Tears We Cannot Stop

Dr. Michael Eric Dyson

“America is in trouble, and a lot of that trouble-perhaps most of it–has to do with race…” reads the first line in the chapter “Call to Worship”. This is the lead in by author, Dr. Michael Eric Dyson in his newest book, Tears We Cannot Stop. “We have, in the span of a few years, elected the nation’s first black president and placed in the Oval Office the scariest racial demagogue in a generation,” writes Dyson. The title of Dr. Dyson’s book, captured my attention and I quickly purchased a copy. As I began to read his book I could not avoid thinking of the tears I have shed that could not be stopped. Recently at a prayer breakfast, I talked about the book and its’ probing title. I informed the audience how my tears flowed after watching certain segments in the movies, Hidden Figures and Fences. I remember the tears that flows sometime when a sermon penetrates the dark recess of my soul, or the loss of a love one. Tears that cannot be stop when depression sets in, or one releases tears of joy. Tears (some flow within and some flows outward) are universal, I reminded the audience. There are no such things as white tears, or black or brown tears, yet the universal unspoken language can break through to all in the human race, clearly communicating pain or pleasure without the use of the spoken word. The Word of God even records the shortist verse in the bible, “Jesus wept” as Jesus, the God Man shed tears over the death of his friend, Lazarus (John 11:35 KJV).

Dr. Dyson book has a sub-title,” A Sermon To White America“, but I contend that his sermon is not only to “White America, but to “Black America” as well. I recommend his book, Tears We Cannot Stop, along with Charles B. Dew’s book, The Making of a Racist. Dew, a white author invites the reader into his home and “his”  up bringing as a son of the Confederate South. Dew gives one an up close and personal view of “white privilege” and how his life was molded by his parents and their relationship to the very blacks that cooked their meals, clean their home and manicured their lawn. Dew also gives an in-depth study on the economic benefits of slavery and the Four Billion Industry before the Civil War. Both Dr. Dyson and Dew talks candidly about “white privilege” and the inherited benefits it accords to White America at the expense of the “other.” in general and blacks  in particular.

America and many other nations are surprised and somewhat alarmed after the first two weeks of President Donald J. Trump in the Oval Office. There exist a fear that social, economic and political changes will be occurring at a fast and furious rate, changes that look akin to ” Un-American activity”. Sure his base is happy and welcome their champion and savior, the right man for the right job and at the right time. President Trump never lied to the American populace. His views and how he plans on governing have been openly broadcast all over the airwaves. He continues to “suck all the air” out of the room as little to no effort is being used to unify a divided country. But the truth of the matter is that America has always been and will most likely continue to be “a house divided” as Dr. Dyson and Mr. Charles B. Dew contend.  “With malice toward none and charity to all” sounds good, but this too is one of America’s greatest illusion.

“I alone can fix it” President Trump asserted during the long election season. He frequently brags on how “smart” he is and what “great companies” he has built. President Trump in many ways sounds like the biblical character named Nebuchadnezzar, the King of Babylon. ”The king spake, and said, Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honor of my majesty?” (Daniel 4:30 KJV) .It maybe that President Trump expects “us” to sing a song in a strange land” if in fact he plans on taking us to Babylon. President Donald J. Trump takes pride in referring to himself as the “Great Negotiator.” But if he reads up on King Nebuchadnezzar, he just might learn about the “Great Mediator.”

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