This I Believe

David - Des Moines, Iowa
Entered on July 6, 2006
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: equality

This I believe…

…that we all need to look past the simplistic belief of some inherent “superiority” of the United States in our dealings with the world. I believe seeking prosperity at any cost has proven dangerous, and supports perpetual war. I have always been told that “Our” country is intrinsically greater, and that “God is on our side”. I believe that this blind Nationalism is pervasive in many countries, and we all feed on each others posturing. I believe we should measured progress in terms of how well we understand and help each other, not by invoking God or Country. I have met up with this “Me First” issue all my life.

I was ingrained with these ideas all through school. “We”, (my Country and my Church), were always right. I had always thought that when someone gained something at the expense of another person, that there was no real gain. I was corrected by my teachers in school. They told me that The United States was always right; that “Our” religious belief and “Our” country is more important. I remember thinking that half a world away, maybe in China or Iran, some other kid was being taught the same thing in school – about the superiority of his country and religion. Just couldn’t make sense to me. How could both of our countries be “always right”?

Our coach had us all on one knee every week praying for victory over the opposing teams. I wondered why our prayers for victory were more important than the other teams’ prayers. How did God decide which team’s prayers should be answered? We were charged to win the a football game by the grace of God?

When I purchased a Japanese car I was chastised by one family member for not “buying American”. I wondered why it was more important for a worker from an American car company to have a job, than one from a Japanese Car company. Don’t all workers deserve a job? Don’t they all have kids to support? Isn’t the sky just as blue in Japan? I didn’t understand why I should purchase from a company because we shared the same language with many of their workers.

I believe that history will measure our times not by the extent of our powers, but by the level of generosity and care that we practice in the world. Economic strength at the cost of resources and peoples of other countries is not power, it’s the “me first” syndrome. The United States, as do all of the nations on earth, need to lose the blind drive toward “superiority” and citing God as their protector. It cheapens the concept of God, and it cheapens our country. Blind nationalism will keep us at war.

I believe that it’s not “Our Country” vs. “Their Country” – I believe that it’s “Our World”.