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American Mythology

Continuing with my train of thought from yesterday, I have often struggled with certain aspects of our history. There are many truly glorious moments when we as a nation have demonstrated the very best of what it means to be human beings. There are also times where we have shown the very worst side of humanity.

Were the American and Texas Revolutions consistent with the theory of “just war?” When I honestly look over it, I’m seriously inclined to say no. But am I glad they happened? Absolutely. Did we break our treaties with the American Indians (Native Americans)? Yes. Am I glad those happened? Not a bit. Am I the standard by which our national actions/policies to be judged? Not hardly. But I believe myself to be a reasonable person (as most of us usually do assess ourselves). I do believe in American exceptionalism in the sense that we have overall raised the standard of living of most of the world, we give the most charity and are the first to respond to international disasters and many other truly great and noble things. Yet we are far from sinless, and our exceptionalism would be greater if we were better at acknowledging our mistakes and doing what we can to make it right.

However, right now, it is fashionable in the media and the academy to highlight our sins and the skeletons in our closet. There are times and manners where honest self reflection are important and sins to be confessed and atoned for. What concerns me is the titillating way this is being done. We need to realize where we’ve gone wrong and hold our government accountable for those actions. That is when critical navel gazing is beneficial. What is being done now is not beneficial, nor is it being done in a beneficial manner.

We also, as a nation, must have pride in our country and recognize what we’ve brought to the world to improve it. We also need to realize that our good deeds are not necessarily negated by our bad ones. Scripture says that where there is no vision, a people perish. Some translations specify that as the visions of a prophet, others leave it vague. Either way, nations that do not have a common goal or purpose are weaker and less effective and do not shine with the best light of God’s image in which we are created. We need to hear the stories of our true heroes, our true accomplishments, our true visions for what the nation and world can be—not necessarily at the expense of other nations, but rather in bringing the world as a whole to a higher level.

Someone once said, “Whether you say, ‘I can,’ or ‘I can’t,’ you are right.” The same is true for the psyche of a nation. Whether we say, “We are evil,” or “We are a noble, but human, nation,” we are right. Of which nation do you want to be a citizen?


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