Sunday, September 20, 2009


If you are following the news in any way then you know that America is deeply divided regarding several key issues at the moment.

Number one: health care. One way or another, you have been affected by the health care system. Even the staunchest of conservative Republicans that I know admit that there is a real issue in this country and we need to do something. Regardless of which side of the fence you are on, or if you’re a real pansy and you like to sit on the fence, you have an opinion. This is no minor issue and the effects of this outcome will shape our country for generations to come.

Number two: the economy. Nearly 18 months before George Bush left office, we were seeing the first signs of a downturn in our national economy. For 17 of those months, the president and his office denied there was a problem and only in the last month of his presidency (in December of 2008) did he admit that we were in trouble economically and had been for over a year. Everyone reading this has been affected, no one is exempt from this recession. While things are beginning to soften up for the first time in nearly two years, we have a long road out to a strong national economy.

Number three: Sarah Palin. Mrs. Palin left office recently for unofficial reasons, but most speculate that she will be making a run for the presidency in 2012. Mrs. Palin entered the public view in a big way last summer when John McCain dubbed her to be his running mate. A lot has transpired since then and there is some speculation as to why Mrs. Palin really left the office of governor of Alaska. Either way, and however you feel about her, this woman is going to be in our homes and on our TV’s for many years.

Number four: the war on terrorism. Since last November, very little time has been spent talking about the war on terror. It could be that once George Bush was out of office, the 72% of Americans that disapproved of his running of the country felt there would be change. It could also be that the 66% of the American people who elected Barack Obama felt that he would quickly end the war as he suggested he would during his campaign. Today the war rages on but in a diminished light. Here in America we have bigger concerns (see the top three) and losing a few thousand more troops seems so minor.

I recognize that there have been many things that have divided us as a people throughout the history of this country. We fought a Civil War for four years over a single issue but in the end we saw the end of slavery and a massive move that shaped us into the united superpower that we have become. While there have certainly been major eras in this country, the reconstruction era that followed the Civil War was memorable in America. However, what followed that era is one of the darker periods in this country, regarding segregation and the idea of separate but equal treatment for those of color.

During our storied history we have often dealt with the issue of economy; just think of the Great Depression. We have dealt with health care as an issue, think of the 80’s and Medicare. We have dealt with Terrorism as well; when the British came here in the 1770s they were by very nature terrorists and sought to kill all those who were deemed traitors.

There have always been great debates in this country about a multitude of beliefs, opinions and views. We are such a varied group of ethnicities in this country that we have changed the landscape of what it means to be native. While that does not change a relative view point, it does present challenges to the citizens of this nation. We struggle with holding true to nationalism when we have tendencies toward other countries where we have a heritage. We argue about what it means to be a patriot but we forget about the sacrifices that some have made to get here and the ties that still bind back to a foreign nation.

With that in mind, the issues we face here are not unlike the issues of other nations. In the grip of certain conflicts we need to look outside of our own country and recognize that our neighbors are dealing with all the same problems. We could make an attempt to work together with our fellow earth mates but we tend to get so wrapped up in our own little problems that we often forget that anyone outside this country really matters.

This is the crux of the matter, the heart of what I am getting at when I talk about Americanism. Truthfully, we are not alone in this; there are other countries that suffer from the same effect. What sets us apart from other nations though, is the pretentious way we look at those outside our country. When you think of Afghanistan what is the first image that comes to mind? How about Russia? Africa? I have my own images that come to mind when those countries are mentioned but my views are most likely different than yours, or at least enough so that I conjure up different notions of our neighbors than most do.

I tire of the same rhetoric that I hear from those around me regarding their love for this country. Regardless of their political affiliation or their religious ties, love of country seems to rank a little higher on the priority list than it seems it should. I’m not suggesting we should not love the country in which we live, but when we do so in a way that condemns the views and beliefs and opinions of others, we are guilty of many things which can be summed up as hatred.

Now don’t get me wrong. There are hundreds of organizations that contribute to the needs of thousands of people all across this globe. There are churches that send missionaries to build orphanages and bring medical supplies and water to impoverished regions all across the earth. But for the vast majority of those who live here, we want to make sure that our freedoms and rights are untouched. We want our food fast and our internet faster. We want our lifestyle not to be hampered by sticky messes like apartheid, or aids epidemics that kill by the millions.

This is no mere rant that looks at the materialism of this great country, although we certainly deal with that disease as well. Instead, this is more about the air of moral, ethical, technological and economic advantages that we hold above any other place on earth. It’s more than the pretentiousness that I mentioned above, it is more than being aloof to our neighbors, it is more than thinking less of some third world country. This is Americanism and it should be called what it is; a disease of the soul.

My life is not mine, and yet it is mine to live for Him. Peace to you all.


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