As I sit here annoyed with MTV’s boring programming and the horrible vee-jays of Fuse, I can’t help but be reminded of how much I hate this country. This may be an extreme, but these are the words that overwhelm my thoughts. Narcissism is the word of choice—this word is my argument against American culture. This word is also the biggest critique against postmodernity. Contemporary philosopher Ken Wilber points out that religious pluralism has a major flaw. Pluralistic individualism allows everyone to do their own thing, thus there is no need to truly care about anyone else. This is a broad generalization and pluralism can be a good thing, but individualism is prone to show the dark of humankind—something very prominent in American culture.
So as I was watching TV, learning to how “pimp my ride,” wondering what would happen if that money was directed towards something substantial. To make things worse, the news did a story on people from Indiana protesting immigrants…you know, that last legal form of racism. C.S. Lewis once discussed that our culture has not truly progressed since such tragedies as the witch trials. He discusses that people stopped burning witches because of scientific discoveries not because killing others was a distortion of Christian faith. Advances in science lead many to leave behind their superstitions. Advances in science lead many to leave their Christian faith that gave them the belief that killing witches was wrong. Current immigrant issues further this argument. Americans have had racist attitudes since the beginning: Native Americans, then blacks, then Mexicans, back to blacks, Asians, gays, and now immigrants. The concept of privilege is still so foreign to spoiled America. The dominant culture (and I dare say, very white in body and/or mindset) cannot understand that this country thrives because of the web of corrupt social systems. We are able to live so well because others are not.
We speak so often of “freedom,” but we do not realize that freedom and “equality” cannot coexist—this tension is easy to see. Perhaps “equality” should be the true goal of this country. This ideal would truly bring about the redistribution of wealth and jobs along with the redistribution of justice and peace for all. “Freedom” brings about ideas of the American Dream—rising yourself up on your own. But “equality” calls for community engagement. Unfortunately, the evils of “freedom” are winning. Many Americans response to immigration issues has shown the hatred in this nation. Masked under the rhetoric of “personal freedom” hatred against immigrants is socially acceptable. There are many arguments about the complexity of this issue, but I simply propose that Christians are called to accept the outsider as the leaders of our spiritual journey once did. The issues surrounding immigration may be complex but the response should be simple. They are humans that deserve our respect, not our hatred. We have no right to throw them out of a country that we just happened to be born into. We truly have no right to this country either.
Anytime I see the phrase “God bless America,” the aspiring pacifist in me wants to hurt someone. In contrast to that saying, I offer a more accurate one: “God, please bless America for we have recently learned that we are not.” It is not very catchy and is rather drawn out, but it gets the point across. I do not consider myself a pessimist; I am simply Christian who is sick of living in a land rich with apathy and capitalism. I am a Christian who refuses to give into a corrupt system just because it’s the way things are. This country is fucked up, but it is not beyond repair and I will not let people continue the hopeless lies of defeat.