Just remember, America, you’re not perfect | TheUnion.com

Just remember, America, you’re not perfect

One year later, which is hard to believe, and how much have we learned, America?

A guy I know who’s in the Marines told me last night that he expected to be sent to Iraq. The president has been making too much noise to back down now, he said.

I hope that’s not true. For one thing, too many smart people are opposed to us attacking Iraq. Even Salman Rushdie wrote a piece for the Washington Post suggesting it would be a bad idea (it was printed in the Sept. 1 Bee). And if anyone has a reason to hate Middle Eastern regimes, it’s Salman Rushdie. (Did you read that book? It’s not even about Satan.)

More to the point, attacking Iraq flies in the face of common sense right now. We risk inciting the peoples of Muslim nations already predisposed to hate us. Is it fair that they hate us? Is their hatred perhaps the result, to a certain extent anyway, of misinformation and propaganda? It doesn’t matter. They hate us, and that is the reality we must come to terms with.

For saying that, I may be accused of sounding “communistic.” I have been accused of sounding communistic in the past, which is worrisome, as that is only a step away from “communistical” – which is, of course, only one step itself away from being Satan.

At the very least, I may be accused of being anti-American. Certainly that’s not the case. I love cable television and fast food and the Beatles and teenage girls in tight clothes as much as anyone else who calls this country home.

But, in spite of the debate over this very issue – can we love our country and admit it may be wrong about some things at the same time? – which has raged chronically for a year now, still, still, many Americans refuse even to admit that we might be part of the problem.

Already, one letter published on these pages has warned parents to keep their kids home from school on Sept. 11, because the kids may hear that some people are angry enough at Americans to kill us on our own soil in a time of supposed peace. Instead, the writer says, kids should be told only that our country comported itself heroically in the face of danger, and only about what a great country this is.

Well, of course. America did comport itself heroically, and it is a great country. Kids better have figured out it’s a great country, ’cause they all wear nicer clothes and drive better cars than I do.

But why, why, why is it blasphemous to believe that America is flawed, too? That we’re so big and so proud that we may have stepped on a few toes along the way?

I don’t think we should take this personally, America. My guess is that if 287 million different people lived here instead of us, everything else remaining equal, things would probably look about the same. As a species, humans generally prefer to be proud of themselves, rather than worry about what they do wrong.

But just a little humility, please? An admission that in spite of America’s awesomeness, we might still have to learn to do better? Especially from those of you who profess to love Jesus so much? Jesus was way into humility. Meekness, even.

Or you can remain proud, and hope beyond hope that a fall is not forthcoming.

But remember who also fell because of pride: Could it be … Satan?

And he’s not cool. Even Salman Rushdie won’t write about him.

Josh Wimmer works on the copy desk at The Union. His column appears every other Friday. Call him at 477-4239, or e-mail him at

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