Posts Tagged ‘Independence Day’

“Let there be peace on Earth, and let it begin with me.” 

English: Independence Day fireworks, San Diego.Today is Independence Day in America, and while we are enjoying fireworks today in this country, many people abroad are taking shelter from our scary fireworks going off in their neighborhoods. And our young soldiers are making firecrackers in other countries and wishing they could come home and enjoy their families.

I understand that there are countries and people intent on destroying our way of life.  But it seems to me that we don’t need their help because we are self-destructing.  The young man who slew so many students at Columbine High School was asked in a class to write a paper about his best friend. So he wrote that his best friend was a gun.

My best friend was never a gun, because I have always had fleshy friends. I have never even admired a gun.  Passing through Wal-Mart, I’ve never paused to look at a pistol or a rifle and thought “that could come in handy” or “wouldn’t that look pretty sitting on top of my dresser?”  And I am about as neurotic as they come, but I’ve survived without a loaded companion quite well so far.

Last month, a teenage fellow that always served my coffee at McDonald’s was shot dead.  He had beautiful spiked bleached blonde hair and a rosy face and bright smile.  Why did he have to die?  Because someone collected guns for his friends to play war games with, and one of them was fired straight into his heart.

I love my freedoms because I can say the things I want to say and do the things I want to do.  But I am honest enough to recognize that even though we don’t have evil dictators, I live in one of the most violent nations in the world with the most heavily armed civilian population. This country was founded on hostility. I find it hypocritical that while we exalt the glories of freedom, we are so eager to destroy anyone who disagrees with our point of view. We have fought the British, slaughtered the Native Americans, captured and sold slaves from Africa, and fought our own brothers in the Civil War.  Sometimes I think we will never stop fighting.

Everywhere you go, hostility is staring you down.  From the cashier in the grocery store to the car honking and driving you off the road and even in our own families, people don’t seem very gentle and kind.  I have made plenty of stupid mistakes, but I have never intentionally hurt any human or creature (except for a few insects). Hostility makes me feel lousy.

Well, isn’t it the same everywhere you go?  No, it isn’t.  I just came back from Spain, and it’s not the same way there.  You may not believe this, but I don’t recall one unkind or rude word (in English, Spanish, or body language) from anyone during the three weeks I was there.  The people I met were gentle and gracious.

People laugh about America’s love of guns in Spain, and no one wants to have a weapon. They would rather have a loaf of bread, a glass of wine, and thou. They think it’s silly to own a gun, so it’s completely a non-issue.  The government doesn’t need to rule on it, because nobody cares. My father says this is the European view on such things.

So why do Americans care so much about weapons? Did we play too many games of “Cowboys ‘n Indians” as a kid, or watch too many episodes of “Have Gun Will Travel“?

I am especially frustrated with Christians who forget that Jesus said “Blessed are the peacemakers” and “Blessed are the meek.” There is no double-meaning in those sayings. Christ was always non-violent.  Gandhi understood it better than most Christians I know.

When will we ever learn?  Heaven is not draped with the American flag, and Jesus loves our enemies too.

~♥~

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