Friday, August 18, 2006

A Painful Truth?

Does the U.S. still have the right to say "we are the land of the free and home of the brave?" How can we be free if all people are not equal? How can we be brave, if we fear either change, or others that differentiate from ourselves? I dare say we no longer can call ourselves "leaders of the free world." For all men are not free. Not free to pursue happiness, as it states in our Declaration of Independence. We have no freedom of religion, to worship or not worship of our own choosing, as it states in our Bill of Rights. We are moving ourselves closer to what the fathers of our nation were trying to escape, one where religion is chosen for us, without our hand in the decision. It takes extreme courage to live in a nation as ours. Where the differences we have are our strengths, where all Americans are our brothers and sisters. To know others feel differently from us. To know others see god differently than us. To read the same book and know others can interpret the words differently. Are we becoming are own worst enemies? We scoff at other nations that subjugated their citizens. Our warriors fight and die to ensure freedom to another people. Have we become the land of the oppressed and home of the timid? I hope one day we can remedy our mistakes.

5 comments:

John said...

ken,

You bring up some fascinating points which I think deserve a bit of study.

I will look into it further, but the first thing that comes to my mind is that the United States' reputation for "leader of the free world" has never been true outside the realm of economic might,and of course the military power that has in the past and now again, enforces our ecomonic power through a Pax Americana.

In terms of equality and civil rights, I think the US has always been behind the curve.

On the other hand, I do not share your pessism in the realm of freedom of religion.

I think there, we are in pretty shape.

John Hosty said...

Ken,

Welcome to the site and thanks for the great post! Have you seen "Bowling for Colombine?" I was shocked to see how simliar we are with Canada, and yet so very different too. One thing it did leave me with was the realization that our heritage is based in part on our ability to screw others over. That sickens me. I want to be proud of my country, my neighbors, but I find it difficult at the moment. What remedy's would you suggest to heal the hate?

Ken Weaver said...

I agree I’m very pessimistic on religious issues. But I see a disconnect, when we legislate according to religious beliefs and the freedom of religion. Freedom of religion is an extremely powerful idea. When the Fathers of our country were writing the Bill of Rights, this particular right was hotly debated. However they finally agreed it must be a right to choose a religious ordination so as to separate us from the Monarchies of Europe. Today we see this right as paramount to our society. We have a right to worship the god of our choosing in a manner that befits our own personalities. When one religion stands up and instills their “morality” into law, that freedom of religion weakens. That kind of Constitutional regress must not be permitted by anyone. One step and the “slippery slope” of inhumanity will rise to take not just our right to choose religion, but other rights we hold dear.

Ken Weaver said...

Well John Hosty, you posed a question I found quite difficult to respond in a befitting manner. I had to ask my wife “how do you heal hatred?” she responded quite matter of factly “with love.” I however am not sure how you can love someone who hates you. How can you love someone who is screaming “God hates fags!”? There is a duality in humanity as people are capable of terrible injustices, and yet can be so generous and sympathetic. Finally I must confess I have no answer to your question.

In closing, when thinking of your Country, instead of looking to our crimes, look to our greatness: The men who fought and died for your right to live free, the people like Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks who fought for equality for all. I’m not one to say the ends justify the means, but neither a man nor a country can be totally good or evil.

John Hosty said...

Ken, I think your wife is right.I do believe that hate can be healed with love, and you are right, it is hard to love someone who hates you.

I wasn't trying to be critical, I was just hoping a fresh perspective might have seen something I have missed :). I found out through trial and error I don't have what it takes to help people with their hate at this stage of my life. The best I can do is hope that my arguments make a little more sense to people, my facts are a little more reliable, and my attitude a little less arrogant than those we oppose. In doing so I am able to gain people's attention and explain the social benefits to equality. I can also ask them to help spread the word. The inherent goodness in all men is not diluted by extremists.

Can you imagine a world where we no longer need armies, and there is enough to go around for everyone? It could well happen if we did not need to spend so much money for defense. Iraq is a $200 billion "Ouch!". Imagine the good we could have done with that money? Imagine if the entire world did not spend money on military? Once we get to this point in our social evolution our progress will increase geometricaly, and it will eventually happen.

I'm not saying that gay marriage or even gay equality is going to develope into world peace. I am saying that once we have the ability to trust one another we can lower our guard. Equality actualized will bring us there. Equality comes in steps, and gay marriage is one small step toward that eventuality.