Celebrating freedom this year has taken a very different turn. What I'm about to share may sound unpatriotic - especially on the 4th of July. Nonetheless I can't seem to shake the ideas. We (the USA) sent a rocket into space
today. Tonight the predominance of Americans will watch or launch some type of fire driven explosive device in the name of independence. Yet, we chastise the North Koreans for launching
on a larger scale earlier today. Are these just today's pyrotechnics
? Why are so many American's proud of our independence and simultaneously dismayed as North Korea expresses theirs
I'm not trying to say that I endorse the missiles and potential atomic warfare that North Korea is engineering. Neither do I believe that America embodies some 'greater good'
that is entitled to have such powers at its disposal. I mark today as another day of dissonance between words and deeds.
Last month I saw the media splash images of the dead 'enemy'
American troops had bombed and killed - the dead face of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi
still comes comes to mind. I remember being outraged that the morning news culture and many of its viewers had grown callous enough to show/view the image of this man's dead face (I saw it on ABC) again and again without anything other than celebration as if to say, "We killed their leader. Nanny nanny foo foo." Sure the guy above lead others in unspeakable and atrocious things; but, I don't want to celebrate his murder.
Although I'm not endorsing the behaviors of al Qaeda or the North Koreans, I am dismayed at the Independence Day rhetoric that rejoices in death and engages mild hysteria in the face of other cultures attempting to express their own independence. I can't help thinking that the North Korean missile launch today carries the weight of a question far greater than the media's implied message of, "Do you think they're going to bomb us?" (Which by the way, is probably the very question on the minds of many in the middle east these days in reference to the US.)
Today as patriotic swags flap in the breeze and the air waves fill with anthems and lingo endorsing our life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness I find myself asking, "At what cost?" Are Americans the only ones who get to choose what liberty or happiness look like for ourselves and others?
I think many a wise person has argued historically that liberty gained at the expense of others is not really freedom
. America is starting to come off more like a self-appointed world dictator than a global champion for democracy.
Despite my pride in the many young American's risking their safety in the name of preserving freedom (including my nephew-in-law currently deployed in Iraq) today's headlines help to confirm that the old message of 'Safe & Sane'
is going a little Ballistic
. Although I certainly don't have the answers, a myriad of questions have been exploding through my mind as I listen to the repeated booms of fireworks throughout my neighborhood tonight. The sky lights up here with a bang and we say, "Oooh. Ahh..." The same thing happens half a world away and by now, there are probably many who have learned from experience to think, "Take cover, the American's are bombing again."