Who Now Believes America?
By Roy D. Follendore III
Copyright (c) RDFollendoreIII
July 25, 2003
As an American I believe in America. That is to say I believe in what America is supposed to stand for. The majority of Americans feel the same way. But that is not the precise question that is being asked in this essay. The question is simply: Who believes America? Who believes us?
That question is a lot more tricky than we might think. We are a civilization known for our entertainment trickery. We are also known for our political trickery. We are casual about this. Who could forget that President Nixon was nicknamed "Tricky Dick." NASA has been repeatedly questioned by skeptics about the reality of the moon missions.
On the other side of the coin, there are Star Trek actors that have fans who simply refuse to believe that they are not the real thing. Maybe deep down they know reality but suspended disbelief is like giving up the notion of Santa. Somehow we would all like to believe, even if we don't. Religion is like that and the "true" believers call it faith.
Belief systems have to do with emotional balance as much as they have to do with reality. Human beings need to believe in something, not only because that is the way that our brains work, but because it gives us the perspective that we need to continue. Without absolute belief in something it becomes impossible to carry on in life. The moment that man discovered the inevitability of physical death, we began to believe in the impossible existence of our soul. Belief is a reservoir from which we choose our perspective of life. Right, wrong, truth, and justice all become simplistic factors when integrated into the enormous concept of belief.
This is because belief is a particularly social kind of thing. It spreads and it dissipates through personal contact. It requires nourishment from others. We watch beautiful sunsets and call our loved ones to watch it with us so that we can not only share the moment, we can share a moment of belief in the instantaneous infinite beauty surrounding us. Beauty is another seed of belief. But hatred is a belief seed as well.
I have previously written essays to the effect that once America wins the unilateral military war in Iraq, we would be left with a great dilemma. It is impossible for a foreign civilization to independently invade and hold another against their will by force and simultaneously establish the kind of trust necessary to to establish the seeds of belief. And this is the great flaw in our occupation of Iraq. It is their belief that Iraq is their country to succeed or fail as they see fit.
Thanks to the Bush Doctrine, there are few people in the world who do not respect our military forces. But it is equally true that because of the Bush Doctrine the people who believe that what we have done and are doing in Iraq is about justice and democracy are fewer. What America may have gained in military advantage, it has more than lost in the belief systems of humanity. It is impossible to order the military to destroy an embedded system of belief without destroying the civilization. Our Army Generals can not simply be ordered to go in and "turn-around" such a problem and be expected to have success. The ancient Greeks, Romans and Egyptians were much better at such things and had no scruples about using imperial belief destruction tools such as persecution, genocide and slavery on conquered civilizations.
Such tools are also not only repugnant to most Americans, they are against our own inherent beliefs and fundamental interests. Ultimately, the only political alternative to the dilemma is one that is diametrically counter to the Bush administration's policy. We must engage in understanding and embracing the strength that exists within the belief system of our world. To get to this point, America will have to reach the consensus that the United States is not an island of belief unto itself.
The political tide of belief is turning. The support of the United Nations is required to fix this festering wound that we have created. Like the Doctors in the Philippines who recently tried to separate the conjoined adult twins from Iran, America has found that good intentions are not enough. If we can not close the wound resulting from the gross "surgery" of war our political involvement can never be declared a success. I believe that UN involvement is inevitable result because the American belief system that we do not fail in what we have begun is at risk.
History is being written that the Bush administration has been been focusing so much on its religiously founded political beliefs in the power of big centralized Government, that it has allowed enormous failures to continue to pile upon the shores of the American people. In the eyes of the world, the accountability of America is in question. Until the accountability of this administration is attended to in a public forum, the credibility of America's intentions will continue to be held in suspicion.
It should be obvious that our economy is on hold because considerate people of this world have become fearful of the consequences regarding our nations unilateral "go it alone" policies of diplomacy and global military actions. The interconnected nature of our planet has demonstrated that the beliefs of even the most powerful civilization can be suspended and held in check without economic collapse. Few people really want this golden goose of the world to fail.
This gets us back to the question we began with. Who believes America? The answer is that one way or the other everyone believes America, but believing us and believing in us have become two very different things. This is the number one international diplomatic problem that our best educated career diplomats need to be prepared to solve when they are given the chance by the American voters.
Copyright (c) 2001-2007 RDFollendoreIII All Rights Reserved