“This is the source of our confidence - the knowledge that God calls on us to shape an uncertain destiny.”
Besides the fact that human beings called to shape any destiny would most certainly have certain idea of what would happen if that destiny was achieved and therefore, the destiny would not be uncertain, God has and should have nothing to do with what Americans choose to do or not do.
Owing our confidence to God---which undoubtedly is a reference to the Christian God---is what creates arrogance and intolerance. Religion should not be a source of confidence, but rather, if it must be utilized, a source of inward discussion with one’s self.
Bush’s use of God in the face of “terrorism” was dangerous because the majority of those he wished to fight were Muslim. The “war on terror” owes much of its “success” to the fact that Americans are fighting it like it is some sort of “holy war.”
Obama must halt America’s perpetuation of “holy war” and the American people must demand that we quit asserting power through the idea that our country’s predominant religion is better than another country’s predominant religion.
“So let us mark this day with remembrance, of who we are and how far we have traveled. In the year of America's birth, in the coldest of months, a small band of patriots huddled by dying campfires on the shores of an icy river. The capital was abandoned. The enemy was advancing. The snow was stained with blood. At a moment when the outcome of our revolution was most in doubt, the father of our nation ordered these words be read to the people:
"Let it be told to the future world...that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive...that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet [it]."
America. In the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words. With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come. Let it be said by our children's children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God's grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.”
I doubt that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would have made the last part of his inaugural address (if he had been elected president) a section which involved the telling of a war story. I doubt that he would have chose to preach American mythology that would lead Americans to envision a time centuries ago when America’s ancestors were fighting with bayonets and muskets for independence from a monarchy.
America’s common dangers it faces and its current “winter of despair” cannot be defeated or escaped through some sort of action on any battlefield. The battles we face do not have a human enemy. Rather, America’s dangers and its despair stem from ideas and realities which are not embodied in persons, places, or things.
America is at war with capitalism, extremism, militarism, exceptionalism, triumphalism, and unilateralism.
Those “-isms” are what plague humanity here and abroad. How Americans find a way to eradicate or control such “-isms” so that they no longer are a factor which create hatred, suffering, death, and despair is what will determine the future of this nation. (And in many respects, it is what will determine the future of the world.)
The choice between domination and synergy has always lain before the American people, but its presence gleams now more than ever.
Obama’s triumph is that he is ushering in a belief in interconnectedness. For example, the celebration on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial prior to the Inauguration was called “We Are One.”
The title of the celebration, I believe, referred to the American people and how Americans must unite. But, the rhetoric in Obama’s inaugural address suggests that he also wants Americans to think that what Americans do affects others in the world.
The first year of Obama’s presidency may see more actions that show signs of an awakening---the “closing” of Guantanamo, the shutting down of secret CIA prisons, the “banning” of torture, and an “end” to the Iraq War. But, the first year will also begin a new chapter in the “war on terror”, which is a terrifying campaign that has consisted of “shock and awe” warfare being perpetrated on innocent peoples.