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What makes America great? Why do Americans think they're better?

Once in a State of the Union message, President Obama said "the future is ours to win."

The future is ours to win.

Ours to win?

This statement is as utterly fantastically oxymoronic as it is ludicrously incredible. It doesn't make any sense. The future happens. How can someone win the future? Win what, and over whom? Of course, the gathered congressmen and women applauded this ridiculous statement much as a collection of lunatics at an asylum would if one of them got up and said "We can win the sky."

The statement drips with arrogance. The future is ours. We own it. We're better.

Why do Americans think they're better than people in India, China, South America?

We can't deny we think we're better. That would be dishonest. There are too many examples in word and song to quote from. For example, in the song America the Beautiful, I think we can all agree that America has beautiful places. But a stanza says "God shed his grace on thee."

God is therefore Pro-American. God, the creator of the universe, of all things and all people, set aside special favors for America, a country established a mere 220 years ago and represented like other countries by an artificial borderline created by men. The property inside this border was acquired by outright conquest, pushing out its former inhabitants, Indians and Mexicans, or by the Louisiana Purchase or the Alaskan purchase.

Hawaii was acquired because as Ronald Reagan used to put it in describing the Panama Canal, "We stole it fair and square," in this case, from its rightful queen.

Why would God bless a country that came into being from acquisitions made through outright theft or the expenditure of money? Is it because we're better people, kinder, more giving, more moral? Would God bless an action that exterminated our Native American population? Maybe in addition to owning the future; the future is ours to win as Obama said.

Maybe we own God too.

American the beautiful? Why is it I never hear anyone else say such a thing about their country? Is our country the only beautiful country? I never hear a Hindu say "India the incredible," or a Senegalese say "Senegal the super."

In our National Anthem, Francis Scott Key penned the words "Land of the free, and the home of the brave."

Home of the brave. Land of the Free?

There are brave people here, there's no doubt. But at the time that song was written, Cherokee Tribal leaders in Georgia were formulating their own written alphabet and attempting to live in log cabins and be farmers like their white neighbors with the hope of being accepted despite the color of their skins. Instead, they were stripped of their land and force-marched at gun-point to what would later become the State of Oklahoma. Thousands died on the way, called The Trail of Tears.

Was it the "land of the free" for them? How about blacks and women who couldn't vote?

Also, if we're as great as we apparently think we are, why did it take until 2008 to elect a person of color president? Why did it take almost as long for a black person to be able to order a sandwich at a lunch counter? And why, if we're as great as we think we are, did the first president of color have to ask us to be better people in the wake of a mindless shooting in Arizona that left several people including a nine-year-old girl dead?

That was a few years ago. Now we have a new mindless shooting in Colorado.

Home of the brave?

This seems to indicate we have more brave people than other countries. After all, we're the home, the center-piece, the capitol….of the brave. If we're the home of the brave, other countries must have fewer brave people. We didn't say in that phrase that we are one of many homes of the brave. There's only one home mentioned. It's us.

Thus, we must have virtually sole ownership of courage.

Why are we better than other people? Is it because we have a higher standard of living? Because we have more material possessions than other countries? No one could deny our past material success. We have the biggest refrigerators in the world.

Most Americans are Christians. This is a Christian country. Jesus, the Son of God, and I don't claim to be a religious person or a religious scholar. But Jesus taught frugality and humility. He overturned the tables of the money changers at the temple. Are we better because we have more cars than other countries when Jesus only possessed a single robe and walked barefoot along the Sea of Galilee?

Many of the world's impoverished immigrants want to come here from countries like Mexico. So it must be jobs that make us better, the abundance and promise of jobs, and the materialism that results from having a salary.

But materialism flies in the face of the very basis of Christianity and m

Is the possession of guns why we're better?
uch of what Christ preached. Did Christ wear robes of gold? No. Simple peasant homespun cloth. Christ renounced the trappings of wealth and power, both of which any reasonable American would have to honestly admit characterize this country. Nobody would say we aren't the wealthiest country in the world and the most powerful militarily.

The most important Americans are successful and rich. They also have power. Christ stood in opposition to money and power, and for this he was crucified. Therefore, according to Christ's teachings, we must be Anti-Christian.

Is it because we fight against tyranny that we're better? Certainly our participation in World War II to rid the world of Adolph Hitler was commendable. But what about our subjugation of the Philippines in 1900, or the half dozen times we've meddled in the affairs of or invaded Nicaragua. What about the official government lies that promoted the Vietnam War, or the million Iraqis killed over false weapons of mass destruction?

It's been a mixed bag of good and bad. We don't have sole ownership of either morality or patriotism. So why do we act like we do? A line from a song says, "I'm proud to be an American, where at least I know I'm free."

At least I know I'm free.

At least?

This statement seems to indicate that much of the rest of the world isn't free. We certainly enjoy more freedom than countries like China, North Korea and Iran, though some rights have been removed with the Patriot Act. But other countries have constitutional forms of government just like we do, Canada, England, Australia and others. Other countries also have freedom of religion. You can be a Jew and live in Canada.

That doesn't mean I take freedom for granted.

There are only three major differences I can see between America and much of the rest of the world—- socialized government-run health care, which most other countries have and we don't, higher taxes, and guns.

Higher taxes are related to materialism. You want to make more money and keep more. You don't want the government to take your money. That's understandable. But Christ taught other-worldliness and sharing, so it's perhaps Un-Christian to want to horde income.

It's hard to say what Christ would have thought about government-provided health care, but he did heal the sick and the poor who were sick according to scripture.

That leaves just guns.

Americans alone among the countries of the world equate the right to own weapons including automatic weapons as a right that makes us greater than other countries. It's the possession of guns that makes us superior. Other countries have amber waves of grain and beautiful spacious skies like the song says, but they don't have the right to own virtually any type of weapon which is why America has more senseless murders than the rest of the world combined…. because it has more guns.

More, the concept of more, is key to what America is.

I'm not against the right to own a firearm. I am against the right to own an automatic weapon after a limp, weak character background check. I also think Christ would personally oppose firearms. I just can't picture him being in favor of a hidden Glock pistol.

That's the answer.

Possessiveness and the possession of guns is why we're better, why we're America the Beautiful. I love my country, but I don't love it as much as I love my wife. And I don't feel any better than someone in another country just because I have a big refrigerator and a gun.

Other people will disagree, but America in some ways is a profoundly armed, Un-Christian country.

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"American Greatness | What Makes America Great"
Editorial ID #12414, 1430 words, first released July 28, 2012, 6:00 pm
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