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Tuesday, December 27, 2016

A New Year's Resolution For The Nation: Develop Self-Awareness

When the President addressed the nation after the 9/11 attacks, he told us that we were attacked because the terrorists hated our freedom. With the same self-awareness seen in Bush's address to our nation during that fateful time, Trump won the election because he promised to make America great again. With that promise, Trump had noted that our policies and trade agreements were poorly constructed so that all others were winning except for us. Thus, he would bring in the 'best people' who would cut the right deals so that the only richest nation in the world that is a loser could win again.

It should be more than apparent that America's self-awareness has not grown between the presidency of George W. Bush and the election of Donald Trump. It should also be obvious here that many Americans, at least conservative ones, still fail to see America's actual place in the world. They only see an idealized version of what they think America is and is seen as.  But they don't have clue as to how America really comes across to many people.

We should note that self-awareness to Christians is a painful process. Why? It is because the Scriptures teach us about our sinfulness. We have all committed many sins against both God and each other. And once we start to realize--we never become fully aware of--our sinfulness, we feel shame and other sorts of pain. Perhaps self-awareness for others is not as harsh as it should be for Christians. But if that self-awareness does not bear an adequate resemblance to the reality, it really isn't self-awareness at all.

Though we would like to see our nation as the last, best hope for man, in reality, we are seen by many nations as the greatest threat to peace in the world--that was according to a poll taken in 2013. It should be noted that besides North America, America was seen as the greatest threat to peace in all other continents when counting by nations. And lest we too easily dismiss that poll, we should study the long list of American interventions since WW II and note how many of those interventions supplanted democratic processes in favor of dictatorships and tyrannical rulers. We even supported brutal tyrants like Saddam Hussein and terrorists like Osama Bin Laden because, at the time of that support, these people were in line with either American strategic or its business interests. We've overthrown governments, invaded countries, and continue to drain resources from other nations in order to maintain our living standard. To use terminology from the Hunger Games movie series, to a certain extent the Capitol resides in America while its districts are outside serving our whims with their resources. And in order to maintain that order, the US employs a series of proxy rulers and retains a large number of military bases throughout the world.

If we want to learn more about how the world views us, then we need to go to outside sources and read the views of our critics to see what is credible and what isn't. Until then, our self-image as a nation will consist of nothing more than delusions of grandeur.


Yes, self-awareness is painful. Why? Because we are all sinners and self-awareness rubs our face in our sins, becoming self-aware is not an attractive proposal. But the advantage of developing self-awareness is that we get a better idea of not only how we come across, but how we can improve. To lack self-awareness is to make conditions more favorable to becoming like a bull in a china shop. And for the most powerful nation in the world to continue to lack self-awareness endangers the world. Certainly electing Donald Trump was not the best step to take to develop self-awareness. And considering how he, the soon to become the most powerful man in the world, seems to lack self-awareness, perhaps the only way for the nation to limit his use of power is for us to develop a national self-awareness and act accordingly. 




 

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