Our dog Suki is psychotic. At least when it comes to me. She constantly growls at me not in a I am going to bite you way but in a your presence gets on my nerves way. I do not fear the dog she is small compared to me and her teeth are unhealthy. She also feels a need to avoid me at all cost. She scampers away whenever I am near. She will not even go out the back door if I am sitting between her and the door. She will even do this when her prime motivators of food and I gotta pee are at stake. I have fed her special snacks, discipline her when she has growled at me, spent long times petting her as she trembled under my strokes until she stopped. But she still does not like me and growls away. I have learned to live with it. She is a pound dog and I do not know what has come before.
I have a rocking chair. It was my favorite Father’s Day gift ever. It is ergonomically perfect for me spiritually and physically. I sit in it and I feel better. It is the only thing that I own that makes me feel this way. Of course, in the narrative of this story Suki chews the wood on the chair permanently scarring it. When my wife told me this I was sadden and angry. After sitting in another chair assessing the damage I got up quietly and walked away to catch myself. Suki was in the room where I usually sit and she panicked when she saw me and started her frantic bouncing and pacing from the other side of the dining room table from end to end anxiously waiting what am I going to do. Sometimes she will growl to let me know she is not pleased. I usually ignore it. But today the psychotic dog was doing her psychotic thing and I lost it I threw a book at her and hit her. Not a big book, definitely not an expensive book. I am a bibliophile after all. For a period of about an hour I raged at her not to scare her but to make my wife know I was not pleased at her dog.
My friends always expect more from me than I can give them. Sometimes I do not take charge in that manly way which would make my life and theirs easier. I am too much about consensus to do this. Sometimes I do not believe in a philosophical ideal or social practice as they so want me to do. Sometimes I am not good enough to pull off the things they expect me to do professionally or spiritually. Sometimes I let the other side win because the fight does not seem worth it to me. Climb your ladders control your little fiefdom it is such a small matter to me. And for the most part this I have learned to accept will be the eventual end of their expectations and sometimes the closeness of our friendship. But there our times when I am by myself I will weep and tears will fall deep in my soul that I was not good enough to make the things I knew to be the right come into being. I am no Mother Theresa or Martin Luther King Jr. That is not an excuse it just is.
The night after Suki chewed my rocking chair I had a dream. I process a lot in my dreams so I try to be aware of them. In the dream I am playing football and we are playing a team of Nazis in a holocaust camp. I want to beat them so bad. I take the ball (of course I am the quarterback) and get the defense to come to me and I toss the ball at the last minute. The awaiting teammate has the field clear for them. It is the perfect option play. The runner is free I chase after them to block anyone that might tackle them. I am pull my hamstring but I push ahead to ensure a touchdown. The runner starts calling out to the crowd for friends who are always there cheering them on. But today they are not around. I am shouting for them to not be distracted but to keep running and score the touchdown. This is all happening in slow motion replay in my dream. The runner suddenly without warning runs out of bounds to his friend’s house to check on them. I am angry at him and chase him into the courtyard where he has finally found his friends. His friends welcome him even though he has obviously interrupted a ceremony. The ceremony is the unveiling of a statue of a mutual friend of all of us who has died while doing the right thing. I wake up.
I am a religious anarchist. Religion is only good when it offers improvement of the lot of humanity and myself. If we put most of religion on a scale of justice it would fail this assessment; especially Western Christianity. Those churches who are neutral in the damage they are doing or harmful should die out and leave humanity alone. Jesus spewed out of his mouth the lukewarm church of Laodecia and judges harshly the church of Ephesus for losing its first love in the book of Revelation. I believe you must live your convictions, even when they hurt or make no sense to anyone else as long as they are not harmful. If you do not live your convictions you are not living at all.
I owe Suki an apology, she was disciplined and that should have been enough. I owe my wife an apology by wanting her to feel the pain her dog had caused me, And I owe my daughter an apology for setting an example of how not to be in this world. I have to plan out these apologies because I am no Mother Theresa. My faith must make me act and be useful to me and humanity or it should die.
A recent Supreme Court decision in which the conservative judges decided in favor of religious groups who want to continue to meet in groups over ten or more despite Covid 19 restrictions is dangerous. The decision said this right is protected under the religious freedom article of the constitution. Regretfully, this shows the dumbing down of the Supreme Court.
