This weekend, I went on a short road trip. Everywhere small town I drove through was filled with various expressions of patriotism. One of the most common things I saw was “God bless America” posted on those signs with plastic letters in front of businesses. It made me want to go home and put up a sign that says “God bless Afghanistan.”
People are saying “they attacked us because they hate freedom.” I don’t know why the terrorists responsible for the 9/11 attacks did what they did. What I do know is that those who hope for war want to go to war against people who have no idea what freedom is. The people of Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Libya, and other countries that are bandied about as potential targets have never lived in a country that provided them with freedom or democracy.
I am an enemy of any political agenda that promotes alienation. How do you get people to favor policies that deny people access to health care, or basic economic assistance, or the ability to work for a living wage? How do you get people to oppose overseas aid that would cheaply protect people from easily preventable disease or famine? How do you get people to support a war that will kill thousands of innocent civilians? It’s simple, you convince them that they have no reason to be concerned about the victims of those policies because they are, in some way, “the other.” It’s easier if those people happen to be a different color, pray in a different church, or speak a different language.
Am I in favor of God blessing America? Of course I am. But I’m also in favor of God blessing people who are even worse off than we are, people who members of our community, whether we see them that way or not. The greatest sin of the United States is not that we see most of the world as our enemy, but that we see it as irrelevant.