- Wild, Wild America...how the bastion of modern democracy is regressing fast into the State of Nature
- How a great civilization has fallen
.....so the nature of war consisteth not in actual fighting, but ... Whatsoever therefore is consequent to a time of war, where every man is enemy to every man, the same consequent to the time wherein men live without other security than what their own strength and their own invention shall furnish them withal.......and which is worst of all, continual fear, and danger of violent death; and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.
- Thomas Hobbes, The Leviathan.
December 2010 and the last few weeks have been particularly very traumatic for us as it was fraught with horrendous happenings, which made us wish mother Earth could open up and swallow us alive. Some of the events were Nature-induced, so outside man’s external locus of control. Amongst these horrendous events were the ‘snowmares’ (snowfalls) of December 2010 which paralysed almost the whole of Europe. December of 2010 will go down in history as the month when Nature turned her back on her children in Europe and in the United States of America. The snow exposed the seeming helplessness of man on the surface of the earth. Not appearing defeatist in anyway, as we believe man is here to stay, so has been giving the strength and resources by his Creator to conquer his environment. Nonetheless, it tended to show the unchallengeable power Nature does wield over man at her pleasure.
To bring home what we mean, many CEOs in Europe, especially in the United Kingdom were blamed for their inadequate preparation for the natural occurrence and some of them threw in the towel after the flurry of criticisms that came in the wake of the snowfalls; and there have been talks by passengers to sue the owners of the airlines in which they had earlier booked to travel for the Christmas holiday; they have been talks by Virgin Atlantic to consider the option of litigation against the British Airport Authority, BAA and they have been talks by some passengers to ask for compensation, (transferred aggression?), but we are yet to see anyone considering litigation against Nature. Or if we could stretch the argument further, probably the industrialists in America and Europe whose industrial activities are often blamed for Global Warming are the people who actually should be sued. But these industrialists are an amorphous group. So who then is really to blame in the event of natural catastrophes?
Yes, we were also highly traumatised by the earthquakes in and around the world – the earthquake swarm of December 16th 2010 in Southern California, Coniston, Cumbria earthquakes of December 21st, 2010, but tempered by the pleasant sight of the lunar eclipse of December 21st, 2010; the Bonin Islands earthquakes in Japan on 23rd December, 2010; then the killing of Pakistan’s central Punjab province Governor, Salman Taseer by one of his bodyguards because of his opposition to Pakistan’s blasphemy law . And then came the near-Bible type floods in Queensland, Brisbane in Australia, in Brazil and Srilanka. And weighing heavily upon our soul was the fact of Nature’s callousness in refusing to protect her children during these floods as she took that crass insensitivity to a point of extremity, while the whole of human family watched helplessly with heavy tears in their eyes and a great sorrow in their hearts.
Sad as these also are, they are yet not the subjects of our editorial, but our focus in this editorial is the fast regression of America into Hobbesian State of Nature, where the lives of Americans have become “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.”
We are very worried because of America’s place in the world. If truth must be told, America, past and present has given to the world, what no country on the surface of the earth has given or will ever give the world. Arguably though, the emerging meteors from the East are not likely going to give a quarter of what America has given the world before historians and all of us start saying about them, “Once upon a time......” America is an iconic country. Although, it has fallen beyond description, first spiritually and in many other ways the imagination of the reader can conjecture, yet America has been in a class of her own since 1776. America, probably has given the world more great leaders in the fields of politics, science, commerce, military, philosophy, arts and entertainments, sports; in fact in virtually all fields of human endeavour than any country in the world. Through the ingenious enterprises of America, mankind has annexed the Kingdom of the gods. In spirituality and in the hallowed realm of morality, America once led the world and set an enviable standard in the world of virtues for the world to emulate, but in these much coveted virtues, very lacking in modern world, America today is in serious deficit. Herein lies the origin of American degeneracy.