Anyone should understand that just as freedom of speech, another right protected under the Constitution, is limited so is religious freedom limited. Oliver Wendell Holmes said in one of his momentous decisions about freedom of speech ‘you do not have the right to yell fire in a crowded theater’ there are also various limitations on religious freedom. The court would decide later in a more defining ruling that speech cannot create a ‘clear and present danger’. This phrase is used to define between an innocuous inflammatory speech and a seditious or inciting to violence speech.
The limitations that the Justices overruled in the religious freedom case center around the health and endangerment of the congregants and their communities. It is illegal in most states to have snake handling services because of the threat of harm to the participants. It should be noted is applicable even when the congregant is agreeable to the service.
The court decided against whether religious faith could be used by parents to deny their children various treatment. They used the standard based on the severity of the medical problem, the likelihood of success of the proposed treatment and the limited potential harm of the treatment. It was “well-settled that the state may order medical treatment for a nonlife threatening condition, notwithstanding the objection of the parents on religious grounds, if the treatment will, in all likelihood, temporarily or permanently solve a substantial medical problem” The court recognized that the state could not order treatment over religious objection of the parents if the treatment was “risky, extremely invasive, toxic with many side effects, and/or offers a low chance of success”.
This is the consistent ruling by state and federal courts in favor of the state over the religious practitioners when a child is endangered and can receive medical assistance that has a strong chance of mitigating the child’s health in a beneficial manner.
Cults that involve the sexual or physical abuse of their children or parents can and are prosecuted. Even when the practices are religious. Religious groups are not able to practice polygamy in all but one state and the stated purpose for allowing polygamy in that state is to remove a barrier in the reporting of abuse in polygamous relationships.
Again and again in various cases we find that religious freedom is restricted when it endangers the congregants. So what does it mean when the conservative justices decide that despite prevailing medical opinion that religious groups (or any group for that matter) of ten or more is medically dangerous.
The recent decision from the Court says that religious groups are allowed to endanger their congregants as long as they fly their religious freedom flag. Even if one is willing to accept the harm they can potentially do to themselves; what about the people who are not in their religious community. They too can be infected because the congregants are allowed to meet in potential super spreader groups. While your group may find it funny to yell fire in a crowded theater it is not allowed because of the harm of a stampede it might create thus creating a clear and present danger to the persons in the theater.
The meeting of religious groups of ten or more (usually not masked) fits the definition of a clear and present danger to not only the congregants and those they may interact with later. The only way that you can deny this is to reject the science involved in these prohibitions. Our conservative judges seem quite willing to do this. Sotomeyer implies this is the conservative judges unintended consequence in her dissenting remarks.
But to me the clincher is religious practice does not have to involve meeting in large groups. It might be a preferred practice but no self-respecting theologian or religious practitioner believes that it is necessary to meet in person for groups to practice their religious belief. I believe Jesus said 'where two or three gather I am there'. Many churches are proving this by the creativity they are exhibiting in zooming and you tubing their church services. Meeting in a group is a desirous but not necessary practice. So to limit this particular practice during a deadly pandemic is not to end religious freedom but to put a temporary hold on a religious practice that is a health threat to the members of a congregation and to the general public.
Slippery slope is not an argument, denial of science is not an acceptable argument, whining about the inconvenience of a pandemic is not an argument, saving lives and not allowing harm is the argument. You would think religious groups would prioritize this over a temporary halt of a religious practice. It is curious to me that conservative churches have allowed politics to enter the doors of their church even if it leads to the harming of their members.
The conservative justices in their decision have not only gone down a slippery path but have also opened the door for many other harmful practices. These practices will all be cloaked under the guise of religious freedom. Be forewarned the legal prohibitions against conversion therapy of gays by religious groups is being challenged in courts and is making its way up to the Supreme Court. Unless the court decides to return to deciding in favor of religious freedom being prohibited if there is harm to its congregants; we are opening a Pandora’s box of anything goes in Churches.
I hate when people begin to celebrate the Christmas holidays before Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday unto itself. In some ways it is more Christian than Christmas. Thanksgiving is a time when we gather to have good food and breathe an air of appreciation of all the people in your life. You celebrate all the accomplishments of the last year. You even celebrate that you were given one more year to enjoy this world. It does not need to be impeded with the glitz of Christmas. Which is a total other kind of holiday. Christmas in part is when we like to show our love through giving or regifting. And we want to be there to see their reaction or fake reaction as may be the case. We want to experience our reward of giving a thoughtful gift instead of like Thanksgiving when the focus is to celebrate being together (and yes we want to gorge on the food also).
