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Letter: Power and greed are consuming America

These powerful and eloquent, intellectually honest words are from The Arrogance of Power (1966) authored by the late Democratic Senator J. William Fulbright:

“Power tends to confuse itself with virtue and a great nation is peculiarly susceptible to the idea that its power is a sign of God’s favor, conferring upon it a special responsibility for other nations — to make them richer and happier and wiser, to remake them, that is, in its own shining image… Once imbued with the idea of mission, a great nation easily assumes that it has the means as well as the duty to do God’s work. The Lord, after all, would surely not choose you as His agent and then deny you the sword with which to work His will.

“What I do question, is the ability of the United States…to go into a small, alien nation and create stability where there is chaos, the will to fight where there is defeatism, democracy where there is no tradition of it, and honest government where corruption is almost a way of life. Impatient with complexity or nuance, policy makers found it easier to indulge ‘The Crusading Spirit.’

“Who are these self-appointed emissaries of God who have wrought so much violence in the world? They are men with doctrines… who believe in some cause without doubt and practice their beliefs without scruple, men who cease to be human beings…and become instead living, breathing embodiments of some faith or ideology.

“I think the world has endured about all it can of the crusades of high-minded men bent on the regeneration of the human race — bringing havoc and misery to their intended beneficiaries and destruction upon themselves. Maybe we are not really cut out for the job of spreading the gospel of democracy. Maybe it would profit us to concentrate on our own democracy instead of trying to inflict our own particular version of it.

“If America has a service to perform in the world, it is in large part the service of her own example. In our excessive involvement in the affairs of other countries, we are not only living off our assets… we are also denying the world the example of a free society enjoying freedom to the fullest. A comparison of an ambitious foreign policy supported by a deteriorating domestic base to ‘the light cast by an extinct star.’ It is unnatural and unhealthy for a nation to be engaged in global crusades for some principal or ideal while neglecting the needs of its own people.”

Comment: Our national security is our financial security. Our national debt is enlarged by wars and profiteering, the scandal at Veteran’s Affairs, food stamp cuts for 49 percent of our population at and below the poverty rate.

We are ranked at number 22 in the world for infrastructure, number one for greed — Koch brothers, Adelson, Wal-Mart family, Dick Cheney’s crowd are only a few. The list goes on and on.

It’s time for Europe and the Middle East to exercise their checkbooks. It is also time for congress to stop running their mouths about fiscal conservatism. Budget for permanent war and increase taxes accordingly. Loose and loud talk is cheap. If these people are so concerned about our children’s future — prove it!

Thanks to social media and Pope Francis the world knows the truth. We Americans have to accept these truths and hopefully get back to where we need to be.

Let us again enjoy “Fanfare for the Common Man.” — Leland Jenson, Detroit Lakes