Wednesday, February 23, 2011

In God We Still Trust, by Diamond Rio (Nov 4, 2006)

Current mood: irritated

First, either read the lyrics or see the video.

There's something in this song/video that just doesn't sit well with me. At best, it's irritating. At worst, it's scary.

Here's what I see in it: This clip invokes feelings of pride, of patriotism, of love of country -- all of which are good things. But it also assumes that everyone who sees it believes a certain way, and that anyone who doesn't believe that way is somehow evil or ungrateful or anti-country.

Um, no.

Fundamental question: What does this country exist for, anyway? Do you remember why it was created? Answer: To provide the world's peoples a nation based on acceptance -- accepting everyone of every faith, every creed, every nationality. We are here to give everyone an equal chance at making a decent living. We are here to give everyone the freedom to think and say and worship and befriend anyone else. Further, it is unlawful for anyone to prevent anyone else from having the freedom to think and say and worship and befriend anyone else.

To paraphrase Christian comedian Brad Stine, since more people want in than want out, we must be doing something right.

But what this video does is promote intolerance -- for ideas, for people of certain (non-specified) faiths or nationalities, for intolerance generally. It does this by pandering to the shock of the 9/11/2001 attacks. It does this by making the viewer think that some single-ideology ideas are universally accepted -- and must be so -- such as Christian mottoes on money, such as that it takes military intervention to achieve peace, such as that one has to be a worshipping Christian to be an American. Worse, it makes the viewer think that if one does not adhere to these ideas, that that makes him or her less of a person, less welcome, less of a patriot, perhaps even contemptible.

I find that irritating. That's not American.

Perhaps I'm wrong, though. Perhaps the idea of what an American is or should be has changed. I find that scary.

Go ahead, though, and send this around, for I would not condone censoring it, as that's not American, either. Please try to remember that freedom of speech also requires the responsibility to respect others' free speech, even if you disagree with it. Not to do that is not only to be un-American, it is un-Christian, as well.

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