We are preparing for a 4th of July party this year. Last year, we almost forgot about it but remembered to enjoy root beer floats before it passed us by. This year, we’re having a party for some Americans, with a Canadian thrown in there, too. And the cake is going to be spectacular; but more on that later.
In the midst of quite a lot of reading and research, I am finding that this year I am increasingly grateful for two things:
First, I am so thankful I was born and raised in America. Though many things have been done wrong, many things have been done right, too. My passport is an amazing tool that allows me to be here and be protected. My government has, although not always successfully, actually worked for the good of the people, including me.
Second, I am so thankful that America, or any democracy for that matter, is not it. I am so thankful that flawed humans and flawed systems that try to protect us from the flawed humans are not the end: instead, there is a Kingdom coming that is so much greater. A Kingdom of love is coming. There is a Kingdom coming that presents true equality, something we can’t even wrap our heads around amidst this mess. I am so thankful that there is something to yearn for.
Really, I’m thankful for the country I grew up in as an interim option. I’m more thankful for the Kingdom I’m citizen to that gives far greater promises. And keeps them, for that matter.
And all of this thinking led me back to the oppressed and the oppressor, and how I’m always one of them. As I think over a variety of situations, if I leave feeling successful, it’s because I’m the oppressor, or at least a small part of the oppression. Likewise, the times I feel trapped or frustrated at the situation, it is because I am on the side of the oppressed of a system or individual.
For example: I love shopping and finding a good deal. But when I come home with a steal, someone is losing. Probably the cheap labor on my street here in Thailand, or perhaps the check-out staff that are struggling to get by on minimum wage.
As I think about the times I feel trapped under a heavy hand or taken advantage of, I think of flying home. I don’t have the freedom to fly home when I want, be it for Partners’ policy on time off or finances to pay the plane ticket. But Partners’ policy is written because of those who will take advantage of it, and that includes me. It’s preventing the oppressors and oppressing others in the process. And the expensive plane ticket? That’s the oppression of capitalism, and it gets us every day. Someone is making bank, and some of us can’t afford to keep up.
Or in the market, sometimes I know I’m being taken advantage of. I know I’m being overcharged because it’s assumed that my white skin comes along with money. And I leave oppressed, because someone else is taking advantage of my position.
Ultimately, I suppose we are all trying to come out on top, as the oppressor. But sometimes, we lose. We are oppressed. But when the opportunity comes around again, we try again to force the oppression upon the next person.
And now I’m just amazed at these systems. I’m amazed at capitalism, and how much it controls us: we are spending money every day; we are producing and consuming in a way that intentionally has winners and losers. It requires that one be oppressed and the other one oppressing.
“When we truly discover love, capitalism will not be possible
and Marxism will not be necessary.”
I’m amazed that we establish government to bring some level of control to our chaos, however abusive such control may be. We create systems of democracy that are designed to protect us as humans from ourselves.
“You may think all men so good that they deserve a share in government of the commonwealth, and so wise that the commonwealth needs their advice. That is, in my opinion, the false, romantic doctrine of democracy.
On the other hand, you may believe fallen men to be so wicked that not one of them can be trusted with any irresponsible power over his own fellows. That I believe to be the true ground of democracy.
I do not believe that God created an egalitarian world. I believe the authority of parent over child, husband over wife, learned over simple to have been as much a part of the original plan as the authority of man over beast. I believe that if we had not fallen, Filmer would be right, and patriarchal monarchy would be the sole lawful government. But since we have learned sin, we have found, as Lord Acton says, that ‘all power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.’ The only remedy has been to take away the powers and substitute a legal fiction of equality.
The authority of a father and husband has been rightly abolished on the legal plane, not because this authority is in itself bad (on the contrary, it is, I hold, divine in origin), but because fathers and husbands are bad. Theocracy has been rightly abolished because it is bad that learned priests should govern ignorant laymen, but because priests are wicked men like the rest of us. Even the authority of man over beast has had to be interfered with because it is constantly abused.”
And then I dream of heaven because this isn’t it, by any stretch of the imagination. This isn’t the end, and we weren’t designed for this. I’m aching for something else.
I was dreaming yesterday of a world with no money. No money and no capitalism. And thus, no one coming out on top and no one suffering in oppression.
Or true equality? What if we truly experienced equality of all races, ethnicities, social classes, and backgrounds?
Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people sharing all the world
You, you may say
I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one
I hope some day you’ll join us
And the world will live as one
“Imagine” by John Lennon