When the violent contact is made, where one of the players is pulverized, the announcer screams with glee, “He is jacked-up.”
One of the most powerful lobbies in America is the gun lobby. Even if one considers their most beloved exercise – they call it a sport – killing animals, it is still violent. The destruction of life, albeit animal life, for no other reason than pleasure, is violence of unspeakable cruelty. I forgot who raised the question, but is worth pondering, “How can we be sensitive to living creatures when our stomachs are the graveyards of countless dead animals?”
When we reflect on the kind of society America has been and is, and the moral law of the universe, we see why there is a Virginia Tech. There will be other Virginia Techs, maybe not as extensive or dramatic, but nonetheless, equal in kind. It has happened and will happen because we love violence and destruction and because we have taught our society, especially the young, the way you resolve conflict, personal, interpersonal, socially, is through violence. The way to get attention – violence. The way to become a hero or heroine – violence. The way to get what you want – violence. If you get away with it, the society won’t care how you got it; you will be praised and be given special seat and recognition at important functions.
Until we fall out of love with violence, start vigorously opposing violence, in all of its manifestation, we can anticipate more violence.
To be continued
Save the date Dar-fur Benefit
May 5, 2007 – 6 p.m. (film showing and update on Dar-Fur); 7-10 p.m.
At Medgar Evers College
Randy Weston, Lilias White, and others
Saturday, May 12 from 4-7 p.m.
Musical Tribute to the deceased son of
Featuring Randy Weston and othersSunday, May 20, 2007, 5-8 p.m.
An Evening with the famous Jazz musical
Jimmy HeathOrganizing Meeting on Dar-fur
Each Thursday: noon to 2:00 p.m.
At The House of the Lord Church, 415 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn, NY