This year Thanksgiving is coming in the year of the Covid-19. If we are wise are celebrations will be smaller. Sometimes giving thanks is by showing what you are willing to give up for others. This kind of thanks is not the easiest to do. We can be selfish about how we want to celebrate our holidays. We can be selfish with who we want to celebrate. To have to disrupt our traditions and gatherings is hard. But there is a cliché’ that fits here ‘If you love something set it free if it returns it was and always will be yours if it does not then it was never yours to begin with ,’ Maybe for this one year we may have to give Thanksgiving as we have known it away. The problem is we are not a letting go people. We hold onto junk, grudges, leftovers forever.
So when conservatives decide that they will move up their War on Christmas to include a War on Thanksgiving it pisses me off. Conservatives ever sensitive to science and their imaginary conspiracies have decided that the liberal cabal is trying to take away Thanksgiving. We cannot have large groups in small spaces unmasked gathering from all sorts of different places they hear. That is all they apparently needed to set them off fighting a War on Thanksgiving.
They will now defiantly gather from all over unmasked in their homes to show how loyal they are to Thanksgiving but not necessarily to the people they will celebrate. The people will take a back seat to their new-found war. Instead of thankfulness being the center defiance will be the order of the day. Now of course not everyone who chooses to gather will become infected with Covid-19. This will of course in their minds justify their actions.
Thanksgiving is being robbed as a holiday as a time to rejoice in the good things of life such as friends, family, health, and other blessings. Thanksgiving is if the conservative right has their way to be a weaponize political tool to promote their philosophy. We have the right as individuals to do what we want. I thought Thanksgiving was about celebrating our togetherness not ourselves. I mean the idealistic first Thanksgiving was Native Americans and the Pilgrims who had many differences coming together to hopefully creating a union of friendship (of course we know what eventually happened to the Native Americans). They did the same thing to Christmas. You must declare Merry Christmas and not Happy Holidays because we rule you drool.
My optimistic side says oh the war will be over after the vaccines come and we can all celebrate without guilt any way we want to. But my realistic side knows America likes perpetual wars so this war will not be going anywhere soon. So what are we to do? Be thankful in whatever way we want. Life is good and my friends and family probably could use a break from me. And maybe next Thanksgiving we will be surprised at how many people will return.
Some white Americans did a good thing. They turned away from a xenophobic and racist president like none we have seen in our modern politics. Now that our country has defeated this horror with the force of minorities and the left wing of the democratic party, White America is wanting to reclaim their importance and power in the struggles of this great nation. Although, I have great hopes for Joe Biden’s presidency let us be clear we have elected a 78 year-old white male career politician and want to be congratulated on our wokeness?
Joe Scarborough and many others are saying these groups who saved white America from itself must now look to seek compromise with white America. While I of course agree, the need to compromise is inevitable. But we live in the reality of the Art of the Deal. I contend we have never been in an era of compromise in America but always in the art of the deal. A transactional deal in which white Americans wield the power and give only as much power away as they can get away with. The proposition we offer other groups is always predicated with what they will take and what we feel comfortable giving in return. Our goal is to keep as much of our fortune as we can and to grow that fortune even more. Our concessions are always about being sure to create deeper pockets for ourselves.
But things are different; white America needs to realize the compromises to be made are not for the minorities and left to move toward whites; but the white population must move toward the minorities and left. For the first time in our lives the ‘minorities’ (a term that will soon be obsolete) with a little help from their friends have assumed control.
Those asserting otherwise are attempting to usurp the newly found power of our minority brothers and sisters, reclaim their ascendancy, and reestablish an order that works in their favor. Yes, the voice of white America must be heard but they do not set the table of compromise, they join it! White America has acted as the host, inviter, table-setter, conversation starter, and convener in the American dream but now they need to sit at the table (hopefully round) and take their place but not set the menu. This will be hard because in America the conversation has always centered around what the white community will allow and not necessarily what the minorities want or need.
It is a hard time to be white in America. White privilege and power are disappearing. This election clearly shows that. Yes the white population will continue to have inordinate amount of both privilege and power in financial institutions, legal houses, and personal wealth but the election shows that America is becoming an inclusive land if not by choice but by the force of the electorate.
