I’m a Bad American
I make it point to assume initially that Mitt Romney doesn’t believe the words that come out of his mouth, but the convictions he expressed in his VFW foreign policy speech may be just in the ballpark of sincerity:
I am an unapologetic believer in the greatness of this country. I am not ashamed of American power. I take pride that throughout history our power has brought justice where there was tyranny, peace where there was conflict, and hope where there was affliction and despair. I do not view America as just one more point on the strategic map, one more power to be balanced. I believe our country is the greatest force for good the world has ever known, and that our influence is needed as much now as ever. And I am guided by one overwhelming conviction and passion: This century must be an American Century.
Well, there’s some dandy religious apologetics for you! And patriotic to boot! Regrettably, Romney supporters among my fellow Christians will eat this up. Regrettably because calling the country “the greatest force for good the world has ever known” is kind of a diss to Jesus. Assuming that Romney meant by force something more than violence. I hope we can assume that. Time was when Christians opposed such nationalistic sentiments as idolatrous and sinful, but we are living in America now, so really how can the apostles and saints compete? Step aside you martyrs. Put not your faith in the powers of love and forgiveness and hospitality. This must be an American Century. Capital C. For
Christ Country. “Believe in America,” says preacher Romney.
My own flamboyance aside, I recognize that the people of my country have done great things. So have our public servants. I’m not always ashamed of American power. I’m next to eternally grateful for the Bill of Rights, most other Amendments to the Constitution, and the sacrifices Americans have made in the service of freedom. We have a good thing going here; we don’t need to pride ourselves on being Earth’s mightiest heroes. This “greatest force for good” crap, in addition to being an insult to the multitudes our power has harmed and destroyed, is a false gospel. I am an unapologetic non-believer in this salvific narrative. If that makes me a bad American, so be it.
Romney says, “This is very simple: if you do not want America to be the strongest nation on earth, I am not your President.” He’s got that right. The measure of a great country is not its strength. Romney’s not my candidate.