It is commonly heard that there are no real differences between the Democratic and Republican parties, especially in this age of corporations owning both of them. My experience is that the differences are vast, not only in economic and social policy, but in the way the different parties look at and treat the rest of the world. I have spent a good part of my life working in foreign countries, some of it employed by the government of the United States, so these differences are personal and important to me. The doctrine of American Exceptionalism as espoused by the Republican Party has not shown America to be a shining light on a hill but more often than not a dark window in a dungeon or even a cold mass grave in the ground. I have seen Republican Administrations participate in genocide, drug dealing and gross violations of human rights and dignity, all in the name of American Exceptionalism. I have seen Democratic Administrations on the other hand try to assist nations of the world in their efforts to become economically healthy and democratic, not by murder but by working in partnership and by example, fighting against the brutality of dictatorships not chosen by the people. I choose the latter, not alone for human rights, but because healthy free people who have chosen democracy for their way of life can be our true partners in the world, not our servants. Among other things, partners are able to buy our products and do not need to flee their countries as political or economic refugees.
As I see the current crop of Republican candidates tell us that God is with them (certainly not with anyone else, especially not Democrats and maybe not really with all of them), and I watch the tears flow from their eyes as they just wish for those days when their God, Ronald Reagan, showed our country how to exercise Power in the world and beat back the threat of Godless Communism, I understand what they are really saying. They long for those days when America, meaning that part of America called the United States, could and did wield its God-given power over the rest of the world and expected it to obey, else it would suffer the consequences. Domestically, I see the same thing happening in local elections where candidates seldom announce their real intentions and are supported by floods of money from national organizations. Once in power, these conservative Republican-sponsored groups attempt to pass laws requiring all citizens to live by their specific religious beliefs, their Old Testament definitions of "Christian morality" which are a far cry from the teachings of Christ who never forced anyone to act according to his teachings. His philosophy was spread through love, not force; I read nowhere in the New Testament where Jesus told his followers to become members of the Sanhedrin, much less have I seen where the Disciples were sent to all the world to force people to believe in the man who professed love. When Peter and Paul went to Rome it was not to become Senators, they were sent to tend to and strengthen the believers and to testify to those who were ready to listen, not to take over the kingdom and or subdue its citizens by force.
Today we are faced with a different version of Christianity, one that believes in power. Not everyone believes in this version of Christianity, hopefully most are appalled by it. This version claims that we are a Christian Nation, given power by God to rule the world and rule over the citizens of the United States, whether they be Christians, Jews, Muslims or non-believers. Like children, these special Christians say, all must learn to obey first, and the use of force is just fine, for once they learn through obedience they will see the light. Like the very popular books sold throughout the conservative Christian world which tell parents they have the right to whip their children into subservient obedience; all of our citizenry must learn to obey for their own good and for the protection of our great nation, which nation has the right to whip the rest of the world into being democratic, for that is God's form of government for His children on earth. So God approves all that whipping, and those chosen by God to lead our country should be those ready to do it. Otherwise, our country might be overrun by the enemy which is always at our door.
The majority of our population professes to believe in Jesus, but they believe in the Jesus of love, not force. These are good people, people who don't whip their children and who don't think God wants them to take over our government or anyone else's. Bit as usual, this majority is being led by a louder minority of power-hungry believers which has taken the name "Christian" for their own and formed an exclusive club. No one else is a "real Christian" unless they believe and act as this group does. Somehow they have set themselves up as the judges of who is and who isn't. Even if you call yourself one, even if you go to churches that teach the doctrines of Christ, you are not one unless the members of this group approve of your conversion and subsequent behavior. Some of the pronouncements during this Republican primary season have been almost humorous were they not so serious. Romney is a Mormon so he is certainly not a Christian. But Obama says he is a Christian but he is really a Socialist and certainly not a real American. But since Romney is going to be the candidate, well, his non-Christianity is as least a little better than Obama's non-Christianity. At least Romney believes in American Exceptionalism.
This extreme Christian group believes in un-Christian force, that it is their duty to save our country any way they can. Failing to convince the nation that their way is the one and only truth, they began about fifty years ago to try to take over school boards, local governments and then state governments so that they can force everyone to believe as they do and obey their laws. On a national level they have brought government to a standstill. This is "my way or the highway" Christianity, uncompromising on "principles" and it is moving our country into a new Christian dark age.
In the United States they are able to get laws passed at the local level by elections, with local school board elections flooded with money from national organizations and private donations from around the United States. Most are not truthful about their agendas, but then lies are alright if one is doing God's work. As they make their agendas known after getting elected, those who have not cared before have and should rise to vote them out. That is one aspect of true American Exceptionalism that really does work.
But in the world outside the United States, those elected to high office in our country are much freer to exercise the kind of force they wish they could here in order to teach the children of the world to obey. Like we did in Iraq, and like we did in many of the places I have lived. I have personally seen that teaching the children to obey can also mean murdering them if they don't, all in God's name of course, so it is justifiable. For God's plan for His people on earth is democracy. Look at the most powerful nation on earth: it is Christian and it is democratic.
