Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The death of Osama bin Laden or It's time For America to be America again

I have mixed feelings about the death of Bin Laden. I am not sorry he's dead but I also don't think he's the worst terrorist in the history of the world. There are plenty of candidates for that title. We would be fooling ourselves if we think this is the end of terrorism. What I really hate is what he has done to our country. Like the ideology that he represents, we have stepped backwards, spending billions on war and little on peace, spying on our friends and enemies alike.

But I don't think that the US "staying out of the Middle East" or never helping Israel would have prevented terrorism or the hatred with which some view us. We should step aside and let Israel be destroyed or watch with folded hands while the few remaining Jews in the Middle East outside Israel are murdered? For who continually criticize Israel really want all of the Jews dead. When we are attacked for supporting Israel, that's the subtext and we should not forget it. 

Should we never criticize the racial, ethnic and religious "cleansings" that are taking place in the Middle East? According to some critics of the US, we should never speak out against the Turkish oppression of the Kurds and the Armenians, the Sunni's fighting the Shiites (and visa a versa), the Egyptians attack on the Copts, the Palestinians attack on Christians because that makes them "hate us."If speaking out against this is wrong, then I don't want to be right. I would and do speak out against similar injustices in the US - a freedom which we would not have if we lived in the Middle East, a freedom which women, in particular, do not have. Or, if we do dare to criticize, we would have to be more pure than any human or government has been in the history of humankind.

Before the United States ever set one foot in the Middle East or dropped a bomb, we were hated - not for what we had done, not for what we might do but for what we represented. However flawed, we are a democracy. Women can vote, own property, drive, and don't have to walk around draped with a black shroud for fear of setting off male sexuality. The freedom that women in the West has is one of the many reasons that the terrorists hate us. AT OUR BEST, we believe in religious tolerance, in the separation of church and state, in the equality of men and women, black and white and brown. The current version of fundamental Islam abhors all those things and that's a pity but I don't think that the West should change to accommodate them in their hatred or their backward beliefs. 

Nor should we accommodate any belief, religious or otherwise, that would make the US back away from the principles as laid down in the Declaration of Independence. As it is, we have strayed too far and it's time for America to be America again.

Langston Hughes..
Let America be America again.
Let it be the dream it used to be.
Let it be the pioneer on the plain
Seeking a home where he himself is free.
(America never was America to me.)
Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed--
Let it be that great strong land of love
Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme
That any man be crushed by one above.


Zoomie said...

Langston Hughes is a national treasure.

namastenancy said...

Via e-mail (does not have a blogger account):

Today--and for some years now--people in the Middle East haven't hated America because of its policies so much as defining whatever it does as hateful because America is already an enemy. If you don't want revolutionary Islamists to take over countries, repress all freedom, suppress women, wipe Israel off the map, and expel all Western influence from the region then you are their enemy. You can be a weak, contemptible enemy or a strong bullying enemy but that's about the extent of your choice.