Sunday, August 5, 2007

Some Thoughts on the Danger of Patriotism Among Conservatives

There is a stirring in the american electorate that is significant; for the first time in forty years this country is questioning a major pentagon and presidential
war effort and the policy makers which are maintaining this policy.

However, defense industry interests and major corporate sponsors of the war are
also determined to engage "the enemy" as long as the nation is willing to allow
Congress to spend 300 billion or more on making sure their corporate coffers
are filled.

One of the basic reasons for this "allowance' is the american conservative movement
creates the impression among some of the christian and more determined base
that it is unpatriotic in times of war to "not support the troops" and by this, they
mean not support the policy of the so called war president, who is telling this flock
of well organized conservative voter base that the country needs to be fighting
this "war on terror" abroad instead of at home.

The conservative elements of this country's christian right at times are very sincere in their support of their country and their president. They have some reason and reference
scriptures to underscore the same, as many can.

However, we are not children when it comes to political and governments using
patriotic and nationalistic themes to drum up support among the populare...

Rome was very good at doing this, two thousand years ago. So were the jewish leaders among Palestine who helped Rome put Christ to death as St. Mathew and St. John write
so clearly about.

But in the more traditional classical liberal arts sense, even Thomas
Paine, our great american early popular political commentator, demonstrated that patriotism and religious fervor can become strongly subject to serious abuse and misguided governmental
policies, if not serve as a direct means of manipulation by special interests who
do not share the same morality when they put into play that which the masses
would tend to want to believe from their leaders and their governments, particularly the ones they share a commonality with.

Recently three separate southern Congressmen during an Armed Services Committee hearing
who were on the republican side of the aisle made the statement to the effect in questioning a war hawkish general,
"General would you not agree that this war on terror represents the most serious threat to our nations' security since the War of 1812?"

This Congressman was from Texas of course. Soon his comments were echoed in exact phraseology by other western conservative congressman on the same committee during the same hearing. [Thank goodness for C span]

Such talk is but the product of less than a clear understanding of american history and its geopolitical challenges in recent times, including but not limited to the Cold War with Russia's
eighteen thousand nuclear warheads which were armed and ready and pointed directly at the United States [Does October '62 and the Kennedy brothers mean anything to these guys?]

But also it demonstrates a certain type of christian fundamentalism which is being brought to many by pastors and religious commentators and quasi religious 'christian' publicists
who are trying to replace the 'red scare' with another newly minted modern 'brown scare'.

The idea that Christ and the Gospels can ever be made compatable to a modern nation state's military policy is one thing; taking a huge historical leap of faith in the modern american military policy and nationalism is another.

Today, Christ, if on earth, would be found among the poor and the disenfranchised talking about God's love and His Grace and mending broken lives.

He would not be 'into' raising national patriotic fervor which benefits mainly the rich, the well connected and the powerful and their greed machine with its ties from D.C. to Texas based Haliburton and Seattle's Boeing and Dow chemical's "human element"[they ought to know about human elements because they have made enough explosives to almost kill the "human factor" from the biosphere]

What does Christ have to do w/ making war? What does Christ have to do with killing anyone? What does His Gospel have to do with making a "stand against terrorism" where the failed policy is so clear that even high school students can understand now it was a huge mistake
to convert the 'war on terror' into a war on Saddam Hussien's beset country living under extreme pressure from the West, since the first mid east incursion, in order for American Corporate interests to gain a stategic position in the middle east.

When Congressional leaders can state the war on terror is similar to a national call to duty not unlike the War of 1812 or even WWII, we need to start rethinking our values as largely christian nation which truly doesn't understand the nature of what they present to the watching world and how they speak of God's love and power in Christ and somehow convert that into a national civil religion to support more american adventurism.

[If this is so, then why not immediately and truly sound the bugle and reinstitute the draft for all upper class, congressional children as well? Are they not required also in times of such national peril to be ready to show their full measure of patriotism?]

American foreign policy, even in recent decades, has not been exactly pure nor based on purely on democratic notions.

[Does anyone understand where the Sandinista movement came from? Does anyone ever heard of the book "Blood Brothers" and the "war on El Salvador"in Reagan's time? ]

Does anyone understand that what our american corporate and financial interests are basically are what we also begin to mask as foreign policy oftentimes in the modern era... and we are now doing this with impunit,y& perceived by the entire world as coupling that strategic interest w/ our world dominance?

When we "war" on smaller nations, does this not raise a question of morality itself?

Robert Kennedy sid it did.

To the christians, i would ask...

Is this done in the same Spirit of Him who rode triumphantly into his nation's once famous capital, amidst record crowds, overwhelmingly praising Him, [at least the first week in the same capital city] riding on a donkey?

Perhaps, the scene of Jesus being near sinners and riding lowly into town knowing he was to be betrayed and crucified, appearing to be merely human and one very humble servant,
is not the image our military planners and some Christian conversatives are contemplating we ought to project to the world as a model for how to manage real power in an age of uncertainty.

Does Christ model true power to the leaders of the world?
Was his Gospel so otherwordly to be no earthy good for us today?

If we answer too quickly we may be in danger of misinterpreting his arrival into Jerusalem today, then as the Jews did then.

If we only can see a future King excercising a false humility before his soon to be accusers, we will miss something significant about what made Him so unique among world figures and spiritual ones.

Christ was no mere human politician, especially if you profess to be a true believer and follower of Him. He was not about setting up any kind of worldly kingdom.

Yet, there are those today, who would dare to take his Words and His example and 'defend freedom' by pressing the right wing agenda of this nation and that of the defense contractors and pentagon interests and make it somehow sound like to not support their misguided policies is not to support the cause of Christ.

Be very very careful of such 'christian' justification for wars. Be very cautious as a young person who is swept up in defending the "homeland" as many policy makers reference it now before Congress since Bush "the christian" has come into power.

Such talk equates the kingdom of God with the hyper nationalism of America's present right wing establishment, if not the entire DC establishment, including some in the so called middle or 'main stream'.

It isn't theology we have to debate as much as how modern popular theocratic based notions of manipulating something intended by the Eternal which was made for the timeless quality of all men and mankind, indeed, for all eternity can be made to serve certain powerful american temporal special interests and by doing so, seriously misguide the popular opinion of many american people, and perhaps even themselves.

If they wish to believe their own words and heated rhetoric that is their perogative.

But when they speak such 'self-evident' postulates as they have even now, in the midst of a serious national growing debate over this present war in Iraq, as government leaders, they begin to take a dangerous step in the wrong direction both for the nation and for their church going fellow christian brothers and sisters.

We do not need to deceive ourself or our future generations into thinking we are doing God a favor by spending billions of our taxpayers dollars on a already bloated military budget.

Christ has little to do with making War in the modern sense.

Modern day nationalism has led to some good consequences in history.

It also has brought us the worst example in modern history of how a very intelligent and educated christian nation in the middle of Europe, can be deceived by making national "homeland" security equate with the ideals of quasi religious millineism.

This does not mean the military personnel can not fight and maintain their own christianity. But the acceptance of making national military and budgetary policy in the name of God in such circumstances, if ever, is inviting the criticism of not only many in our nation and around the entire world but as well as those from history, like our own Thomas Paine, who understood all too well how government can turn any theme, even the best intended ones, into a nationalistic fervor and lead entire nations astray.

Let us look to the wisdom of the founders and our better historical examples and note that we are not to be deceived into making war something supported and necessary to promote the kingdom of Christ and His gospel, even where our sympathies are with soldiers who have suffered much thru own sincere efforts and sacrifices.

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