Wednesday, May 22, 2013

War on war

I'm temporarily scrapping what was supposed to be my follow-up post to the one I wrote on choices. In its place, I'm writing one on war and guns that I'm sure some of you will hate--which is ok. This has been something I've become increasingly frustrated with, so I wanted to take the time to address it.

In the wake of the tragedy at Sandy Hook this past December, suddenly the entire country has wanted to debate the merits of gun control. Everyone seems to be pretending that this issue came out of nowhere, rather than recognizing that destructive mindsets about the issue have been simmering for years. The main issue being the negative rhetoric of the N.R.A. and gun manufacturers on the issue. We should be asking, why are these things happening and how can we prevent them in the future? Instead, the sole focus has centered on 'the right to bear arms.' Basically, gun owners and supporters have argued, "I have the right to own guns, lots of guns, and take them anywhere, and if you try to take them away I won't hesitate to use them." I'm not sure when the USA government declared its stated goal was to ban all weapons and subsequently work to enslave its citizens by stripping their freedoms, but gun owners seem to believe this will occur if guns are taken away. Last time I checked, citizens running around doling out vigilante justice via concealed handguns, if anyone threatened them, was not the purpose of the second amendment. Also, where my well regulated militias at? Oh that's right, militias nowadays have a different name: see white supremacist groups. Lobbyists with the NRA are ensuring that these fine folks have access to firearms so that they can carry out hate crimes, intimidate people, and create problems that require the government to physically engage them. Don't forget, gun manufacturers are reaping all the profits and don't particularly care if people will mental illnesses, histories of violence, or any other glaring issues purchase their products. As a result, we've created a system that provides no accountability and attacks anyone who disagrees. In fact, I believe that this system is, in many ways, responsible for the post WWII notion that the U.S. should police the world. 

If asked to sum up the typical attitude of a gun owner in the U.S. towards those they disagree with I'd describe it this way: convert, or I'll force to convert, and if you don't I'll kill you. For many, there's no longer a place for those who hold differing opinions. You're either with us or you're a terrorist. Apparently, after 1945, we've determined that the world needs our approval to do anything. We bring democracy, we bring prosperity, we replace dictators that don't listen to us with those who do. Somewhere along the way we dragged God into it. Suddenly, we have decided that America is the only Christian nation. Apparently Jesus was a Republican, who owned guns, and came to rid the world of liberal influence. I have heard people say that America is the only hope for the world. How sad it has truly become if we believe that. America was founded on religious tolerance and freedom, but apparently we've decided that only extends to Christians and white people with Western European heritage. Now, don't misunderstand me, I believe in the certainty of what Jesus has done and its eventual fulfillment. I am a Christian, I believe the Bible in its entirety, I don't believe that all religions lead to the same truth. There's one truth, in my mind, and it's Jesus. However, that doesn't mean that I believe people should face discrimination, be mocked, or hunted down as terrorists because they believe differently. I want to love people I disagree with, because it's the right thing to do. Hate is easy, it doesn't require sacrifice, it reduces people to stereotypes, objects, and it dehumanizes them. We need to stop dehumanizing people. This isn't a video game. Our lives are not expendable. The last truly just war America fought was WWII. We do have a moral imperative to act in defense of those actions which are indefensible. The actions of Hitler were indefensible, he took lives willingly and without remorse, and he ordered others to do the same. However, since then, we have fought wars that were not just and were not noble. Our men and women have been sacrificed so that defense companies got rich and that we could proclaim our own greatness. And along the way, we've managed to suggest that God would support our exercises in 'righteousness.' How dare we. Now, disagreeing with how a country is governed, is viewed as our right to bring freedom to that country. In the world we live in, we've determined that America is now God. But, we are not 'slow to anger, and quick to forgive.' In fact, I'm betting there are people ready to quickly forgive me, with a gun to my head, at the end of this.

To all of those out there that disagree with me I'd like to say this: I may disagree with you, but that doesn't mean I think less of you. I'd encourage everyone (myself included) to reevaluate your positions on these issues. Try loving people instead of hating them. Leave the judgement to God. Honestly, it's incredibly comforting to me to realize I don't control the fate of the world. I would never want to, that's a war you just can't win. 

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