An Open Letter to Family & Friends
It’s Not You-It’s Me!
Over the years, my family & friends have known that I was a registered Republican and I was tolerated. Now, since President Obama’s first campaign and his subsequent re-election, some of my friends especially, have ‘un-friended,’ me. My family still tolerates me, but, there is now some distance in some close (formerly) relationships.
I wanted to take this time to explain a few things, and let the chips fall where they may. You know me well, but, you don’t know me as well as you think you do. Like most people, I have changed over the years and my outlook on many issues has changed, too.
You’ve always known me to ‘speak my mind,’ but, you‘ve never known me to be ‘crazy.’ But, did you know that I was once a registered Democrat, then a Republican, then a Libertarian, then an Independent/Unaffiliated, and now, a registered Republican again?
Did you know that I struggled with some social issues I saw in my community, but those same issues were seemingly unaddressed by the same politicians that were being elected over and over again?
I’ve struggled with leaving churches (and friends) I’ve loved because the ‘black’ theology and doctrines were not consistent with what I was reading in my Bible. I’ve struggled with personal and financial decisions that I had to rectify, which required much sacrifice on my part. I’ve struggled with confronting myself with my racist attitudes and beliefs. I’ve struggled with the consequences of gaining truth and losing relationships as a result of the truth I now knew.
When I went into the military at 18, I entered with the naïve and incorrect mindset that white people were the reason for all of black people’s problems. But, something profound happened during my military career-I witnessed and experienced firsthand, white people working side-by-side with black people; White people respecting black people and black and white and Asian and Hispanics befriending each other until the end of time. All these relationships took place not because of rank or status, but, because of real bonds, real people, and real experiences.
After leaving the military and for some years after, I had begun reading non-fiction books and literature on all sorts of subjects, especially relating to my community, my people. I learned so many things, but, mostly, I learned that after slavery, my people had done some fantastic things with their lives, their families, and their communities. I learned that our current situation could in virtually no way be blamed on white people.
I continued to seek knowledge and wisdom and ultimately, seek truth.
One major truth I learned that would have a lasting impact on my future was this: If God knows everything and He made everyone, then, He must have known what he was doing when He made people look so different from one another. I basically learned that my racial attitudes were in fact, racist. I learned that everything that God said was, ‘good,’ man has perverted, (Genesis 1), and finally, I learned that I could be, ‘transformed by renewing my mind,’ Romans 12.
I loved the sound of that. I could be transformed and it started with my thinking.
I know you’re aware of some of the personal tragedies and errors I’ve made along the way, but, what you don’t know or understand is how those events have shaped my thinking. These events have been memorials to and testimonials of my inner transformation. These events, including my own errors, have strengthened me and encouraged me during my transformation.
Along the way, even as I’ve changed and struggled, you’ve remained where you are politically, and yet, I’ve never cast you aside. Somehow, it’s been seemingly easy for you to cast me aside.
But, I cannot go back nor can I now turn off what I know to be true. In spite of all this, you have always had me as a trusted friend and confidant. Sadly, you have found it necessary to un-friend me because of my political and social values.
Over the last few years, I have grieved the loss of our friendship and closeness. You know I won’t chase you, I won’t beg you to remain friends, and I certainly won’t berate or belittle you. You know, I will let you be, always wishing the best for you.
You’ve always known that I have almost never been afraid to stand alone and this time is no different. Be well, my friends, be well.
24 NOV 2012
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