Editor, the Gauntlet,
If I were to use two words to describe the American culture, I would be hard pressed to do better than patriotic and religious. Some may see this as complementary, however, a closer examination of the types of patriotism and religiosity now common in the United States might force them to think otherwise. Recent American patriotism and religious language can only be described as myopic and misguided.
In the wake of the recent horror, a brand of American patriotism has sprung to life which threatens not only their enemies but their friends. With little information and no clear objective, the U.S. is spending billions of dollars to ready the largest military in the world to attack one of the poorest countries on earth. I don't want to point out the obvious problems with this plan from a historical, political or military standpoint. I do, however, want to discuss the absence of debate.
This is the most important time in recent political history yet there is almost no debate within the U.S. bureaucracy or media over the merits of the American position. In fact, it would be seen as unpatriotic to even question the military build up. Nine out of 10 Americans support a war with no idea of how it will be accomplished. Patriotism is only valuable when tempered with knowledge.
Christian ideology has been the second most abused rhetoric recently. The President included biblical verse in his national address--even though the constitution demands a secular government--in the midst of organizing an attack on a Muslim country. This frames the attack as a Christian nation against a Muslim one, which can only increase acrimony. The idea that God will bless America is ludicrous. Both faiths share the same God and surely He/She does not pick sides. All this religious talk is nothing more than political posturing.
Keep the religious rhetoric in the churches and out of the political sphere. If ever there was a time for vigorous debate and clear and objective decision making it is now.