Which is Worse, College Students Chanting a Racist Song or the Poor Judgment of 47 US Senators?

For the past week, the media has been buzzing with two unrelated events that are relevant to the state of affairs in America. The first event happened when 47 US Senators sent a letter to Iran leaders cautioning them about the nuclear program deal President Obama is brokering with Iran.  The second event occurred last Saturday night when a group of Oklahoma University (OU) student, members of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE) fraternity chapter chanted a song that contained racist slurs.

Both the Iran letter and the racist song have come under strong criticisms and condemnation.  With the Iran letter signed by the 47 US Senators, the New York Daily News editorial (3/10/15) called them traitors.  Other than that, these Senators are not likely to be held accountable for their unprecedented behavior.  At least, OU took swift actions by shutting down SAE and expelling two of the students responsible for the rendition of the racist song.

While all Americans should be disturbed and outraged by the actions of the Republican senators and the OU students, they should be more disturbed and concerned about what the 47 Senators did.  Their action manifests the ultimate betrayal to the president and to the country.  The Republicans like to talk about patriotism, but how hypocritical can they get when their senators do things that that weaken and divide the country?

What the 47 misguided senators did in their letter to Iran sends a negative message to the world that America is a divided country – politically and racially.  This is not a good message as it undermines the ability of America to negotiate and lead around the world. It also undermines the ability of America to deal effectively with foreign policy issues and conflicts with terrorist groups like ISIS.  The Republicans and all those who support their reckless behavior should be aware of the words in Mark 3:24: “If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.”

Immature college students who were probably inebriated are not going to pay attention to political correctness.  Unfortunately, racial slurs are still commonly used.  While they are unacceptable in a society that has made significant progress since the Jim Crow racism era, they are not as treacherous or damaging to the country as what the 47 US senators did.  Racial slurs though despicable are prevalent in our society.

Whether it is foreign policy or domestic policy, America is strong when the democratic process functions fairly, ethically, and where members of both political parties treat each other with professionalism and respect.  The 47 senators with their poor judgment acted contrary to these principles.  They have undermined the democratic process and shown their blatant disrespect for President Obama.

The OU students who chanted their racist song and the 47 US senators represent problems that do not help America live up to its ideals of justice, liberty, and equality for all.  When politicians who are elected to govern and lead fail in their responsibility to do so, it can lead to anarchy.  Our politicians need to be mindful of this and to act in a more responsible manner.