America has acted as a balancer, its military as a check and balancing against eruptive tendencies of some world leaders, their bestiality, inflammability, totalitarianism, dictatorianism and her contribution to the founding of the League of Nations and later the formation of the United Nations, although now just a relic of its former power and glory, also courtesy of America’s overbearing tendency and cowboy - approach to international diplomacy. In the global Peace Fund, America like no other country has contributed very immensely, be it in human or material resources, yet America at the same time remains the problem of the world. So also, Uncle Sam is a problem unto himself. Having become stupendously wealthy with evidential mencantilistic, scientific and technological attainments, America felt God was just a by –product of her national life and kicked Him out of her national agenda, she began to embrace a post-modernistic values, ‘legislated’ out absolutism and embraced the principles of relativism. Humility no longer counted in her national life, might became right; hence war for war’s sake became her national mantra and pre-occupation, invading and occupying other nations, and sometimes propping up dictators became a chivalrous enterprise to be vigorously pursued. Cost both in human and material resources were not a worry, provided such adventure/misadventure massage the ego of the jingoists in the White House and providing such callousness earned them their much coveted accolade-war time Presidents!
In recent times, we remember Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan as the wars of blame which America had embarked upon at great cost to her natural and manpower resources, safety of her citizens all over the world and national pride. In the Iraq and Afghan wars, America shot herself in the foot and drew the ire of the world. At the height of its might and glory, America not only legislated God out of her national life, but changed her motto, albeit morally and psychologically to: IN DOLLARS WE TRUST. So America no longer does God in Government, public places, schools, etc. Sunday worship and weekly worships in America are full of hollow rituals, but the scriptures say, “To obey is better than sacrifice.” Instead of the gospel of the Kingdom, the gospel of mammon, filthy lucre dominates worships. The prevailing gospel in America is no longer “Repent and be baptised, for the Kingdom of God is at hand,” the prevailing gospel is not, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and other things shall be added unto you,” but “Seek ye first other things, and the Kingdom of God will be added unto you,” or if you like, “Give and it shall be given unto you...”
American preachers and others of their ilk in an around the world are always receiving ‘revelations’ from God for their flock to contribute and buy them jets, where such contributions could not go far in buying them jets or helicopters they deep hands into the church funds easily and unasked to buy these metal birds; easily because signatories to these family businesses deceptively called churches are their wives, generally called by their captive audiences as “First Ladies or Mummies” and the favour-seeking-yes Deacons/Deaconesses, church secretaries, elders, etc who were ‘carefully selected’ by ‘special revelations’ which these “men of God” often claimed they received from God after much spiritual acrobatics- forty days of fasting and prayers.
‘Revelations’ for contributions does not stop at buying jets and helicopters, they are also received for their shopping sprees in and around the cities of the world, ‘projects’ for “First Ladies,” their shopping extravaganza in New York, London, Hong Kong, etc. In their congregations which often composed mixed-multitudes, they are many who are constantly yawning and sleeping while the ‘prosperity messages’ are going on because of hunger, unpaid bills, depressions and other psychological distresses. Evangelism programmes are not aimed at winning souls for Christ, but to swell the ‘marketing auditoriums’, mind you, not Churches with such mixed multitudes to be brought in for contributions’ and statistics’ sakes, hence these “men and women of God” often boast of having a 12, 000, 60, 000-seater auditorium which they ‘preach’ to in a single service! So evangelism is also about soul-winning without soul management. They closed their eyes to the feeding of the 5000, 4, 000. These episodes in the Bible probably were mere abracadabra in their attempt to ignore the Lord’s “Least ones” in hospitals, in prison, the poor and the widows. They talked big without moderation as they laughed to banks with the Brethrens’ (donations) money...untaxed!
