By Miles Jaye
The “Magnificent Seven” is a movie. In it, a rich, psychotic villain, Bartholomew Bogue, used his ragtag army of mercenaries to take over a town. He forced townsmen into hard labor deep within the recesses of a nearby gold mine. The town’s people were terrified by this dreadful, vile man. Their one effort at defiance, their one feeble attempt to stand up to the villain was met with swift and murderous rebuke. The cowardly Sheriff was on Bogue’s payroll, so he was no help. The cruel man’s henchmen set the town church ablaze, but in the very next scene, a hero appeared over the ridge, in classic cinematic slow motion, dressed from hat to boots in all black, riding a matching black stallion—it was Denzel.
“The Magnificent Seven” is fiction, the modern-day remake of a classic Western. In real life, however, a rich villain has taken over the town—your town and towns all across America. He promised to reopen mines in West Virginia, steel mills in Pennsylvania, build a wall on the border between the U.S. and Mexico, and drain the swamp, but instead he’s robbing the country blind for his family, himself, and his rich compadres.
Like Bogue, the real-life villain also has an army of mercenaries. He has Sheriff’s, lawyers, Judges, and politicians on his payroll, so there will be no justice—no help is on the way. Evangelicals, preachers and ministers of every denomination run the gamut of complicity to complacency. The churches are on fire and Denzel is not coming. No hero is riding over the ridge to save the day. Who will save America?
Ironically, sadly, again we’ve fallen victim to trickery and slight-of-hand and somehow been convinced we no longer need leadership. We don’t need a hero!
Tina Turner sang “We Don’t Need Another Hero”
“Out of the ruins, out from the wreckage
Can’t make the same mistakes this time
We are the children, the last generation
We are the ones they left behind
And I wonder when we are ever gonna change?
Living under the fear, till nothing else remains
We don’t need another hero,
We don’t need to know the way home
All we want is life beyond the Thunderdome
Looking for something we can rely on
There’s got to be something better out there.
love and compassion, their day is coming
All else are castles built in the air…”
College-educated, possessing all of the trappings of success from home ownership and stock portfolios to Greek organization and Mega-church memberships and yet again, we’ve been distracted by the random. Our favorite sports teams are more important than our family team, our neighborhood and community teams. How could we be so intelligent, yet so blind. We’ve always needed leadership, but somehow we’ve been convinced that even our most revered heroes from Old and New Testaments are irrelevant in today’s times. Harriet Tubman, Nat Turner and Sojourner Truth are reduced to mere folklore. Civil Rights leaders are passé. We’ve quit studying Abraham, David, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John and forgotten that it took Moses to free our people and when his job was done, Joshua took over—to lead. We’ve gone from quoting Martin, Malcolm, Marcus, and Medgar to quoting Kanye.
These are the words of heroes:
“I freed a thousand slaves. I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves.”“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.” – Harriet Tubman
“I had a vision – and I saw white spirits and black spirits engaged in battle, and the sun was darkened – the thunder rolled in the Heavens, and blood flowed in streams – and I heard a voice saying, ‘Such is your luck, such are you called to see, and let it come rough or smooth, you must surely bear it.” “Having soon discovered, to be great, I must appear so, and therefore studiously avoided mixing in society, and wrapped myself in mystery, devoting my time to fasting and prayer.” – Nat Turner
“Truth is powerful, and it prevails.” “I am not going to die, I’m going home like a shooting star.” – Sojourner Truth
Trump has been compared to the Bogue character for obvious reasons, however, to his constituents, Donald is Denzel. To people who attend his rallies, Red State voters he’s convinced Mexicans, Muslims and women are evil, NATO and the U.N. are pointless, Kim and Vladimir are our friends and that Black folks have set the churches on fire, it is Trump rising over the ridge, dressed in white on a white steed come to save the day. Who will save us?
This article originally appeared in the Florida Star.