Requiem for American progressivism (2)

Why is the path to peace promoted by Bush’s ultra-rightist administration so abhorrent to diehard progressive Americans? Shouldn’t peace be viewed in like manner from either the extreme right, or from the left?

Perhaps peace, in a global context, is more than the absence of armed hostilities… entailing harmonious relations between nations and peoples. That seems to be how progressives view peace. In contrast, accepting war, or fear of war, as the precursor to peace, seems to define well how the Bush administration approaches this issue.

Surrender and subjugation, if reasonably benign, can create an ambiance of peace under the protection of the victor, as conflict continues simmering underground, relegated to both the mind and the heart of the vanquished; the defeated always waiting for another day, and the possibility of yet another battle.

Ultra conservatives militating for a Bush Pax Americana see not only a different type of peace from that envisioned by progressives, but also profess to have a very simple, straight forward way of achieving it.

For these ultras, religious and secular alike, America has emerged as the only superpower on this earth thanks to God or destiny; and must exercise its rightful duty as a unique “force for good” in the world, a manifest destiny for the 21st Century and beyond. Could it be that the elitist secular-types in this group foresee a millennium of rule, much like their Aryan predecessors envisioned seven decades ago? …And the evangelical crusaders extend their heavenly bliss beyond the millennium into nothing less than eternity?

If peace needs to come via military intervention, or nuclear-fear, so be it… these conservatives seem to say; for peace and democracy (their brand) are lofty ends that permit the use of whatever means.

As for American progressives… they are still holding firm to the notion that peace should precede war or any form of surrender; that peace will emerge, when given a chance, from discussion, negotiation and eventual accord between contentious factions holding conflicting ideologies or opposing interests.

Progressives, many favoring civil liberties and social progress beyond national borders, have learned from history that peace, to be of humane and lasting quality must not be imposed… only mutually achieved. A peace negotiated, preferably before armed conflict has taken too-great a toll, is not only more likely to endure but is also poised to produce faster, and greater results.

For those fundamentalist Christians who feel bound in their righteousness to a faith-based peace, a “compromise” between victors and vanquished, one might suggest that they become better students of history and learn what problems much of the world has had to endure because of religion-motivated conflict, and the resulting wars. As religious-philosopher Pierre Bayle noted… “No nations are more warlike than those which profess Christianity.” Three centuries later, American evangelicals’ championing of an unjust foreign policy makes this Huguenot’s words prophetic, or at least render them as true at present as they were in the past.

There is such blatant, persistent hate for progressives in the Christian conservative flank of Bush’s militia, that the tirades vented by some of the frocked squad leaders make one wonder whether Christianity is a religion of love, or hatemongering. More hypocritical than their often scoffed biblical Scribes and Pharisees, this Religious Right makes a mockery of Christ’s second great commandment: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Perhaps Nietzsche was truly God-inspired when he said, “In truth, there was only one Christian, and he died on the cross.”

Unlike these self-anointed Christians who, together with their atypical comrades-at-arms: America’s powerful corporate scoundrels, view peace as the aftermath of necessary warring between good and evil, the better nature of progressives takes peace to a higher level… one of broader thinking, more open and rational expression, and lack of dogmatic conduct.

Unfortunately, peace will not be served well… not in the short term. Neither America , nor Palestine , nor the Muslim nations of the Near East or Middle East are likely to find in Bush a true advocate of peace. Not a peace that would favor long-term success… not a peace birthed in rational thought and conduct. Not while American progressivism remains comatose, if not in domestic social issues, in matters that relate to peace and world brotherhood.