On September 11, during a period of reflection for many in the United States, our country found itself under assault once again. Our diplomatic envoys to various countries in the Islamic world are threatened and some Americans have been killed.
Many Americans are angered that our country has been threatened and many more are critical of our current administration for projecting weakness, rather than strength, which may have emboldened those who threatened us.
We should project strength as a country. I am not sure about how flagrant we should be in projecting that strength, but foreign policy decisions are not made by me. But I have some questions. People have told me that I ask many questions but do not provide the answers. Maybe that is because I don't know the answer, but only the question. Maybe that is because there is no good answer to some questions. Or, perhaps, it is because the best way for someone to accept an answer is for that person to think about the question and discover the answer for themselves.
Here is my first question "Is America hated in the Islamic world?"
Ask most anyone in the last few days and the response will likely be YES! But that is likely a generalization based on the news feeds that are pumped through our homes and offices. Some people hate the United States, but how are we to know the extent of that sentiment? How do we even know the motivation of the people who are part of the mob? I think it is likely that many mobs in the Islamic world the past year or so had lots of people who didn't know why they were there. Were they mad? Yes. Were they whipped up into a fury? Yes.
But, could we not edit video from the Democratic National Convention in such a way as to present people in America as Anti-God and Anti-Jerusalem? After all there were people shouting and booing at the change in the party platform. Does that mean all Americans are trying to shout down things related to God and Jerusalem?
What about all of the other people who were not a part of the mobs? Where is the camera filming the families in their homes upset at the violence? Were people who were not participating in the mobs at home because they could not get there? In other words, if they could have been a part of the mob, would they have been a part of it? Or were they opposed to it? Were they indifferent? There are many things we don't know about the people in the mobs and those who were not in the mobs. We can be sure that some hate us, but many we just don't know about.
The Second question is “Should we be hated as a nation?”
As an American I want to say, NO! After all, we want peace, democracy, and stability in the world. We are the shining city on a hill, (though we have had some brown outs since electing our current administration) and stand for what is good and right in the world. We have the moral high ground. That is what I want to believe. That is the type of country I want to live in. But is that the type of country that I actually live in?
I sometimes wonder if we don't act more like a bully than a positive role model. We flex our muscles with our military. Project our power far from our shores to make sure we get our way. We also use our bank account to pay people to agree with us. Our “foreign aid” looks to me like we are trying to flex our economic muscles rather than to really help people.
In school, the bully gathered a group of people around and threatened to punch them if they didn't do what he wanted. If he had a fat bank account he could also threaten to cut people off if they did not do what he wanted. The bully was a leader. He was a leader who lead with force. People would follow him, out of fear or because they thought they could get what they wanted by following him. Eventually people lose the fear of a bully and start to fight back.
A bully is not a good leader. A good leader is strong, but doesn't have to flex his muscles in front of everyone. A good leader does what is best, not simple what he wants. A good leader helps people because it is the right thing to do, not to control them.
I want my country to be a good leader, but why do I get the feeling that we have been acting like a bully?
If we are acting like a bully, rather than a leader, how would we fix it? Well I think that we would have to have leaders running the country, not bullies. But I think we have been electing bullies lately. I hope things get better.