Thursday, June 12, 2008

Country Guilt

Greetings fellow Network of Love Lovers!

Rain continues to fall here in Milwaukee. With one more inch of rain, we break the record for rainfall during the month of June. I can't help but recall that famous children's song lyric, "rain, rain go away...come back another day!" Maybe in like a week or two? Give us some time to breathe and heal from the flooding of last weekend! Come on Mother Nature...

I was talking with a woman today who had lived in Spain for a part of her life. I happened to bring up the fact that I had visited El Salvador several weeks ago. Just summarizing briefly some of the feelings I felt there, I mentioned a little bit to her and the other people in the room about the ironic sense of guilt I felt for the people who were slaughtered, devastated, torn by the civil war of the 1980's. I say the guilt is ironic because I personally had nothing to do with the U.S. policies during the time of the war. However, it's hard to not feel guilty when you learn that the country you claim citizenship from spent 2 MILLION DOLLARS A DAY helping to fund a civil war in which thousands of people lost there live and countless others still feel after effects of a twelve year long struggle for democracy. What makes you feel even slimier---and what makes the U.S seem so terribly hypocritical and evil in context---is that you learn the government was helping to fund an oppressive military run government that basically saw equality as something to be stepped on.

With liberty and justice for all? Did this not apply to those being oppressed in El Salvador before and during the time of the war?

I brought up the fact that the woman I was talking to today had lived in Spain because she had touched on this same idea of feeling guilt for your country's policies. While in Spain, she had seen the citizens of that country become appalled when our government decided to move in a military base. The people there, she said, did not want the U.S. to come and bully its way into the military structure of the Spanish government. Understandable enough.

This question of whether or not the U.S. oversteps its boundary comes up time and time again. If we look at Iraq, I could say that we've had our foot in that door for far far too long. My words would be supported by a strong majority in our country.

And yet, as sad as it is, President Bush recently said, referring to the situation in Iran, that "all cards are on the table." He wants to first try diplomatic means to quiet the heated Iranian president. But, he sees the possibility of a future military battle---war?---with Iran. Maybe I'm putting words in his mouth. Or maybe I'm just reading between the lines.

This guilt about being a U.S. citizen is troubling and it can sometimes make a person feel as if they are "anti-American." My friend who had lived in Spain and I talked about that today. However, there is nothing wrong with questioning authority---or even wanting the current authority out. Our country is founded on the principle that at anytime we can change the current state of the union with the voting process.

And so, as we head towards November, let's start to think about some of the things we feel guilt for as Americans. How can this guilt be transformed into positive change? Where does this guilt go? What candidate will bring a less guilt-filled conscience to the U.S? We have to look at important issues near---and important issues far. Whether we like it or not, our country has dipped its hand into the world cookie jar. We are a global community. We are all undeniably connected. Let's use this TO OUR ADVANTAGE to bring about a world wide HOPE for a brighter future for our children, for our neighbors, and for ourselves. Let's bring some light into the world instead of being weighed down by too much country guilt.

PEACE to my brothers and sisters...

with love,

your friend bob.

1 comment:

Chuck said...

Your observations are correct about the problems of U S involvement with other countries. Into the mix, toss the fact that many of the military dictators are graduates or at least were trained at the School of the Americas which is a U S backed institution. We speak nice words of democracy but when a Latin American country tries to establish one which we are not in agreement with, we suppress it.