What does “The War Prayer“, the politician’s line of “God bless you and God bless these United States of America” and the McCain-Flake hand over of Oak Flat have in common?
Without hesitation, the word that comes to sit between my eyebrows is dishonesty.
Dishonesty is rotting the core values of a nation that was built on the premises of freedom and tolerance. When facing this ugly truth, one can not stop thinking about Lord Acton’s “Power tends to corrupt“.
When Samuel Clemens wrote “The War Prayer” in 1905 America’s military presence was in the Philippines during the Spanish-American War. This is not about going over his duality about the war or analysis of this piece of literature, but about what it brings to today’s realm. Even though it was written one hundred ten years ago, it is pertinent to what is happening today in many ways and forms.
Clemens’ portrays the parishioners gathered to pray fervently along their pastor as he powerfully uttered his words,
“…that the ever-merciful and benignant Father of us all would watch over our noble young soldiers, and aid, comfort, and encourage them in their patriotic work; bless them, shield them in the day of the battle and hour of peril, bear them in His mighty hand, make them strong and confident, invincible in the bloody onset, help them crush the foe, grant to them and to their flag and country imperishable honor and glory.”
As a reader you can almost listen to the hushed whispers of amens going around the silent church.
They craved victory over the conquered and wanted above all things that God All Mighty granted them what they were imploring. Clemens’ brings to life a scenario that also is alive today through the grim reality of America’s many war fronts throughout the world.
Clemens’ character of the old man fails to deliver a reaction of justice because the parishioners did not understand the message he was about to deliver even though it was clear and honest. He wanted them to comprehend that when we implore a blessing we also ask for a curse. In other words, each prayer has two sides of a story, one the uttered and the other the unspoken.
As for Mr. McCain and Mr. Flake, they have uttered the words of destruction of a land sacred to the Apache. Where they have been celebrating their sacred rituals before, recorded history, without hesitation and embraced in a veil of dishonesty and corruption just for the purpose of justifying and providing for an over spending military of a nation who has lost it’s way.
Clemens’ setting can take place any given day in Washington. A group of men and women from across United States gather in a building, for some as sacred as a church, to play out power struggles as if they were games. All portraying for the people’s sake “real God fearing Americans“.
It is not new how God takes front stage center to politics in America. They criticize and attack the Muslim world because of their extreme views and actions, but they are no better.
Some pulpits across this nation have become the birthplaces of nationalism and misplaced devotion where the line between preachers and politicians become blurry. An established order that is challenged today as some denominations open their doors to welcome immigrants into sanctuary across the country, and are brave enough to extend that to visiting the folks of Oak Flat to unite their voices with them in protests of the injustices and violations vested upon them.
How will the government play this out? Will we become witnesses of the brutality of our over empowered Home Land Security task forces breaking into our own sanctuaries violating what is sacred to us? As if we were invisible just like the Apache? Theses interrogatives remain unanswered today, but rest in the assurance that history will be giving us the answers.
Mr. McCain and Mr. Flake have deliberately handed over Oak Flat to a foreign company failing to protect not only the values of these citizens, but also the resources of their own country in order to continue paying for a military force we can no longer afford.
Their fervent patriotic speeches end with the uncomfortable line for many of “God bless you and these United States of America” failing to acknowledge millions of Americans that no longer believe in this fabricated god or have believed in deities that have been in America much longer then those brought by the immigrants who came to America seeking religious freedom.
Our executive, legislative and judicial branches have been corrupted with the delusional idea that “God will bless these United States of America” no matter what it asks for. The spoken words that are justified by whatever it is is going through their very limited minds is no other thing than pure political demagogue.
The people have lost their power to fight back a system where we fear of government retaliation through the tentacles of “The Patriotic Act” and because of that no doubt veils my thoughts as to the finality of the sounds of mining that will echo throughout Oak Flats as Resolution Copper Mining violates these Apache sacred lands as God’s affirmative response to McCain and Flake’s uttered prayer.
Mr. McCain’s and Mr. Flake’s curse of destruction and spiritual desolation to the Apache have been set in place and will become unveiled right in front of the eyes of this great nation of “The United States of America”. Eyes that will certainly look the other way as they have been doing for a very long time in the face of injustice.
Injustice that has been fired by dishonesty and corruption.
In a country where God is overplayed in political games, is it too late for believers like me to have wishful thoughts of Martin Luther King’s words of “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” being whispered by a messenger like the one sent in Clemens’ story to the ears of people like McCain, Flake and the rest? Who ironically sit as the Romans did centuries ago planning and acting without really knowing, their own country’s destruction.
The answer would be, probably yes.