Democracy is not God's way in heaven, nor really is it the way of the true believers. I don't think anyone has the idea that angels vote on what God should do with his created souls, but in terms of how a man rules over his wife or his family, there is no democracy there. Nor is there in the churches of the believers. But on earth, as a way to eventually get to Him, democracy is God's gift to the United States, and it is the United States' gift to the world. We might have to force it on them until they learn, and like all children, we might have to whip them into obedience, but it is for their own good. And, of course, it is for the protection of our great country, which was founded by God.
While in the United States these Power Christians are fanatic that no fetus be killed for any reason, even though obviously "activist non-believing judges" somehow made it legal years ago, it seems to be just fine overseas if it is for the good cause of bringing democracy to children there. We don't know how many pregnant women were killed during Shock and Awe, but certainly some. That was for a good cause. Iraq's dictator was an ungodly man who threatened us with weapons of mass destruction, a man who we were falsely told, had something to do with that diabolic attack by extremist Muslim fanatics. When the weapons were found and a our government had to admit under pressure that no, Iraq had nothing to do with September 11, well it was still alright, because it was a good thing to free the people in that nation and bring them into the democratic fold. Besides, their own oil would pay for it, which is also important. God does not like going into debt, unless of course one has to in order to beat the godless Communists or the Godless Muslim Extremists.
In Central America, of the quarter million innocents killed because they "might become" Communists, many were pregnant women. These people were not in uniforms fighting a national army. No. No, over eighty three percent of those killed had no weapons, will illiterate and "ignorant" peasants. Proven testimony recounts that soldiers with weapons, uniforms and vehicles from the United States on more than one occasion lined up pregnant women to see how many a bullet from their new American weapons would go through. A bullet through a living fetus is an abortion, isn't it? But in this case abortion was fine. That unborn child could never become a Communist.
Our heroic President, Ronald Reagan, even went there to congratulated the man who ordered the massacres, a good Christian man by the way, one of "us" in his training and his Christian conversion. With his arm over the man's shoulder, our Republican God told the surviving people of Guatemala that the murderer obviously had the best interests of his country at heart.
President Ronald Reagan was a Republican, and it was his administration which approved of these murders. And the American people who voted for him still get tears in their eyes wishing there could be another Ronald Reagan who could demonstrate the God-given power of the United States around the world. Unlike Democrats, who have never realized how they should exercise the power God has given them. Democrats are weak, they apologize for such things, they seek sanctions rather than truth, peace rather than war, and as we have seen during this new era of the Arab Spring, they even support revolutions against long term dictators that have been our friends, our partners in managing the children of the world and our surrogates who are teaching them democracy over the long term. Sure, those dictatorships have to be firm, and those who fight against them have to be punished, but like children, that is the way they will learn.
In the case of Guatemala, the greatest genocide we have never heard of took place during the Reagan Administration. Why did we never hear about it? At this moment a Bosnian Serb General is on trial in the International Court accused of Crimes Against Humanity for the mass murder of eight thousand Muslims. No one has ever gone to trial for the murder of two hundred thousand Guatemalans, until now. One man is on trial in Guatemala finally, the man who over two years carried out the most egregious massacres. But why not those who approved, who supplied, who gave the money, the arms, the trucks, and the public smiles?
The murders were documented by those who did them, much like the Nazi extermination camps were careful to document the names of the people they killed. Those documents were leaked to an investigator from the National Security Archives at George Washington University and published, but very few people really cared. They must have been Communists, like Reagan said they might become. The Catholic Church researched the massacres and published their report, the Bishop who wrote it and directed the research was brutally murdered the day after its release. But no one really cared much here. The United Nations published the results of its Truth Commission, which came up with the number of two hundred thousand, over eighty percent of which were Mayan peasants murdered by government forces, official and unofficial. President Clinton ordered the State Department to release its files to the Commission, files which showed that the U.S. and the Reagan and Bush Administrations knew what was going on there. He also apologized, but then that's what Democrats do.
Anthropologists have worked on mass graves in Guatemala and El Salvador, CNN did a photo essay on a very recently discovered mass grave behind a church in Guatemala City where they estimate more than three hundred bodies were secretly buried. Who cared when those people went missing? Who cares now?
The issue is simple. To care means that one has to admit that President Reagan and his people lied to the American public. Which should not be hard, since they admitted they did and were even prosecuted for it. Not the President, of course, but the people who worked for him. And those convicted were pardoned, of course. But not only did they trade missiles to Iran to get hostages free in Lebanon, not only did they support an illegal secret army to invade Nicaragua, not only did they supply money from the missile sales to that army but also they looked the other way as people in that secret army imported tons of cocaine into the United States (Vice-President Bush was in charge of the War on Drugs); they covered up the murder of a quarter million people in Central America and in other countries. But lying is alright, if God is on your side. Besides, America, meaning that part of America known as the United States, is Exceptional. Lying is alright because it is a nation doing God's work. So is murder, apparently. And so is the manipulation of a free press.