Wednesday, September 10, 2003

On the eve of the two-year anniversary of the attacks on our country, I should say something. First, we're going to hear a lot of blather about how President Bush uses overtly religious language to cast his foreign policy in favorable terms. Supposedly how he really believes in the American Civil Religion, that we have a special place in the world, how Americans think we are a "chosen people" like we are God's very own...yadda yadda yadda, blah blah. Look, people: We happen to live in the modern day equivalent of the Roman Empire. Nations rise and fall in this time based on what the United States does, and does not do. If that makes you squirmy, it should. It doesn't change the fact. Now, with all that power comes obligation. You want some religious language, here's some. To whom much is given, much is expected. You had better believe we're going to make sure people understand the gravity of the choices we make. And if you were in posession of this power, you'd try to use it, hopefully for some long-term collective good. And if that articulation comes out a little utopian, and--Heaven forbid!--religious, well, too bad. At least you understand we're serious.
Some might say this nation-building is really arrogant, that we shouldn't say our culture is better. Well, I will. The West is better, and if that really bothers you, get over it. We're not debating whether chopping off the heads of people we don't like is a healthy thing. I refer you to the Ranting Screeds of James Lileks, who makes this point better than I.
I know my country is not God's kingdom. I know the Lord's wrath will come on many things American. But I also know that other things American are worth fighting for. End of Story.

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