When I was in seminary, a professor said that ministry is like building a bridge across a canyon into which people are falling. He said we must help those we can in the short term, but never lose sight of the real solution. The real solution would be not only mending broken bones but building a bridge preventing them from being broken in the first place.
This advice has turned out to be true of justice work as well. As Jesus said, speaking of justice in one’s own country is nearly impossible. People hear any call to universal justice as an attack on their own partisan viewpoints. To illustrate this idea, imagine Germany had won World War 2 and could write its own history. When a nation is unrivaled, its history and its propaganda become one. So Germany could say it only built its empire because it was being provoked by nations like Poland. If history books mentioned the Holocaust at all, it would seen it as the aberrant act of a few individuals. Conversely, any terrorist acts by foreign individuals would be deemed as justification for bombing entire nations.

Children educated into that false history would be incapable of hearing alternative versions of events, because they would hear such challenges as sinister threats to their own identity as Germans. Every military action to put down the captive nations would be seen as defensive in nature. Those who opposed the third Reich would be seen as terrorists and insurrectionists even in their own land because German citizens would believe they had a duty to govern the lesser peoples of the world and could not be put on the same ethical scale as other nations.

A prophet born into that culture would have to build a bridge that awakened Germans to their own humanity and to the humanity of their captives in a way that could be heard by a defensive populous. Shaming the people would only make them retreat more deeply into their national identity. The prophet would have to compassionately and firmly build a bridge out of a whole worldview.

Back to the present, a prophet who came to us would have to point out that our nation is the most powerful military empire of all time. The prophet would have to help us realize we have been propagandized to believe we are superior to every other nation and have a duty to interfere in their affairs. But the prophet would also need to realize that anger and shame are poor tools for building the bridge that would awaken Americans to our own humanity. Compassion is the only bridge that would give us hearts strong enough to find a tear for our victims, minds strong enough to tell our own history truthfully, and give us an identity strong enough to step outside our national trance, and into our duty to all humankind.