Yesterday I was watching the 2-hour "Extreme Makeover- Home Edition", and it was for a marine who saved some people on September 11th. He loved being a Marine, and it showed all over; he was a nice, honorable, family guy. He happened to mention that he would "die for this country", and it got me thinking:
We don't live in a country.
We live in an IDEA.
This isn't a country like England, France, or China- The U.S. is an IDEA that has boundaries.
The IDEA is that the INDIVIDUAL has worth; In China, the philosophy is that the individual is there to serve the government, and whatever is good for the government is good for the individual.
Our IDEA is the opposite; Our idea is that the government is here to serve the individual. Our IDEA is that the individual can do what he or she wants, whenever they want, and with whom. We protect personal property, we spend millions to save one life, and we assume innocence before guilt.
Our IDEA supports that humanity is GOOD.
The IDEA supports that ALL of humanity is good.
I think there are many of us who are forgetting the IDEA, and who are moving more and more towards a "commonwealth" philosophy, and it made me think of this quote:
"People who say 'you should do for others' are mostly planning on being an 'other'"
And our IDEA is OPPOSITE of that.
We don't always live up to the IDEA of the U.S., but we're trying, and YES- I think that's an IDEA worth dying for.
GANGSTAMERICA (Excerpt from the book I'll write sometime in the future)
Yesterday, I was walking around in New York, listening to Prince's New Album "3121", thinking about how much more I liked it than the gangsta rap that's out today. I was ok with the gangsta rap back in the 80's and 90's when it was new, but now it seems as exciting as doing my taxes- and I've been putting that off all year. Then I saw a bumper-sticker:
"Annoy a Conservative: Think Hard, Do Good, Be Happy"
Oh, so witty. The "liberal, left-wing" wit. It changed what I was thinking about. I guess the liberal who had this sticker doesn't want "The Government" intruding on their choices; they wanna feed hungry people, and having that guiltless existence would mean being happy.
And it then occured to me that there very well could be a sister bumper-sticker:
"Annoy a LIBERAL: Think Hard, Do Good, Be Happy"
And I looked it up, and there was one.
No doubt the "conservative, right-wing" bumper-sticker owner doesn't want "The Government" intruding on their choices either, they wanna feed hungry people too, and their guiltless existence means also being happy.
Because really- doesn't each side think that THEY are the ones thinking? That THEY are the ones doing good and being happy?
And someone capitalized on the fact that neither side is thinking at all.
As the country gets more and more polarized, and as BOTH the left and right wings want us to be more and more so, there are people and factions that profit from all of the devisiveness.
Remember back in the 80's and 90's there was all the talk of Gang violence, and how nonsensical it all was? Officials would talk about how young black youth were killing each other over colors; that the Blue "Crips" and the Red "Bloods" were causing a self-inflicted genocide?
It was called "shameful" by the black community, "sad" by the white community, "a blight" by the government, and yet here we are, a little more than ten years later, the entire country is divided by the "Red" states and the "Blue" states.
And then there's the media, working with self-interested politicians to exacerbate the problem.
I'm not sure that the country can keep polarizing itself before we have some violent, Civil War-type of conflict. And there are always spoils to war- and they don't go to the ones doing the fighting. Niether the "Bloods" nor the "Crips" gain anything from their war- sure, a little drug selling territory, but the people who sell the drugs and guns to BOTH OF THEM gain the most.
The hatred between the Bloods and Crips, doesn't grow on it's own- it is FED by the opportunists who stand to gain the most, and the warriors are the pawns in their game.
Just like the liberals and the conservatives.
Whoever is buying those bumper-stickers, wearing the t-shirts, burning the churches, and bombing the hospitals- you're making it easy for the opportunists.
This is AMERICA- We are the envy of the world because of our freedom, but we are using it as a weapon against each other. Freedom is powerful, and without responsibility to govern it, it is chaos. And that is exactly what the opportunists want you to do.
We are ALL supposed to think hard, do good and be happy- and when we ARE all doing that, we'll remember that we are NOT "Red or Blue", "Liberal or Conservative", "Black or White", but instead we'll know WHO we are, WHAT we are, and WHY we are- AMERICA.