Friday, July 04, 2008

Patriotic Thoughts on Independence Day

Back in the days of black-and-white thinking, characterized by childhood and adolescence, my mind was cluttered with a romanticized concept of war and warriors. One where the good guys were defined – by default – simply for being American and a Christian, ideas which were synonymous in my view.

I played war and collected hundreds of GI Joe action figures. I remember hearing and believing that war was okay because it was good for the economy. I recall my pastor preaching from the pulpit that God nodded approvingly at war and that killing in the name of America was biblically sound. That Bob Dylan song comes to mind.

I’m not sure, despite the call to arms from today’s Christian politicians and television pulpits, that the Iraq War has God’s mark of approval. I do not buy into the “Christ the War Hammer” line of thinking. And is anyone still making the argument that war is good for the economy?

But here we are – July 4, 2008 – and the Iraq War rages on. My good buddy, Gabe, is currently making his third appearance in President Bush’s conflict-for-nothing. It is my impression that my soldier-friend is glad to do so. We have supported him all these long years he’s spent over there, mostly by sending care packages and correspondence. He comes and sees me when he is on leave. We usually go down to Busiek State Park and shoot some rounds at the outdoor firing range, although we haven’t done that in about a year.

I’m thinking of Gabe today. I hope he makes it home safe. I supposed I should be waving my flag and praising my government today, but I am not. I don’t see that as patriotism. When my a person I know sends out racist pictures, I let him know it upsets me, and when my president lies to me and gets me into a war-for-nothing, then I let him know that upsets me too. To me, critical thinking is patriotic. Standing up for what is right is patriotic.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I hope Gabe and all the others come home soon. We pray for them and their families. It is patriotic to stand up for what is right. Our forefathers did when they wanted their independence from British rule. War is horrible and makes me sad.