Putting It All Together
The defining issue of our time, and our Children's is the war with Islam. Not the war on terrorism-Islam. I hate writing that as at one point I had an excellent friend who was Muslim, and I have wrestled with this issue. But at its heart, with Shira, with convert them by intimidation or the sword, we can NOT coexist with Islam. These are core values of Islam. I know that is not PC, more on that in a moment.
People aren't perfect. The Christian Ideal is Jesus, and some of us are much closer than others, but we must learn to forgive. My daughter is at that stage where "It would be a lot easier if people would just..." So I try to teach her the Dilbert Principle "We are all idiots” and the Christian Corollary to that is we all need forgiveness.
Now, we are all responsible for our actions. A beaten wife cooperates with her husband who beats her. This is harsh, but read the literature. The struggle is to get those women to believe it and to get enough confidence to leave. At that point, you can help. But you should only forgive the SOB when he admits it, and when he changes. You can't excuse him because he grew up in a house where it is normal (cough sounding like Shira).
Sara has a great blog about the change in our country between 1940 and 1970. We lost faith in ourselves. My own pet theory is we saw Utopia, or Camelot coming, and when it didn't show, our balloon burst. We couldn't forgive ourselves for not reaching perfection.
It took Christendom a long time, and some pretty poor behavior before we integrated Christ's message. We are all brothers and sisters, treat others as you want to be treated, love your neighbor as yourself. But we kept falling down on the job. Finally some people got fed up with a variety of things and moved to the new world. Look at the statistics, much more dangerous than joining the Army and going to Iraq. Yet men brought their whole families. My God! What were they thinking? That ideals are worth dying for, that making the world a better place is worth sacrifice? There's a Professor in Tennessee that might have forgotten some of his history.
But those settles, when framing the constitution, let experience be their guide because "Reason can lead us astray" (Wish I could remember who said that-but I love the quote). Essentially, we can out-think ourselves, we need to be practical. One of those major practicalities was-The Separation of Church and State. The Islamofacists see us as a Christian Nation, and that is our history. And, we weren’t always as tolerant as we are today; we had to grow into our ideals. But today, we are the most tolerant society. (Some may point to some of the European countries, please don't mix up apathetic with tolerance. Americans by every know survey are much more religious and therefore much more tolerant). This is important point because our laws are our best wisdom to date and accommodate this tolerance. It is important to understand our laws are our ideals. We have law breakers, botched court cases, imperfect judges and juries, and slanted reporting ( a whole nother subject). But here's a secret, for the most part our justice system works pretty good. Life isn't perfect.
I'm not saying we can't improve, we can. But it is a struggle, a mountain we will never climb to the top, and we will become tired and discouraged from time to time. But we still need to climb and not condemn ourselves for not making it to the top.
Between Korea, Vietnam and Watergate we lost our confidence and we haven't gained forgiveness. We haven't gained, or re-gained our ideals.
And because of this, we have people who ignore our 400 years of American History to make this the greatest nation on Earth by almost any measure. That progress on built on top of 1600-1900 years of European History including the Enlightenment and the Reformation. Islam is still stuck in the 7th century. Professor, do you want your daughter to only be allowed to wear a tent and to be some yahoo's property? Not the world I want my daughter to live in. Mom doesn't either. Yes, I admit it; I'm an unabashed American Patriot. One who believes that America is not perfect, but one who believes we have room to improve if We Don't Give Up.
Now a little subject jump that fits in. Last week at work I came in to the break room just as a guy took the last cup of coffee, put the pot on the back burner and left. I glared at him, he saw it, and neither of us said anything. He was not WASP, it was potentially my job if I said anything and he objected. The PCers have put the fear in us WASPS (I can't help it, I was born this way). My wife works in HR, and HR in big companies is about protecting the company, period-end of statement-the employee has very little place in that statement and we know it. I can't call a jerk a jerk without fear of being fired. The rumor mill has stories and I have responsibilities with a daughter about to go to college. This bugs me. I feel I didn't live up to my ideals in a way, but my family has to come first. At least, I keep telling myself this.
The point being Political Correctness will not let us call a spade a spade. We can't say that there is a major problem with Islam. The Islam of the Islamofacists Terrorists is a lot more widespread than a lot of people want to believe. It is not a minority, it is a majority. Most people are sane enough to avoid conflict As David Grossman points out in his book On Combat, fighting is the universal human phobia. Doesn't mean they won't support others who do go to fight through. I'm willing to coexist with Islam if they go through a Reformation-they have to get past converting people with the sword. I agree with Pope Benedict on that. (His message was that simple, and look how pissed Muslims got about it)
The President of the US does not have unlimited power. He has quite a few limits. Our country quite rightly would not accept a religious war. (Doesn't mean that one can't be made against us however.) I think Bush is very smart. But just as every Greek Hero has his flaw, Bush has a few too. But if you resort to name calling, you're not dealing with the substance of the argument. Which, by the way, is what kind of world and what kind of decisions are we leaving our kids and grand-kids? The point is Bush is trying to do the best he can. Europe isn't helping themselves. Congress is more about who holds a majority than doing the right thing (Congress' approval rating is way below the President's). We haven't mobilized the way we did for WWII. Heck, Defense spending is half of what is was for Vietnam just based on GDP. The thing is, we are NOT AT WAR. There has been no Declaration Of War by Congress. The President has many expanded powers during war. I would love to see the New York Times who publishes classified documents routinely prosecuted for sedition, but we need a Declaration Of War for that to happen. And we haven't done it. Congress hasn't even dealt with the legal status of the Detainees in Gitmo. We are hiding from the problem. Sounds like WWI and WWII to me-all over again.
We need to be free to discuss these issues openly. The Islamofacists think they brought down Russia, and that we are next on the list. Sorry, most of America is still engaged in their normal lives. Other than gripping about air port security, the majority of population is not much effected. My real concern with Iraq is have we placed too many limits on ourselves. There are too many good reasons to be there and to try to do what we are doing.
One scenario that has occupied my imagination lately is what if the enemy gets and uses biological weapons. Nukes and Chemical weapons are area limited. A biological weapon could spread across the country. How would we react? I know I would loose any moral limits I have, and I don't think that is a good thing.
But the point is we are not discussing what we are doing. Too many people on both sides resort to name calling. If the best you can do is make fun of the President's grades, you aren't discussing, you're not arguing. You are just being pointlessly mean. (The press loves name calling, it makes people pay attention to the reporter or the article. Few things are more polarizing than name calling. Of course, it is counter productive to the overall issue-but it sells)
The problem here is the sheep and sheepdogs operate on different fundamental assumptions. The same input goes in, different answers come out. Until we can discuss some of the assumptions and some to grips with those, the answers will continue to be different.
Well, this has gone on long enough. But I still haven't answered how we come to grips with different assumptions (morals). You don't suppress free speech (Which by the way is different from the NYT publishing classified documents). I haven't touched on the plethora of faults of the MSM in covering these issues. We haven't touched on how to conduct such a war (way over my pay grade, but like any good red blooded American I have opinions). We haven't discussed border security or illegal aliens (yes, related issue). We haven't discussed energy policy (our petro-dollars fund our enemies). We haven't discussed...well, you get the idea. This is a central issue, but not the only important one, and they all tie together. And as much as I read and study, I'm still ignorant of what is truely going on.
So for now, God Bless America, God Bless our Troops, and God Bless the President.