June 17, 2017

This morning, Joy Reid said what many of us were thinking this week:

"After this week's shooting in a GOP congressional baseball practice left Democrats and Republicans calling for unity, rallying around Congressman Steve Scalise, who still remains in the hospital, in critical condition," she said.

"But despite the current kumbaya, the political divisions are still very real and have moral implications. Who better to discuss than Dr. William Barber? If ever I needed a pastor, Reverend, today is the day.

"This idea that Republicans now have, they're saying that we all have to come together. We have to rally together. When you heard them saying that, what did you hear?"

"Well, first of all, we should be in prayer," Barber said.

"We should be unified in our concern for the congressman and the two officers that were wounded. But first, we should also be deeply concerned about the three people who were killed on the same day. Representative ryan said, 'When you attack one of us, you attack all of us. Well, this can't just be a moral ethic that you apply to members of Congress.

"That's why the real question is, will one or two days of changes in personality mean a fundamental change in public policy? That's the moral question.

"I've been thinking about this, Joy. All of those that were injured needed health care. So now will they go back to work and say, every American deserves health care, deserves what we received, and we will preserve the Affordable Care Act and make sure pre-existing conditions are protected?"

(Yes! That's something may of us have said.)

"Since they could have died, will they repent of efforts to take money from Medicaid that will help poor people and disabled, many of whom have died without that? A black man from my alma mater saved their lives," he said.

"Will they go back to work and restore the Voting Rights Act and stop systemic racism against black people? A lesbian black woman saved them. Will they go back to work and no longer promote laws that attack the human rights of LBGTQ communities?

"They were shot by guns allowed to be carried openly. Will they go back and challenge laws that allow people to get guns easily so they can get votes? They were shot by a white middle-aged man for political reasons. will they change the practice of profiling terrorism as a fear of Muslims and violence that's mainly rooted in the urban black area.

"Tone is fine, but if the policies are terrible, we don't have civility," he warned.

"They were saved by good police, so will they therefore challenge bad police like the guy in the (Philando) Castile case?

"These are the serious moral questions that have to be answered more than just one or two days of shaking hands and playing a game. because this is really not a game.

"It's a delicate thing, because everybody is wishing the congressman well and hoping that he recovers, but Steve Scalise has a history that we've all been forced to sort of ignore on race," Reid pointed out.

She reminded viewers Scalise came to leadership after a controversy over attending a white nationalist event, his co-sponsorship not just of a bill for a constitutional amendment limiting marriage to that between men and women, but also a repeal of the ban on semiautomatic weapons.

"Because he is in jeopardy and everybody is pulling for him, are we required in a moral sense to put that aside in the moment? " she asked.

"What we're required to say is, we hope he recovers and when he recovers, he's got a new mind-set. If a lesbian person saved your life, you should not go forward being homophobic. You shouldn't be, anyway.

"If you almost died, but your life was saved because you got health care, you should apply that ethic and want everybody else to have the same health care you have. The Bible, one of the guys that prayed, (Rep. Mark) Walker from North Carolina, he was saying how he prayed for everybody.

"The Bible says in Isaiah 10, woe to those that legislate evil and rob the poor of their rights and make women and children their prey.

"The Bible says, wherever you just put on a face in a time of crisis, but continue to do the same thing, it's called making graves look good that are still full of dead men's bones.

"In other words, it's hypocrisy. If congresspeople pray for one another, and they should P-R-A-Y, but then if they pass policies that prey, P-R-E-Y, on the poor and the minorities and the sick, then we have a serious moral problem.

"And even our Constitution, the way you can get to domestic tranquility, the only way you can get to civility, is you must start with the establishment of justice. You must provide for the common good and you must provide the general welfare. Changing the tone of words is not enough.

"You have to have a change in the trajectory of policy. prayer is not enough. Faith must have works. So I'm praying that the brother gives up and lives and then comes back and says, 'This experience has changed my thinking fundamentally, not just about myself, but about the policies I support.'

"And lastly, Joy, they talked about raising $1 million for charity. That is good. But if you turn around and take $600 billion from the poor and the least of these, and you don't pay a vote to give people a living wage, personal privatized charity is not going to solve our social problems when it comes to the poor and the uplifting of the least of these."

They continued to a discussion of the hopelessness many of us feel this morning after the verdict in the Philando Castile murder.

"What would you say in response to the sort of feeling of few tilt and hopelessness that I think a lot of us feel, a lot of people feel, when you have an instance of police-involved violence, that there's really actually no hope of justice for the family. What do you say to people that feel that way?" Reid said.

The reverend said in moments of despair, he read and studied people who faced other seemingly hopeless moments.

"Now, I wish that the moral universe argument bent quicker and I wish we didn't have to have the suffering. but what we can't do is ever give up," he said.

"On our own humanity. On our own standing for what's right, even if right does not come fast, quick, and in a hurry. And there is a legacy of doing that.

"You know, I remember, Joy, when I was reading the other day, I went to the store the other day, and (civil rights martyr James) Cheney's nephew worked on my cell phone. And we were talking about that.

"When they were killed, the young people didn't come out of Mississippi. They went to Mississippi. And so I believe we're going to need continued seasons of non-violent resistance.

"Don't quit, don't give up, continue to stand, because we must honor the lives of those that have been slain violently by bad police for standing up for what's right."


Don't give up. Every single moral action has a ripple effect.

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