Maybe we need to take a trip down memory lane and reexamine our history. There is now a new series on HBO called John Adams. It is a stirring look at the beginnings of our “Democracy.” I watched the first installment and there was not one mention of the “Native Problem” or slavery. That first episode showcases the lovely relationship between Adams and his wife, Abigail. It’s a nice devise, and is documented in years of letters between Adams and his wife over the long course of their marriage. And frankly she seems the more thoughtful and intelligent of the two. It’s interesting for me to imagine how different our history might be if Abigail had led the revolution and helped to write the Declaration of Independence. Might it have read instead, “…..conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all people are created equal.”
So for me, descended from the Choctaw, our history of “Live Free or Die America,” begins with invasion and slaughter, removal from our lands to concentration camps, and the deliberate destruction of our culture and language. For the descendants of slaves, it begins in invasion of their native lands, capture, kidnapping, a perilous and mostly deadly journey to a place where they were auctioned off and made to labor often under the lash and for no stake in anything except survival. That any of us survived your damed “democracy” is a bloody miracle. So for starters, I’m not sure Reverend Wright’s list of atrocities you have committed in the name of “Democracy and America,” is half long enough. But just so we’re clear on this, let me innumerate for you a few.
Manifest Destiny is the term that was to justify the expansion of the United States from the original thirteen colonies westward across the continent, gobbling up other people’s land all the way to the Pacific and then south into Mexico. It is the religious zealot’s justification for taking what does not belong to him. God wants me to have “it,”—land and everything on or under it, or in the case of certain classes of people, “you,” especially if you are not the same color or speak the same language, as I, because He favors me. I am chosen and you are not. Sounds pretty stupid, doesn’t it? What is it that makes you immigrant descendants of Europeans think you are so very special that God favors you above all other’s? Even your Christianity is a child among the world’s religions. Now again Manifest Destiny is a term Bush used recently to justify our occupation of Iraq and our permanent presence in the heart of an ancient culture we know almost nothing about—such is our arrogance. God wants us there!
And in between, we have so much carnage, the fire-bombing of Dresden, the atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the My Lai massacre, the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment. I think the Reverend might have touched upon a few, but I could go on and on. The real reason we want Cuba back is to turn it back into the whore house it was before Castro’s revolution. Our little brown Las Vegas in the soft, warm waters just ninety miles from Miami. Did I mention our guy Pinochet? Our little CIA operations to topple democratically elected socialist governments throughout our hemisphere and replace them with military dictatorships—so common, so uniformly disastrous to the ordinary people in those countries. Remember the Disappeared? Remember Haiti?
And here at home we are using religion to justify denying full civil rights to certain classes of citizens because God doesn’t approve of them for some reason. Here the Reverend and I part company. I cannot believe in such a god.