Jesus once said, “What does it profit one if they gain the whole world but lose their soul.” I would add to that my own words ‘we can gain a world if we listen and assume our place’. The decision is ours.
Well I decided to croak. Actually, the decision was made by people with a higher pay grade than mine. I have noticed when a decision to appoint death to someone it is made arbitrarily. I don’t think management had a grudge to settle with me or I made some catastrophic mistake that led to my demise. The narrative began ‘his time is up’ and developed from there.
Of course, I would have preferred an extension on life, but narratives are hard to change. Lord knows I used my considerable abilities to argue my case, but my Superior claimed they had mysterious ways I could not possibly understand. We all know this is the logical fallacy of ‘secret knowledge’ but I noticed my Superior gets away with it anyway.
Let it be understood when I say I decided to croak it does not mean I give in. it only means if it is time I will leave my office and make room for someone else to claim their space in the continuum. This thing called ‘it is your time' is quite the euphemism. What does it mean? A death is timely or untimely based on whose watch, what time zone, which calendar (Chinese?). Time is somewhat of a construct. What if I deconstruct time do I get to live longer? If I travel to the other side of the world do I get an extra day? I am confused.
There is also this concept that I accomplished what I came to this world to do. How do I know this? I mean I have a few more accomplishments I would like to achieve. If I can prove I can accomplish a few more significant things again do I get to live longer?
Now I hear you can bargain with My Superior for an extended time frame as in 'If you let me live I will do something I am not currently doing'. I have a few problems with this. The first is does not past performance indicate future performance. At least I hear this implied by all the investment firms. Secondly, Boss you have all the cards and the power differential in these bargains is clearly in your favor. Any agreement we make I could challenge in the court of life as being coerced from me by you and I do not have to perform my side of the argument. Besides threatening with death seems so unseemly and gangster like. Could you please show me a little love. I mean that is your brand according to many. And if we come to this bargain how do I know you want do a bait and switch. You will not die of cancer today, but you will be hit by a bus tomorrow.
The promise that the next life will be better is another unsettling thought. First the only people making this claim are people who have not been to the next life. And how do they know I will think it is a better place. Streets of gold do not really appeal to me. Worshipping his Highness forever also lacks an appeal. Assimilating into one big soul seems to be what I have always avoided in this life. I have fought hard against participating in the herd mentality. Furthermore, coming back as someone else or something else is not appealing; I like who I am.
Of course, I do not want to be a whiny ass or snowflake about death but there does seem to be a certain amount of differences in the ‘qualities’ of death. Some go out in excruciating pain or a humiliating crapping in one’s pants while their love ones or a worker clean up after them: others gasp for breath one last time as they are surrounded by their families. Not only is there this death thing you have to deal with, there is also this random selection of who gets a ‘good’ death.
You have the concept of a death served a purpose. If this is so it means that a lot of deaths serve no purpose at all. This seems totally unfair. I think we all should demand a purposeful death. I am sorry Boss I am not going to do that chore unless you can assure me it serves a purpose. Otherwise find someone else for the job.
Finally, I want to say the whole system is rigged. Children are born into poverty and suffer early deaths because of disease and malnutrition. Some experience death because their medical coverage is not as good as the next person. Some people will do everything wrong as far as extending their lives (smoking, drinking etc.,) but have extended lives anyway. The wealthy no matter how mean, narcissistic and harm they do to the planet and others statistical live longer. This seems to be totally backwards. Now this is only my opinion mind you, but I think I could find plenty of people to agree with me. Unless of course there is a penalty of death for agreeing with me.
Now, I may seem I want everything an extension of life with accomplishments to follow that extension, a good painless death, and a death that has purpose; well the truth is I plead guilty as charged. And that is what I mean when I say I decided to croak. I know the penalty of sin is death. I guess it does not matter that I have always opposed the death penalty?
*I disavow any claims of my health that you may think you may garner from this essay. It has not yet been decided what are my physical health issues or for that matter my mental health issues are :) .
Marianne Williamson is currently being ridiculed. I believe we ridicule her at our own peril. I am not a Marianne Williamson fan but her words that this election is more than about who has the right plans but more about the dark side of America that has taken over the country is important.
We are no longer dealing with dark forces where the Mantra Love your neighbor as yourself is scoffed at publicly at our borders. The new mantra of fear your neighbor and everyone else is our new theology.
