Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Freedom, Freedom, Freedom

If I were to sum up President Bush's 2006 State of the Union Speech, it would go something like this:

Freedom, Good.
Terrorism, Bad.
Freedom, Good.
Isolationism, Bad.
Freedom = Prosperity.
Taxes = Bad.

First, I want to sincerely thank the President for acknowledging the death of Coretta Scott King, and recognizing the contribution of the King's to American society. The legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr and Coretta Scot King shall endure!

Next, Bush's foreign policy rhetoric can be packaged into one word, repeated constantly - Freedom. Admittedly, Bush talks strong on foreign policy and American security. With words like, "Every step toward freedom makes our country safer," it is hard to not be mesmerized by idealistic word-flinging. The problem is that you absolutely can not wield the word freedom like a sword in a Quentin Tarantino movie. Freedom isn’t something you can walk into Wal-Mart and buy in a plastic package with a yellow smiley face sign posted above. Freedom can not be given, and it surely can not be forced upon a people. Bush talks about Freedom as if a little fighting, a little encouragement, and a helping handful of encouragement will magically transform the Iraqi people, and subsequently the Middle East, into a thriving democracy of freedom. As nice as Bush’s words sound, they do not honestly portray the realities of freedom at its purest. Freedom is a power that can only be realized, and it can only be realized when it is desired.

Any ideal worthy of greatness can only be desired once it has been demonstrated as a positive alternative to the status quo. I offer this explanation as a warning to my fellow American citizens, and a thought for consumption to all the people of the World. As Americans, we must be mindful of the soil in which our President is trying to grow freedom. Americans may implicitly understand that liberty, freedom, and justice are inherently good things, but in a desert of chaos, others do not understand the same thoughts. When the mighty American Army occupies your back yard with guns blazing, it might just be difficult to tell the difference between enemy and foe. When the oil is cleaner than the water, it might not seem like fertile conditions for a new ideal to spring forth. This does not mean that freedom can not bud in the polluted waters; it simply means that we must be mindful of our own actions, our biases, and our hypocrisy. For the roots of freedom to truly grip the landscape, patience, imagination, belief, compassion, and nurture must be the key ingredients. The answers are not clear and they are not easy, but they will only come with a clearer view of the picture.

In finale, I do not believe that we should pull our troops rapidly out of Iraq. As egregious and inexcusable as President George W. Bush’s lies were that got us into the war – the United States can not abandon what it has started. One thing I have learned in my short life on earth is that you can’t abandon what you’ve started, especially when what you’re trying to do could bring needed empowerment to others. The U.S. may have gone into Iraq for all the wrong reasons, but it has the opportunity to leave for all the right ones. Bush speaks distinctly about these reasons day by day, and his challenge is whether or not he is taking the right steps to make sure Iraq does become a land of freedom, choice, and equality. Practically speaking, from what I’ve read and heard, I am skeptical that the President is taking every possible measure to ensure stability and transfer sovereignty to the people of Iraq. Americans must demand, not that troops be withdrawn, but that they be used efficiently, protecting and securing the right places. I have not seen this level of effectiveness coming out of Iraq, which is why you can count me as a skeptic. I hope that I will be proven wrong by the Bush administration in the coming year.

1 comment:

John the Movie Man! said...

Excellent post! I think you are correct in your analysis that even though the U.S. got into Iraq for the wrong reasons, we can't leave for the wrong reasons as well. I like your synopsis at the beginning of your post. Very humorous (and correct)! - Dr. Meiers