ERICKSON: Wander and die

July 11, 2014 

“The Lord’s anger burned against Israel and he made them wander in the wilderness 40 years, until the whole generation of those who had done evil in his sight was gone.”

-- Number 32:13 (NIV).

An opinion piece in The Telegraph recently decried that Macon and Bibb County are united, but without unity. The long list of grievances really only consisted of two items: (1) black and (2) white.

There are those who wish to be unshackled from the sins of previous generations in this community -- sins many of us were not even here for. There are others who want to talk about those sins and talk about those sin and, when the sun sets and the breeze turns cool, talk some more. There are also those who wish to profit from those sins. They stir hostility, demand payment and fan the flames. When new residents and businesses enter the community, there are those here who would hold the new blood hostage to these sins they were not apart of and want no part of.

This community’s past wounds will not heal except through the death of the generations who inflicted the community’s wounds and who suffered from those wounds unable to either forgive or forget. We will not move on as long as there is profit to be had and hardened hearts.

A recent national story relating to slave reparations lamented that younger generations are less likely to see race-based injustices because younger generations are more and more color blind. The irony here is staggering. There are some who are so indoctrinated in race mongering that even moving on from race is racist. For some, there is no profit in moving on so they fight progress toward a color-blind society.

Macon and Bibb County are, however, moving on. Our local delegation, in bipartisan fashion, agreed to consolidate this community. Challengers were put against the Democratic members of the delegation who voted for consolidation. The challengers were defeated.

That should be obvious because the voters themselves voted for consolidation. The voters in Macon and the voters in Bibb County separately, but in unity, voted for consolidation. We are now moving forward toward the promised land.

Certainly some will have to die off before we gain further unity. Those who see racial politics in the Chamber of Commerce will never see it otherwise. They will have to wander and die while the Chamber of Commerce lets go of the past and unshackles itself from those clinging to past grievances as a way to leverage power.

Those who derive their power from past grievances see their fate and mutter the lines of Ozymandias. “ ‘Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!’ Nothing beside remains.” They are bitter. Not only is our community moving on, but it is moving on with less baggage. Many of the same people who lament every perceived racial slight are also aghast that Macon and Bibb County might reduce its spending. There is no profit in reductions and it too is somehow racist. But the reduction will amount to only a 4.4 percent reduction. Certainly there will be some tough issues, but they will be issues of change, not of race.

Our community’s character will be tested in the change. Martin Luther King Jr. wanted a society where people were judged by their character, not skin color. We must wander still further to get to that point. We will get there, though some of the anchors trying to hold us back from the tide of history will be left behind -- six feet under.

Erick Erickson is a Fox News contributor and radio talk show host in Atlanta.

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