Ichabod's Kin
A place for politics, pop culture, and social issues


          Hello, Valentines. Each February, storefronts are sick with every color of red and within are the obligatory flaming crimson cards and all the candy that’s bad for us. It’s also Black History month and, aye, there’s the rub.

          Love for people on the basis of their common humanity takes a back seat to the romantic kind. We don’t like people generally. At Christmas the prophet Isaiah is invoked for his vision of universal peace, something impossible without a sense that we are all in this together. Isaiah was Hebrew so it’s curious that he’s our poster boy for peace when he and his people are victims of the oldest hatred in the world. 

          Then there is our lack of love in the systemization of police brutality that led to Tyre Nichols beaten to death by five cops of his own race in the selfsame city where Martin Luther King, Jr. died over half a century ago fighting for the rights and equality of black people.

          In another life I was clergy in the American South. I had the naïve notion that if people merely heard the truth they would change. Silly me. I was rather popular till I found some parishioners were ex-KKK and proceeded to enlighten them. Their least favorite was my pulpit remark that some people would never accept blacks until they turned white.

          Then I invited a black minister to exchange pulpits, at which there were threats to torch the church and the kindly old deacons who had first approved the exchange reversed course for fear of losing that historic structure. I ventured to say that if such occurred we could wear it like a badge of honor and when anyone said there was no racism in those parts, we need only point to the ashes of the church.

          It was one that prided itself on freedom of the pulpit so the next Sunday I resigned saying that they were denying the preaching and presence of someone whose religion was closer to theirs than mine was. They urged me not to leave, just to stop the nonsense about civil rights—for me, a non-starter and in two weeks I was gone. But I would have thought that by 2023 we of all colors would have kissed, made up and got along.

          Then came the corollary to our dislike of Jews and Blacks, which is, “We Don’t Like Gays Either” when I served a church up north that didn’t like such persons. So my foot was in it again and the faithful fled my pronouncements. Call it out of the frying pan and into the fire. It didn’t help that I opposed the Vietnam war either, so I was off to a great start in my chosen profession.

          In time one could be disliked for a lot less than that, at which point I realized that many folks didn’t have enough to worry about but the wrong things. Sure enough along came the iconic heated town hall meetings around the U.S., the ultimate politicizing of any and everything, the blatant hypocrisy of American religion, and here we are. Hence it’s hard to be a big fan of those who say one thing and do the opposite.

          I know that all too soon this planet will be unfit for habitation, human or otherwise, and we’ll live in cities in the sky while plotting how to get to, and ruin, other planets—the way we grabbed territory here, forcing its natives to be the first to defend the homeland.

          An old B.C. cartoon depicted an ant orating atop a pillar before an immense number of other ants. When he predicted that humanity would destroy itself by war and hatred, and that ants would come to rule the world, a voice came from the crowd: “Red or Black?” Copy that.

          We’re not lovers. We’re haters. Our beliefs are not what we are, they’re what we think we want to be. If it’s Valentine’s Day, what’s love got to do with it? And if I’m wrong, prove it.

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