Hello friends, Joe P. Reagan here and there is one question on my mind today. World, why must you hate the moral nation of America?
At five o’clock last Friday, like millions of other Americans I happily fled my office and looked forward to a nice weekend of solace and relaxation at home. Fortunately for me, my “Lumberg” didn’t catch me as I was making an exit from the office.
Driving home, I turned on the evening radio as is my custom. There was an interesting talk program playing, reviewing the details of America’s war on Iraq. The figures were staggering; many thousands dead, no real progress, and upwards of $1 trillion dollars wasted, money that could have gone to feed hungry, bring medicine to the destitute, or I don’t know, anything else that doesn’t involve death.
Mulling over the war and such in my mind, I grabbed the remote and flicked on the television. I had several hours of down time before my friends came over for Friday Night poker at Joe’s. Channel-surfing, I happened by Fox News. As if they knew I had been a sinful backslider by listening to liberal radio, the news people quickly reminded me why the troops in Iraq are necessary, and more importantly, my duty as an American.
A context was quickly painted as to why Vladmir Putin is plotting our demise, Arab terrorists are working to destroy our way of life and our allies were not fully trustworthy. A context was painted into what my duties as an American citizen are to be, to my country.
The take home message was this. The world hates America, because they hate freedom. What defines American freedom? It is our conservative roots and values. It is our way of life. It is our economy and commercial markets. As a citizen, I am apparently supposed to listen to my elected leaders, especially from the last administration, to send a unified message to all who would stand in the the peace of American democracy. It can be no other way, America stands united -as one and without question- behind its leaders, right?
From my thoughts, there was one other thing that rang crystal clear in my mind from the news last night, and please excuse me. Fox News, and our government, may be a bit deluded.
My name is Joe Reagan and I’m a very conservative Republican.
If the path to independence and democracy was only the American economy -having a McDonald’s on every corner and a mall in every suburb- Iraq should be a Utopia. When I went backpacking last year with friends, I shouldn’t have had to receive a “travel warning and scenario map” in case of confrontation from my travel agent. The world would embrace the American military, -gun in one hand and McDonald’s sack in the other- as we spread democracy and dollar. Why on Earth aren’t things working out in such a way?
This became my question to have answered by who are always the best sources. The everyday, normal, non-pundit people around me.
As mentioned, I’m a Republican, a very conservative one at that. My circle of friends tend to be something of what you’d call pricks, at times caring more about their portfolios than anything else. These are the type of guys who don’t give much thought to things outside of their small work-every-day, oversee company progress, and drive a nice car home routine.
So as is our custom most Friday nights, we all met up at my place for our standard poker, have a few drinks and talk about guy stuff routine. Still being a bit reflective about the calls and comments from the program earlier (it was really good), I decided to throw a slight curve-ball into the evening.
“Guys,” I asked my well-dressed poker buddies, “why does the world hate the USA?”. Right off the bat,there was some laughter and all-too well knowing looks. Ol’ Joe was ready to make some funny about current US policy.
After some off-handed jokes and being threatened with the immoral “chug of death” for bringing up politics during poker, the guys saw that I was being dead serious. I actually wanted to hear this answered by my conservative circle of friends. Why is the world against the USA? Is it our seeming ignorance, our apathy, our wars…our economy and freedom?
My buddy “Ted” quickly spoke up and gave what was most likely the greatest Southren speech of all time. He’s a big, burly guy, originally from Georgia and has the mannerisms of John Goodman.
He boomed, and I’m trying to quote as accurately as possible: “That’s too easy. We are hated because we’re Americans. We drive nice cars, we have a stable society. We have democracy. They don’t and they never will until we give it to them.”
Without realzing it, Ted revealed a great truth. His answer, though heart-felt, was naive. Despite what some believe, the world doesn’t necessarily hate our freedom or our way of life. As is human nature, the majority of people want peace, quiet, safety and happiness for their loved ones. Is is important to remember that we are all fearfully and wonderfully made, and at the core of humanity is good. That is a major part of human nature.
Right now I believe there is a “public” image, a global one, of America. I think there is an image of an America, unified behind its leaders who have taken disastrous and wasteful actions over the past years. An America that overthrows leaders, tries to implement societal change by guns and markets, and thinks the world owes it a favor and thanks in the process.
Modern media helps feed that very image to the world, leaders continue to “act” on that image and make it a reality, and everyday working shmucks like my friends and I sit around, play poker, and occassionally bring it up as a talking point on Friday nights.
And that’s where we are at today, friends. I sit, Joe P. Reagan, with the news telling me what to think in the background and all while going about my daily routine. I’m one of 300 million Americans. That 300 million of 7 billion people worldwide. All in a planet, together, a drop in in a seemingly infinite universe.
I am here as a human, a man, with my unqiue ideas, my life, and my experiences that none can never fully know. I have friends that I love dearly -despite how ignorant some of them may be- and a daily routine just like any other person on this Earth. I love peace, stability and freedom. I am betting you do too, in a life that is just as full of routine, experiences and good friends.
So as we sit here -our lives traveling together on this planet for what is only a relatively brief portion of time- my point today is this. There is no reason why the world should hate America, there is no reason why Americans should hate or fear the world. Ones who would try to make us believe such things, no matter who they may be, either missed out on hugs in their childhood, or have a twisted agenda against the progress of mankind as a whole. The teachings of Christ show us we should love and embrace all, and seek to go forward in progress together.
That’s our mission, and to that end we must remain resolute.
=Joe P. Reagan=