Time for a New Approach…

I lost at least one friend because of my opinions back in September 2001, and I’m fully aware the same may happen again, but there are things need saying–and I’m going to say them. If that means someone un-friends me, I can live with that.

Today I read an article on what Osama bin Laden’s place will be in history. I’m not sure I quite agree with the way everything is stated in it, but it does bear reading if only to learn more about the situation.

One bit in particular spoke to me. Burleigh writes, “Bin Laden was convinced that the consumerist and hedonistic Americans were a weaker proposition than the Soviets, and that he could bring down the US too.” [having taken credit for the Soviets failing in Afghanistan]

“Consumerist and hedonistic Americans”. This is how Bin Laden and others around the world saw us, and continue to see us. Why? Because as one friend put it yesterday, we take more than our share. We want more and more, for less and less, and we feel entitled to it.

We fill our lives with so much crap that in order to make it easier and cheaper to produce and less expensive for consumers, most American manufacturing has moved overseas, where there are far fewer environmental regulations regarding production of the items we “can’t live without”, and a “fair living wage” for those workers is pennies on the dollar. We have a job crisis right now because we’ve been exporting jobs, instead of quality goods. That’s why Alpha and I try our best to buy “MADE IN U.S.A.” whenever we can. It isn’t so much the threat of lead and other hazards in toys, although that is a concern as well. America created our own job crisis. Thanks, Walmart.

The fact is, we as a nation have allowed the “American Dream” to become an expectation…something that we are owed. And even after we obtain what we believed that dream would be (e.g., a home, a steady job), we aren’t satisfied and search for more to fill the void in our “dream” (pristine lawns, bigger TVs, movie collections, gaming systems, computers, a second car, a boat, an RV, a vacation home…etc., etc., etc.). And then there are the drugs, the alcohol, the “obesity-epidemic”-contributing fast food and junk that fills the shelves of every grocery, big-box, and convenience store from sea-to-shining-sea.

No attack is ever without provocation. The kids who bring guns to school and mow down their classmates before ending their own lives do it because they are suffering and no one does enough to help them. When an employee “goes postal”, it’s because he or she has put up with so much crap at work without appropriate recognition or compensation. Likewise, when terrorists attack, it is because something is a threat or offense to them–whether real or perceived.

I am not saying September 11th was justified. What I AM saying, is that if we genuinely want to stop future attacks, killing other people and ravaging countries with firepower are not the way to do it.

We are not always correct. We are not always the good guys. No one is.

If we want to stop people who hate us from attacking us, we should at least ask ourselves WHY they hate us. I’ve got news–It’s NOT JUST because we are free here to express our opinions (thank you for listening). It’s NOT JUST because we allow our citizens to practice whatever religion they choose to. It’s NOT JUST because women have the same liberties as men.

As I see it, we as a nation are hated because these things that we have come to take for granted in our country, we also try to impose on other countries because we believe it is how everyone should live. And we do this how? By sending an army to tell others how to do things. We are not infallible. I’m not saying that it’s okay that in some parts of the world, people are tortured and killed because they want to practice a different spiritual path, or that the general populace is not allowed to vote, or that women are treated like cattle. But there are BETTER WAYS to bring about change in this world of ours than by beating it with a stick until it gives in. Maybe Bin Laden and al Qaeda would not have responded to this sort of dialogue anyway–but did we try? Have we EVER tried such a foreign-affairs approach?

Take a look at your own lives…at the desk you are sitting at or the room you are in. How much do you see that you really need? I know I’ve got a ton of crap sitting around, serving no immediate purpose, and yet I have it. At some point, obviously, I felt I “needed” it. Now I have to wonder how much simpler life would be if I got rid of 95% of it and could keep myself from just filling up that empty, flat-surface with something else again.

We take more than our share. We import gasoline for our cars, toys for our children, food, raw materials…what’s next, siphoning oxygen from other parts of the world to refresh smog-covered U.S. cities? We need to be better stewards of what we’ve got. We need to be more mindful of how and what we consume and surround ourselves with. And when people are hurting–whether it’s a high school kid being picked on, an employee who’s been kicked around too much, a homeless family who can’t get back on their feet, civilians half-way around the world longing for change in their own country, or religious extremists with a grudge and too much time and money on their hands (whether a new Bin Laden, or our very own Fred Phelps)–however pitiful, lazy, incompetent, or hateful we feel they are, maybe it’s time for a new approach.

We need to ask the hard questions until we get to the very root of the issue, because even the ideas that seem unfounded originated somewhere. Odds are, they’ve morphed so much that the original reason got lost, and simply examining it together would bring some understanding to all of us.

“I’m concerned about a better world. I’m concerned about justice; I’m concerned about brotherhood; I’m concerned about truth. And when one is concerned about that, he can never advocate violence. For through violence you may murder a murderer, but you can’t murder murder. Through violence you may murder a liar, but you can’t establish truth. Through violence you may murder a hater, but you can’t murder hate through violence. Darkness cannot put out darkness; only light can do that.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., August 16, 1967 — “Where Do We Go From Here?,” Delivered at the 11th Annual SCLC Convention in Atlanta, Georgia.

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~ by MamaWolf on May 3, 2011.

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