One of the things I love about my life is Netflix. I get to watch episodes of entire series consecutively. I get a good sense of what the production was about and what they are saying. I am very fond of European television series because it gives me insight into how people in other parts of the world think, see themselves and view the world.
The sad thing is that some people don’t think that television reflect the society it caters to. I believe it does. The shows that are at the top of the ratings ladder speak to our values as a society. Some times I cringe at what the rest of the world thinks of us North Americans. But we are what we are.
I am currently into the British series, Inspector George Gently, which is set in the 1960s in Northern England dealing with crime. Yet it spends a fair amount of time dealing with 1960s society and its norms. But I think what the story does well is deal with the culture. It shows the old guard and the new guard. Of course it has the gift of history. As I watch it, I think this was the culture I was born into, this tug of war between good and better. Not so much the English part, but this changing of the guard.
An Ah ha moment came to me as I watched a scene where the two war veterans (WWII) looked at the young hippie protesters and then at each other. One asked “Was the sacrifice worth it?”
They were asking if the sacrifice of fighting a war so they could continue to live free was worth the cost of having to listen to the young people disrespect everything they fought for. After all, they could only protest freely because the Allies won the war. (right) The young people shouting out disrespectful words didn’t understand they were standing on the shoulders of people who died to give them the right. I was born during a time when people hated each other. They segregated themselves from each other to continue to facilitate that hate.
50 years later, here we are again. We tell our younger generation that they do not appreciate what was sacrificed to give them the rights they have today. They stand on the shoulders of dead civil rights workers and disrespect the process. They do not understand.
It gives me a giggle to think that we are repeating a cycle that happened when I was born.
The problem is that we did not teach the next generation from when they were babies, that it is a right that someone died for so that you can go to school and receive an education for free, you can own property and not BE property. We have depended on someone else to teach the next generation our family and ethnic heritage and those folks have not done a good job.
As Joel Barker said, when a paradigm shifts, we all go back to 0. Some people just don’t realize they are at 0. As I was watching this TV series, it reminded me we are back at 0. Racism is getting worse. Violence is getting worse. Hatred is like a coke commercial. You see it everywhere.
Our history is going to be the thing that saves us. We will have to remember the love that overcomes this type of hate. We will have to remember what it looks like, what it acts like. It wasn’t Malcolm’s militancy, it was Martin’s love. Love overcomes all kinds of hate.
In the Bible God told Israel to teach their children all of the things He had done for them. He wanted them to know the stories. He wanted the children to know the type of obstacles their people had overcome through His mighty power. The stories showed His faithfulness and His love.
If you retrace our history, you will see the lives of men and women who sacrificed for the good of others. I thank all the men and women who have gone to war to preserve our freedom. It is one of the greatest gifts on this planet. I want to live a life worthy of their sacrifice. Not just the white ones, or the black ones or the brown ones. All of them. They gave up something they cannot get back.
This year my wall calendar has been Nelson Mandela. All year I have been reminded that 27 years in prison shaped his life. When he got out, he could have done anything he wanted. He served his people.
God calls us use whatever gift we have received to serve others. (1 Peter 4:10) He says it won’t be easy, but it will be worth it. Every time you turn on the TV to watch, let it remind you of our culture. Once you are reminded of it, go and do your part to change it. We need to wake up before it gets too late.