A Hill to Die On

Tonight Anna and I got out for our date night interrupted by COVID-19 — which gives me another reason to dislike this particular virus. So we went out to our favorite place for our favorite food. As it happens today was their first day back in business. Liberty BBQ has awesome brisket, sausage, and sides that are good for me. So Anna wins because she loves BBQ, and I get to eat more than meat.

It was during that meal I shared with her my sense this time in America could be a tipping point in combating the scourge of racism which has hurt us all. Some would argue differently, but I know that when we allow people to be treated with less value than the value we hold for ourselves and our family, it diminishes us all. So, I told her about something I was thinking about as I was headed to the office for an appointment. On the way, I saw an auto with “Black Lives Matter” on the back glass. And then it hit me. My response should be “Black Lives Matter To Me Too.”

Routinely, across this nation we have struggled with immigrants, (which has some irony in that everyone but Native Americans are immigrants)but on the whole over a period of time, many are assimilated into the “value stream” of America. There are always haters, always bigots, always people who believe elevating another ethnic group or race to equality somehow diminishes them, but such thinking is not grounded in reality. African Americans are different in that most or nearly all who ended up in America did not want to come. They were kidnapped brought to America against their will, sold at auctions like some livestock or commodity, and then worked the rest of their lives with their value determined by their “owner” in the category of property. Those core differences are what makes the African American experience so fundamentally different than most every other ethnic group with perhaps the exception of Native Americans who were hated, slaughtered, ultimately confined to reservations with all their lands stripped from them. We still have a distance to go with Native Americans.

So I told Anna I wanted to put up a sign in our front yard that simply stated, “Black Lives Matter to Me Too.” She suggested I talk with the oldest son before I do that. As a law enforcement officer, I have ridden with him when he was on patrol as he arrested folks put them in the back in hand cuffs, and then talked to them about Christ. I know the kind of officer he is. I know the kind of man he is. I also know how easy it is to struggle when you see other law enforcement personnel treated badly, thrown at, shot at, and generally disrespected. We both know there are some which should not be in any place of power or influence, but I also know how deeply I respect those who choose to serve their communities in times like these. I support them, I pray for them, and I want each man or woman in law enforcement to go home after their shift with all their fingers and toes.

However, if we stop kicking the can of “judgment day or reckoning day” down the streets of time, it will take the visual support of a lot of white people. We don’t have to support those who under the cover of marches loot and destroy, but such reckless behavior must not dissuade us for vocally standing up for what is right. I confess I am not much of a marcher or demonstrator, but there have been several tipping point moments for me. In Livingston, the national atmosphere was becoming too toxic toward immigrants and I purchased a sign online that read, “Where ever you are from, I am glad you are here.” It stayed in the front yard until it fell apart. It was a small step but an important statement I felt very deeply about. Several years ago, I was reading a devotional book and there was one line that captured my heart, my mind, and went down into my soul. “You don’t have to die on every hill, but you need to pick one.” That I am still alive does not convey my efforts to make a difference in my world wherever I was. There were several hills I shed some blood on, but lived another day. This issue, this cause may be a hill I am willing to die on. One person can only do so much, but he can do something. But one person standing with other passionate people can change a nation, redeem an ongoing national sin, elevate a people into the equality they always deserved but were not given. That will truly make America Great.

Wash you hands, mind the gap, and be kind.

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Licensed Professional Counselor since 2002 Former Mental Health Manager for Allan B Polunsky, Maximum Security Prison which housed Texas Death Row, FormerPastor

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Michael Chancellor

Licensed Professional Counselor since 2002 Former Mental Health Manager for Allan B Polunsky, Maximum Security Prison which housed Texas Death Row, FormerPastor