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Periphery

a record of mundane things that have stuck in my mind, and what they may mean.

Sunday, May 30, 2004

The Soul of America

Al Gore laid out last week (read here, and listen here)the reasons why the prison abuse scandal, along with other excesses of the Bush regime, is so destructive to America. He talked about a lack of policy—“Dominance is not really a strategic policy or political philosophy at all. It is a seductive illusion that tempts the powerful to satiate their hunger for more power still by striking a Faustian bargain.” But most importantly, he talked about the “soul of America.” And I hate to use that phrase because it’s has Christian overtones which I don’t understand. I’m using “soul” to describe the moral make-up, or as Gore called it, the “moral authority,” of America.

The moral authority of America, he said, comes—or rather came—from the fact that America had, “moral authority in the world derived from the hope anchored in the rule of law.” And because of Bush’s blatant disregard for the rule of law, he has destroyed America’s credibility.

I think a lot of people in the world have thought that America has been unjust for a long time, perhaps since the seventies. I know I saw distrust of America when I was a child in Pakistan. Among people from Muslim countries and people who were aware of what America did in the Americas and even America’s conduct in Iraq prior to the current war, all eroded America’s moral authority. Of course there’s so much more, and Israel, to say the least.

But things are now at a point where some Americans are starting to wake up and realize that there’s something wrong. I wonder if Gore, and Dean, and average Americans who are now dissatisfied would be happy if all that Bush has done could be undone. Should we have been satisfied with the soul of America before Bush? Was there nothing to worry about then?

Gore’s speech impressed me because it was so genuine. And he talked about the real matter: doing what’s good and right. He didn’t strategize, although doing what’s right is the best strategy. And that’s really where I derive some hope for America too, that there are Americans who thinks about such things and take action. The real problems of this world are all about the soul: "Lo! Allah changeth not the condition of a folk until they (first) change that which is in their hearts" (Quran, 13:11).

5 Comments:

At 6:43 PM, Anonymous said...

What about the disregard for law that your #$@#& co-religionists have. What laws were the following when the tried to smash 4 planes into buildings?? Can you excuse us for not following geneve conventions to save lives? I bet the fact that we have attacked Irag has impressed up terrorists that we arent' gonna be careful about level of innocence of every possible target when we are swinging the BIG STICK around.

This isn't a time to be super careful about ever rule. It is a time to let the world know that we aren't gonna sit around and get beaten.

 
At 11:45 AM, Anonymous said...

salaam subster!

insightful article.

one contention--i believe there is little hope left for america. generally speaking, majority of americans care less for the plight of people inflicted with america's wrongs, they know little about the world affairs. they are too busy with super bowls, basket ball games, everyday tv shows, celebrity news, and their own socio-politics at work and community. americans by in large are busy people--they work a lot and then, when time allows, they party hard. the few people who understand today's world are too few in numbers to matter or make a difference. Rachael Corry.

don't hate me for my pessimism
gulaji

 
At 10:18 AM, Anonymous said...

Gulaji:

The problem with your statement "there is little hope left for America" is that you and I are also included in all this. I feel we always look at ourselves as some 'accepted' souls who really have no links to the ills of America and need not seperate truth from falsehood and show that DIRECTLY. What have you or I done to show them there is an alternative? That we really have nothing to worry about when it comes to 'The Day' as we all will enter the gardens of paradise with ease. (hmm...kind of what the Christians think these days right? ah!)

Now you are VERY correct though about the average american being engrossed in all facets of entertainment.Unfortunately, history is showing us it is repeating itself.

During the Roman Empire's peak, the Elites created a simple plan to divert the general public's attention away from that which affected them across the land, property and civil laws, taxations,etc.

What was it they did? Hey everybody! Alcohol in the house! Party Hard! Large colloseums(spelled right?)to attend DAILY events in throughout the day continuously, and so forth. This became something like the 'happy hour' of today for those who are hard at work all day and need some relaxing.

Knowing this, what do we as Muslims do from here? Obviously, we all know its to create that muslim identity our Last Prophet (peace be upon him) tried to inculcate within the people of that time. But haven't we been down this pathway already?

In ending, We already know this right? This is getting to be something which is just repetitive and nothing comes out of such discussions but maybe some new found understanding and face of falsehood to breakdown and observe and thats about it. You as 'the guided one' go back to your usual ways and I go back to mines. Finit!

 
At 10:24 AM, Sara said...

This post has been removed by the author.

At 1:57 PM, Anonymous said...

to anonymous
from gulaji "the guided one"

insightful yet unhelpful comment! after being so critical and passimistic it is hard for me to go back to my usual ways. it affects me tremendously that i watch yet do nothing and at the end i for one am afraid whether i will me able to walk into the endless green garden.

 

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