In most cases, the ‘demons’ that killed and maimed innocent and hardworking Americans had broken out from these crowds which the “men and women” of God had gathered to sustain their obscene lifestyles. They are those who feel oppressed by the unbridled ostentatious lifestyles of the “men and women of God”, the very lavish lifestyles of grossly inconsiderate American politicians, pompous and often rotten lifestyles of American celebrities. These Americans feel let down by all around them and they become spiritually, morally, psychologically, socially, politically, economically, educationally, culturally disconnected, disillusioned, disenchanted, depressed...acute depression leads them to drugs, drugs to a delusion of grandeur and subsequently help them to build an out -of -the world macho image of conquistadors, some of them embark on body building to further prop up this false image, the next thing is gun which make them walk in and around the neighbourhoods and public places as if these places are their vassals; they constantly run into troubles with the law enforcement agents who they often see as their enemies and because they cannot confront them head on, they go for the vulnerable members of the American public, amongst them, children, women, the elderly, students, school children and unarmed members of the public relaxing in theatres, open spaces, hotels, restaurants, fast food joints, etc.
Apart from drugs which help boost their very low self-esteem, they also indulge in sex as a conquest symbol; preying on vulnerable women and deflowering them without compensating their victims is also seen as a form of achievement, after all; if they cannot beat all those they think have been oppressing them, namely the State, the politicians, celebrities, business men and women whom they merely regard as bloody capitalists, agents of the State-security personnel especially, the church, the mosques, elites, students as some of them feel a sense of failure for not being bright enough to go to college/ university or are hampered financially because of their social backgrounds, they at least have a part of the oppressive society, women, to conquer.
This sense of failure should be seen from all its ramifications-failure in life generally resulting in a sense of worthlessness, marital failure, failure to woo a girl of their choice, educational/academic failure, failing to secure a job at interviews over time, being without a job or to be without a job over time develop into a sense of failure, even failure to get one’s argument through amongst one’s peers/friends could result in a sense of worthlessness either over time, or immediately, plus accumulated grievances against all around them over time, do lead these sick and demented people harbour extreme hatred for humanity and at appropriate time they let guns/hands speak for them. Unfulfilled dreams can over time lead to a sense of failure and worthlessness, betrayal of trust, politicians not keeping faith with their electoral promises, marital infidelity, timidity in openly practising one’s chosen lifestyle and Faith can lead people with a very fragile ego to act unseemly as a feeling of satisfaction is often attained, albeit momentarily.
Also, modern American Evangelical preachers who by Biblical standards are supposed to be “the salt of the earth”, “light of the world,” “cities set on a hill” for all humanity to behold, are more interested on the pulpit in selling books they have hurriedly put together to cajole and sweet-tongue their captive audiences and gullible congregations to part away with their hard - earned money. Yet interesting as it may sound, even though American Presidents still end their public speeches with: “God bless America,” what does the Lord say, “These people honour me with their lips, but their hearts are far away from me.” In dissecting America from our spiritual and moral laboratories, we have identified four deadly contagious (contagious because these diseases have also infected all realms and climes on the surface of the earth, all because they came from America as the world looks up to America for direction in virtually all things) diseases, namely: 1. Spiritual, 2. Spiritual, 3. Spiritual and (4) Others. These diseases are contagious because they originated from America and they have spread to other parts of the world.
It is therefore, very simplistic for anyone to infer that the volatile tone of American politics was responsible for Cain – Jared Loughner, 22 who broke out from the crowd to aim at and kill 6 innocent citizens and wound Ms Gabrielle Giffords at a meet-and –greet in Tucson, Arizona last Saturday, 8th January 2011 - all of these people we hold strongly from the very depth of heart were at the right place at the right time. Before we proceed any further, we appeal to our readers to pause for a moment and pray for those ‘gallant soldiers’ of liberty who were killed while in their own way contending for the liberty of today’s America and the children of the future generations. They did not die in vain. They died for freedom. Our hearts, we mean all of us at Vigilance, go out to their loved ones. We stand with them in prayers and pray that God will give them the fortitude to bear these irreparable losses. If their deaths could serve as a wakeup call to all Americans about America’s prostitution with other gods and bring all Americans to national confession and repentance, they would at the end of the day not have died in vain; if their deaths at the end of the day could bring America to talk to herself, then they would not have died in vain; if by their deaths America can legislate out her characteristic gladiatorial politicking which turns a mere game of numbers into a do or die enterprise, they would not have died in vain.