We are a nation in search of a new god. The god of Jesus is dead. Jesus’ teachings no longer effect the actions of our people. Those who talk about winning at any cost have nailed the coffin shut on the poor man who died on a wooden cross. What a loser. So sad.
The bring you the tired and poor mantra is being replaced by ‘we want only the well-heeled, educated, and wealthy’. The sage advice that a billionaire could never understand and be for the poor is replaced by if they have a gold-plated toilet and charities that are not used for charity celebrate their rise to great fortune. And when we are through praising their wealth and celebrity they give them your trust with your welfare.
In the bible the story for those who read it still it says Lamech’s boast ‘I have killed a man for wounding me; And a boy for striking me; If Cain is avenged sevenfold, Then Lamech seventy-sevenfold. Two chapters later the story told in the Bible is of god flooding the earth because it has become so wicked. We now have a president who prides himself not in defending himself but decimating his opponent on his twitter account and uses the government to exact revenge on those who oppose him or who would accuse them. Maybe this explains the reign of gun massacres our nation is facing.
We are in the battle not to see if America will live up to its stated values but we are in a battle to not have those values changed. Suddenly the new evangelical right has me defending the cherished old values of Christianity. I am the conservative and they are the radicals challenging the old ways by their forsaking of values they deem stale and not practical.
Jesus through his story of the good Samaritan and his clear words “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. 35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.’ Are lost in the fear, power preserving, white majority in our country. These words of the dead Jesus who is nailed in a coffin by the Christians are replaced by the words we need people who think like us in our country or we will lose our identity as a country.
But this is nothing new. Christians in the South argued vehemently God ordained slavery and Jim Crow. Christians argue it was our given right to spread from sea to shining sea and all over the world because we are God’s country. The same variety of Christianity argues today that women are essentially not equal, that gays are an abomination, that white and might are right.
In a country who are currently rejecting their core values for a xenophobic and racist new philosophy it is refreshing to hear a call back to our spiritual selves. Because that will be the only way we return to assisting ‘the least of these’ and ‘bring the children to me’ values we held once upon a time.
The irony of it all. The bully- in-chief accuses someone of being a bully as he takes the bully pulpit via twitter against him. But he cannot leave it alone. Baltimore’s Rep. Elijah Cummings is the victim of his latest rantings but he includes the whole city of Baltimore that happens to be predominately black in the rant too. He said that Baltimore was a rodent infested horrible city that no human being would choose to live in. This is reminiscent of when he called countries of color ‘shithole’ places.
It is sad we have elevated someone of no character to be our president. He believes in an eye for an eye and then some more if you attack hm. He is comfortable lying. As shown by the multiple incidents of contractors who work on his buildings and reneges on paying them, he enters in compacts with no intentions of honoring them. All in the cause of him winning and making a buck.
He writes these things of Baltimore when his son is known as one of the slumlords of Baltimore and he and his father had a notoriously bad housing project on the edge of Baltimore. He writes this even though he once wrote that the then President Obama was responsible for the problems in Baltimore by his own inaction. Of course, he holds no responsibility when he is president. He even had to pay a huge fine to the federal government for his own discriminatory practices when he was starting in the real estate business. Trump’s own prize ritzy Mar a Largo has had over 17 health code violations in a year.
Trump is a bit of a lost cause when it comes to developing a deep soul. But what he has exposed is that many in America have the same issue. Why would you ever vote for a person who without apology or excuse acts and holds white supremacist views unless you hold them too. At first you may have not known the full extent of his ‘issue’, but he has left no doubt on who he is now. His followers are now complicit in his tweets and actions if they continue to support him.
American evangelicals, white women, and white men and bible belt residents are now in moral decline. They lost their soul in their search to gain the world. Of course, this has always been true for a certain groups who supported slavery, Jim Crow, sexist, homophobic politicians in the past and present. They are no different no matter how many times they yell I am not a racist, they are the racists. And thank God they are not even close to a majority no matter how many times they say it. Their leader once said', "But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it". It is not about having the most it is about how you live your life.
