Thursday, December 11, 2014

For the USA: Pride Goeth Before the Fall

Some days, it doesn’t pay to get out of bed. Like today. Having read this morning’s paper, along with the paper every day this week, I’m sick at heart.
I don’t write or comment about politics anymore. The reasons: (1) it’s useless – nothing is changed, neither reality nor minds; and (2) thinking about the USA and its government makes me very angry and ruins the equanimity with which I want to live out the rest of my life.
But I still read the Washington Post every morning and I still care very much about what’s happening to us.
This morning, this essay appeared in The Post. It’s by Philip Kennicott, a writer who usually reviews arts and architecture and who occasionally writes personal opinion pieces that are printed in The Post’s Style section.
This essay says so much of what I have been thinking lately. It addresses the revelations from this week’s Senate report on the CIA interrogation crimes. But, to me, it also addresses a much larger issue: the evolution of our government and country from a place where freedom, tolerance, and openness are held as ideals (though ideals never yet totally fulfilled) to a place where the values of the Spanish Inquisition, the Soviet paranoid mind set, the rage of ISIS, and the totally baseless self–love of the narcissist reign.
I have come to believe in the philosophy of "exceptionalism," but not the exceptionalism that is based on Ronald Reagan’s oratorical emptiness. I believe that the USA has become exceptionally immoral, cruel, full of hate, full of fear, and – I hate to use this word – stupid.
We gleefully abused and tortured prisoners at Abu Ghraib.
We committed unconscionable cruelties against people being interrogated by the CIA.
We close our borders to people–CHILDREN–in great need because the Republicans don’t want to give citizenship to people they believe will become Democrats, denying the immigrants the safety on which their lives may depend, and denying all of us the richness of their talents, culture, and enthusiasm.
We idolize and promote ignorance in our public life, in our schools, in our churches, in our entertainment, and in our own acceptance of absolutely unacceptable know-nothingness.
We reduce benefits to infants and children in need, making it harder for the poor among us to raise healthy and integrated people.
We allow our political masters to make decisions based on absolutely false theology, and we sit still as Republicans bring us closer and closer to a new and infinitely more destructive "Christian" war on Islam.
We force women to jump through hoops to prevent or end unwanted pregnancies yet do NOTHING to assure the quality of life of the mother and child once the baby is born.
We sit still while poor, uniformed, and uneducated people elect philosophical monsters who act against the interests of these same poor supporters.
I could go on, but I won’t.
I wish, really, that I hadn’t started.
Scripture tells us that pride precedes (and contributes to) decline. As I pray every day for the USA, I’m beginning to understand that, maybe, God’s only recourse is to let people in the USA go down the path of prideful self–destruction so that, at its end, we all can see that we are as flawed as any other people, that we are NOT exceptional in the history of the world, and that the charism of the USA was and is its openness and love of freedom.

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