No one living may grasp the full import of why the event of Saturday happened, but this is not the first time an American would publicly open fire at fellow Americans. Who shall we mention first and from what year shall we start? Shall we start from the father of the Union, Abraham Lincoln, rushing quickly across time to J.F Kennedy, the unnecessary bloodshed of the segregated era, especially the killings of four young children Addie Mae Collins, Carol Denise McNair, Cynthia Dianne Wesley and Carole Robertson who were bombed to death on the premises of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, Alabama in 1963?
When these children were sent to their untimely graves in 1963, Dr Martin Luther King Jnr., who too in 1968 was hacked down at a public place in broad day light consoled their parents in words in which we would like the loved ones of the Tucson killings to draw solace from. Dr. King offered them his ‘balm of Gilead’ as shown below:
“May I now say a word to you, the members of the bereaved families? It is almost impossible to say anything that can console you at this difficult hour and remove the deep clouds of disappointment which are floating in your mental sky. But I hope you can find a little consolation from the universality of this experience. Death comes to every individual. There is an amazing democracy about death. It is not aristocracy for some of the people, but a democracy for all of the people. Kings die and beggars die; rich men and poor men die; old people die. Death comes to the innocent and comes to the guilty. Death is the irreducible common denominator of all men.”
America, stop attacking individuals about the bloody Saturday; stop attacking Sarah Palin and alluding to the symbols on her website, here we are not supporting the use of such logo/symbol for any reason whatsoever. America, stop attacking the Republicans for the dastardly act; America, stop attacking Obama for the madness as some now may be saying, after all, he is the Commander- in -Chief. You yet cannot attack the security apparatus, America for the bloody Saturday, although the security personnel have questions to answer. Were all of these responsible for the various killings in primary schools, colleges, universities and many other public places too numerous to mention here? Were there responsible for the Amish killings, America; Fort Hood massacres; killings of 11 immigrants on April 3, 2003 in Binghamton; deaths of 10 people on March 2009 in Alabama? ***Please see the list below as culled from The Telegraph. O America, can a man see his reflection, except by some mirror and by some other people? And so if we must tell America the truth, let America attack the values that have produced these sick children of hers; modern America thinks money is the measure of value, let America attack that thinking, America glories in the fact that man is the measure of value. Thinking like this which does not have God at the apex of values is fatalistic. America revels in post-modernistic values and relativistic philosophy, let America attack these values and philosophy; as hand bags are to women, that is how guns are to most Americans, let America attack the system that supports the carrying of guns at and to public places.
But why is it so easy for these demented Americans to always gain easy access beating security at public places to pluck down innocent Americans from the tree of life? Why is it so easy for these murderers to sneak into schools, colleges, universities, the neighbourhoods, communities to so callously kill and maim? Why are guns so free for people to come by in America? Why is life so cheap in America? Why is it so easy for people to kill in America? Even hunters who enter the wild or jungles do kill games with a great degree of circumspection. But why is it so easy to kill, America?
When, when a nation thinks it can invade other nations with careless abandon, such unwarranted aggression/ belligerence become ingrained in the psyche of its citizenry; when a powerful nation like America thinks it can ignore the United Nations, a world body it had helped to found, that nation before her little ones is promoting aggression and telling them that “Might is right!” Naturally, children like to act out the macho image of their fathers when in public places, so let it be with the children of America. But the word of the Lord in the Ten Commandments resonates across the vistas of time: “Thou shall not kill.” After Cain had killed Abel, his brother, in that moment of delusion he thought he had gotten away with it, but when the One who only had the power to create blood arose in His majestic splendour, He asked Cain: “Where is your brother, Abel? In like manner God is asking today, “America, where are your children?” And in America’s current relationship with God in the Eden of life, we echo God: “America, America, where are you?”