It is hard to believe that in President Trump’s efforts to secure our southern border he has increased the migration of immigration to our country. What does he do? He doubles down on his get cruel to immigrant policies to frighten away immigrants. This is the proverbial trying the same thing over and over again hoping for different results. There are many problems with this approach. First it will take at least a decade to make people fear us and forget the image and words of the Statue of Liberty. This will of course also change the way Americans was of thinking or our country. I am not sure it is an image that will help us in our interactions with the rest of the world. Secondly, it appears to make some immigrants rush to the border before it closes. Thus, we have created a mass of people that we have never seen before trying to cross into our country. Thirdly, it does nothing to address prevention of people coming to our borders in the first place. They come because things have gotten so bad in their own countries as far as the economics, crime and government goes it is deemed much better to try to get into our country where things at least on the surface seems so much better.
As if these things are not bad enough there is probably a greater problem being created by the immigrant camps. We have had no problem with terrorism from our southern neighbors. But unless we change this; we are creating an environment that creates terrorism. Think about it for a moment. We are taking children away from their parents. We appear unable to reunite some of these children with their parents. We are creating children who will grow-up with no parents. The resentment that will be held against our countries by these ‘orphans’ we have created will be deep in their psyche. Not only are we making them orphans we are treating them harshly. They are kept in overcrowded cages, underfed, not allowed to bathe, not receiving medical treatment as needed, and some of the children have been sexually abused. Who is to blame for this? You may say the parents, as Trump ‘the privileged’ has does not take the blame for anything. But he does ‘twitter blame’ on everyone else. The children know their parents came to receive help and our government refused to help and instead offered cruel punishment. The alienation and hate we are creating will come back to haunt us many years from now.
But isn’t this the way of violence which deciding to be unnecessary tough on others always bring with it: violent responses. The saying goes 'violence begats violence'. Maybe not today but sometime later. And this has always been America’s problem. We treated African’s as animals and enforced slavery with violence and our country still reels from this over 150 years later. I do not know what the tipping point with immigrants will be when we go from a place to seek and become a place where you are treated in a hostile manner. become viewed as a place to hate and exact revenge. But there is a tipping point.
We may still have time to prevent this from happening but we have to stop these policies of cruelty and make amends somehow. Tick Tock.
Everyone is talking about identity politics. Identity politics can give some a sense of belonging, a place to call home. It also can make someone look beyond themselves to see the needs of others. Identity politics enables you to join with others to get things done. We all start with a semblance of identity politics when we proclaim, we belong to a certain family or align ourselves with a religious institution. Others will identify with ethnic groups or race.
For many years I identify myself as a Freeman. We were Baptists not Methodists as the Hayes my mother’s side of the family. We were called to serve our country and God. We were encouraged to learn and receive an education. Later we were to identify as a Southerner but must never use denigrative terms about other races. We were also Baptist. So we took seriously one’s faith was between them and God. Politics and religion were not to rule over the other. And we were polite and good hosts to anyone we encountered. We were also FDR Democrats because we were always on the side of the poor and the average man. We saw ourselves as role models for our country, city, and neighborhood. This was my identity for many years.
Growing up this was a good identity. But along the way I had to broaden my identity or get stuck. I moved from being a Baptist who thought Catholics were not Christian and Episcopalians were suspect. I became ecumenical in my thinking. Later I included other faiths in my identity, my group. And even later atheists and agnostics became included in my identity. My views on sexuality and gender had to be expanded. I even grew away from viewing myself not only as an American but as a world citizen too. My world citizenship also had to grow to include other animals, plants, and ecosystems. This was my new definition of what it meant to be a world citizen. And now as the world has become smaller and we look to the universe I may have to expand to a cosmic citizenship.
And this is the rub of identity politics it makes you feel responsibility for others in your group. It makes you feel empathy and solidarity for those in your group. The problem becomes if your identity never grows. Your heart does not continue to grow. Your vision is stifled. And instead of identity politics growing you to accept the other, you become harden to those outside your group. I know that oppressed groups stick together to cope and defend themselves against the oppressor. For them identity politics is a matter of survival. And sometimes even if they wish they are not allowed to include the oppressor’s in their identity (ie, forced segregation, red districting, country clubs, private schools etc).
But the goal of life is to expand, to grow, and where we can broaden our group identity the closer we become to who we were meant to be. At least this is what the mystics have always claimed. We are to expand ourselves to the end of the universe and thus become diffused or at one with God, the cosmos, or the One. Our identity spreads so far that we no longer speak of I but always as we. I will always have little bit of the South, Baptists, and Freeman in me. But more than likely as I grow I will only keep the parts that speak of the individual who is able to be inclusive of all.