This is going to be a random entry. I have just read and listened to lots of things recently that illustrate the craziness, both good and bad, of this country of ours.
First, a United States citizen is suing the federal government because they are trying to kill him without any sort of trial, outside of a war zone. This article from Glenn Greenwald explains, and here’s a quote:
“Just how perverse is the Obama administration’s assassination program is reflected in the rights Awlaki is forced to assert. He alleges — as the Complaint puts it — that the Government is violating his “Fifth Amendment Right Not to be Deprived of Life Without Due Process.” Just re-read that and contemplate that in Barack Obama’s America, that right even needs to be contested.”
How crazy is this? I have been listening to Dan Carlin’s Common Sense podcast and it is eye-opening. The reason no politician talks about this is because both parties do this kind of stuff when they are in power. Carlin asks, if we live in a country that is forever at war, and many senators have said the war on terror may last decades (of course it will, how do you win a war on terror?) and if the president has special powers (like being able to order the killing of US citizens without trials) during war, then we live in a totalitarian government, don’t we? Maybe we are not the whole way there yet, but it makes you wonder how people who lived in countries that later became totalitarian felt as it was happening. Perhaps they felt like us: they either didn’t know, didn’t care or were helpless.
Other weird stuff is going on too in regards to America and Islam. Some church in Florida, that is not really well-known even in the town it is in but has somehow gotten worldwide exposure (the media creating a story so they do not report on the important stuff like the government killing American citizens?) for its plan to burn Qur’ans. When has book burning ever been a good idea? Pretty much everyone agrees this church and its pastor are ignorant for doing this. It will certainly not draw anyone closer to Christ. Ironically, the name of the church is “Dove”.
On the other hand, one of the great things about America are our freedoms. People have the freedom to burn religious texts while adherents to those religions can build churches pretty much wherever they want. Of course, some Americans are not happy with Muslims exercising this freedom in New York city by building a community center (mosque?) near Ground Zero. This story has been beaten to death (perhaps not so ironically just prior to mid-term elections…in order to fire people up and distract us from other issues? Remember the fourth amendment?). At any rate, you have to love how the same freedoms allow people to build churches and ridicule religion. That is not found everywhere.
Freedoms are great, but at times our freedoms have led us to excess. David Brooks reviews a book by David Platt, a pastor who argues that the American dream of more, more, more is quite at odds with the message of Jesus.
Finally, it always helps to get a view from others. It gives perspective. So here are some observations on America by a visitor from Ireland.
America, like all countries throughout history, has her good and her bad. Some things are funny, some depressing, some scary.
That’s life in good ole’ America.