When politicians think rotten words, rotten politicking, mud-slinging, use of violent words, phrases, militaristic politics are to be promoted, they are telling the governed, “O, America, this is the standard...garrisoned politics is best!”
O America, this is your life:
“the elephant ravages the jungle
the jungle is peopled with snakes
the snake says to the squirrel
I will swallow you
the mongoose says to the snake
I will mangle you
the elephant says to the mongoose
I will strangle you”
-Chris Okigbo, Nigerian Poet in Path of Thunder
When the Media for pecuniary reasons promote aggressive discourses; when the media for pecuniary reasons and sensationalism promote violence; when violence dominates a people’s cultures, films; when the media goad politicians on in using violent verbs and phrases and are often belligerent and very combative during interviews thinking that is the way they could get the truth from their interviewees, they are setting a bad precedence for public discourses and debates; when children’s games are full of violence; when guns top the list of their toys, the media, parents, society and the Government are training them unconsciously to be violent: “Train the child the way he should go,” say the scriptures. “And when he grows up he will not depart from it.”
How is the home faring in America? As sick as every part of the American life! In fact, the national disease spreads from the home to the church, educational establishments, Governments, the media, public offices, public place, etc, etc. As you have zero conversation/dialogue at home in America, so do you have in all facets of American life. What passes for conversation/dialogue at home is the language of the jungle as you have in the poem above quoted. No God at home, so no God in public places. The unwritten National Commandment seems to be: YOU SHALL NOT DO GOD AT HOME, NOR IN PUBLIC PLACES SO THAT IT MAY BE WELL WITH YOU, ALSO, SO THAT YOUR DAYS MAY BE LONG! And lamentably, many homes in America are without a father-figure, hence run by single parents. Here, the truth of the two becoming one is still sacred to God.
America’s experiment in multiculturalism receives pluses and knocks in our balance. America has to redefine her multicultural project taking due cognizance of her Christian heritage. Many who had received the American invitation to “join this Chariot” are beginning to think that it is not after all “self-evident” that ALL MEN ARE CREATED EQUAL...with the UNALIENABLE RIGHTS OF LIFE, LIBERTY, AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS. America’s multiculturalism when placed against the backdrop of the GOLDEN RULE and Rotary International’s Four-Way Tests leaves much to be desired, hence the suspicions, frustrations, revolt and general unease at religious, cultural, political, educational, professional and generational levels. Yet if truth must be told, no nation has been able to gather all races/cultures of the world in such a large number under one roof with understandable uneasiness and containable disaffection and friction as America has done. In this, the Biblical truth about “Vessels of honour and dishonour” abounding in a great house applies to America.
Are we inferring that sins originate from America? Not at all! A thousand times No! Again, we say No! But what we are saying in essence is that because the whole world look up to America, once it is well with America spiritually, morally, politically, economically, educationally, and in many other areas of her national life, there is every likelihood that it will correspondingly be well with the world. The current economic recession attests to this truism. It began in America we are told and spread to other parts of the world. And now that America is making a gradual recovery from the recession, the global economy correspondingly is looking towards the light. So the danger of violence defining American politics spells doom for the entire world as it will soon become the colour of global politics.
Our joy in all of this is that America has an in-built mechanism to renew herself. This time she must do this by way of national confession and repentance. In putting appropriate machinery in place for this, America must first return to her First Love. Thus, the teachings of Jesus Christ and Gandhian principles of Satya Graha (Love Force) and Non-violence are sinequanon. In fact, Non-violence should become a compulsory taught subject/course in all institutions of learning in America and globally too.
Young people have to be told it is more blessed to pursue the Great American Dream than to pursue the dangerous enterprise of violence. And they should be encouraged to read such national classics as The Great Gatsby, Moby Dick, Huckleberry Finn, etc. And all media programmes have to do well to spread this message of renewal and reflect the Great American Dream. Politicians have to be aware that politics is a type of sport and they should emulate athletes in mainstream sports who even when they lose bear such losses stoically in the spirit of sportsmanship. Politicians, no less the media need to tone down their language, both in public and in private. Politicians need to reconnect with the people to close up the yawning chasm that now exists between them and the electorate.
President Obama needs to reconnect with the people, especially young Americans in order to heal the general discontent amongst them. Providing them jobs is key to this reaching out. The Church, business houses, charities and wealthy Americans should not leave the job of engaging young American to the Government and politicians. They too can provide them jobs and equip them vocationally. The Church in America is hereby reminded that the Gospel is all about Jesus and not mammon. Violent films have to carry footnotes that remind people that they are not realities, but acting. The security personnel have to live up to public expectation, for it is of no use going to chase the Talibans in the desert when there is pervasive violence at the home front. Love, not violence is our message for the home and the public in America. God bless America.
A CALL TO REFLECT ON OTHER GUN SHOOTING SPREES IN AMERICA IN RECENT TIMES AS SHOWN BELOW:
***Fort Hood shooting: America's worst gun massacres
Army major Nidal Malik Hasan killed 13 people and wounded 30 in a shooting rampage at Fort Hood army base in Texas. Here is a list of America's worst gun massacres.
Emergency personnel take a wounded person on a stretcher to an awaiting ambulance at the scene at the U.S. Army base in Fort Hood Texas Photo: AP
7:30AM GMT 06 Nov 2009
April 3, 2009: A 41-year-old man opened fire at an immigrant community centre in Binghamton, New York, killing 11 immigrants and two workers. Jiverly Wong, a Vietnamese immigrant and a former student at the centre, killed himself as police rushed to the scene.
March 10, 2009: Michael McLendon, 28, killed 10 people, including his mother, four other relatives and the wife and child of a local sheriff's deputy, across two rural Alabama counties. He then committed suicide.
Feb. 14, 2008: Former student Steven Kazmierczak, 27, opened fire in a lecture hall at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, fatally shooting five students and wounding 18 others before committing suicide.
Dec. 5, 2007: 19-year-old Robert A. Hawkins opened fire with a rifle in Omaha, Nebraska, at a store in the Westroads Mall, killing eight people before taking his own life. Five more people were wounded, two critically.
April 16, 2007: Cho Seung-Hui, 23, fatally shot 32 people in a dorm and a classroom at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, then killed himself in the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
Feb. 12, 2007: 18-year-old Sulejman Talovic killed five and wounded four at the Trolley Square mall in Salt Lake City, Utah. He was then shot and killed by police.
Oct. 2, 2006: Charles Carl Roberts IV, 32, shot to death five girls at West Nickel Mines Amish School in Pennsylvania, then killed himself.
March 21, 2005: 16-year-old student Jeffrey Weise killed nine people, including his grandfather and his grandfather's companion at home, and then five fellow students, a teacher and a security guard at Red Lake High School in Red Lake, Minnesota, before killing himself. Seven students were wounded.
March 12, 2005: Terry Ratzmann, 44, gunned down members of his congregation as they worshipped at the Brookfield Sheraton in Brookfield, Wisconsin, slaying seven and wounding four before killing himself.
July 29, 1999: Former day trader Mark Barton, 44, killed nine people in shootings at two Atlanta, Georgia, brokerage offices, then committed suicide.
April 20, 1999: Students Eric Harris, 18, and Dylan Klebold, 17, opened fire at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, killing 12 classmates and a teacher and wounding 26 others before committing suicide in the school's library.
March 24, 1998: Andrew Golden, 11, and Mitchell Johnson, 13, killed four girls and a teacher at a Jonesboro, Arkansas, middle school. 10 others were wounded in the shooting.
October 16, 1991: George Hennard, 35, smashed his pickup truck through a restaurant window in Killeen, Texas, and fired on the lunchtime crowd with a high-powered pistol, killing 22 people. At least 20 others were wounded.
***Source: The Telegraph