In the US we like to classify things into groups, especially people. People come in all shapes and sizes and backgrounds and belief systems, and each group has a classification.
If you are a well fed white conservative you will have many things in common with all the other well fed white conservative Americans.
If you are a liberal you won’t have that much in common with your conservative neighbor. Of course if the two of you are different races you may have even less in common . . . and the beat goes on . . . until you reach the point where you have little in common with anybody save the man in your mirror.
And that is where we are here in the U.S. From congress down to the local PTA, it is broken. Everything is broken . . . and we piss and moan and wonder why.
It seems that in my life I have spent a vast amount of time searching for community. I found it first in the housing project where I was born and raised. I found it in the small military unit I was once a part of. I found it in the hippie world, and I found it in the born again Christian world. . . but all these worlds I am now finding, since I am an old man, were merely stages in my life that fed the need to belong to something bigger and greater than myself. That’s because I never actually knew who I was.
Today I have only one classification I care about and I feel there is only one classification ANYBODY should care about. In essence there are only two people on this earth . . . one understands his place in the natural world and one doesn’t.
One believes in Manifest Destiny and the other believes in the ‘oneness in all things.’
Manifest Destiny has conquered the governing bodies of the world. Those who believe in the oneness have been pushed aside by the manifest destiny crowd due to their lust for power/posession/position.
Manifest destiny feels it’s quite alright to scalp a mountain top in West Virginia and destroy huge amounts of real estate in order to get to the coal beneath it.
“We need it”, they say. “We need jobs”, they say.
What they never say is, “We need larger profits and we really don’t give a shit whether you have your mountain or a wasteland in your backyard because WE don’t live here!”
Manifest destiny thought it was quite alright to place the Native American on reservations or kill them openly in order to gain access to their land. After all, God created all this for the white Anglo Saxon . . .right?
Manifest destiny thinks it is quite alright to imprison the Palestinian inside the walls of the West Bank and order him to be good or else their hovels will be bulldozed and buried around them, (or on top of them) . . . doesn’t matter does it? Israel is God’s chosen people . . .
What is manifest destiny anyways?
Manifest Destiny is a term for the attitude prevalent during the 19th century period of American expansion that the United States not only could, but was destined to, stretch from coast to coast. This attitude helped fuel western settlement, Native American removal and war with Mexico. The phrase was first employed by John L. O’Sullivan in an article on the annexation of Texas published in the July-August 1845 edition of the United States Magazine and Democratic Review, which he edited.
The term manifest destiny originated in the 1840s. It expressed the belief that it was Anglo-Saxon Americans’ providential mission to expand their civilization and institutions across the breadth of North America. This expansion would involve not merely territorial aggrandizement but the progress of liberty and individual economic opportunity as well.
It was, O’Sullivan claimed, ‘our manifest destiny to overspread the continent allotted by Providence for the free development of our yearly multiplying millions.’
The first appearance of the philosophy behind manifest destiny I could find, appears in Genesis 1 27-28 in the bible where it says:
27. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
28. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
Now whether you believe that or not isn’t something I care to get into in this essay, only that this phrasing is what I believe to be the cornerstone for the birthing of the philosophy called Manifest Destiny.
What the passage does using words like ‘image of God’ and ‘dominion’ is separate man from integration INTO the natural world and instead places him on a pedestal ABOVE the natural world . . . he becomes a separate entity living on an ethereal plane somewhere between the earth and the heavens. He, man, is God’s emissary to the lower world.
That is pretty heady stuff for the true believer, but regardless of how one feels about all that, it is hard to disagree with the fact that we have done a horrible job as caretaker of this planet, and by all rights should have been fired a long time ago.
On the other hand the aborigine who never heard all that stuff, had no problem integrating with nature, and he did a good job of it.
The militant religions, Judaism/Christianity/Islam, never saw themselves as being subservient to the earth, or a part of nature. They never grasped the concept of oneness (and still don’t) Therefore they destroy for personal gain without a thought as to what their action will do to the rest of creation. It’s all theirs for the taking, to do with what they please . . . therefore we have the problems we have today.
Today we have advanced technologically to the point where we worry that man is going to destroy the earth. But personally, I think the earth will prevail, and man will be forced into extinction alongside all the other species that failed to evolve and adapt.
Manifest Destiny has been around for a very long time, it worked it’s way through all the early empires and it came to the America’s in the boat with Christopher Columbus and his crew of merry pranksters.
It was here manifest destiny met face up with an entire civilization of human beings who lived according to another law, the law of oneness. The peace loving Arawak greeted the boat people with gifts and gaiety. Their laughter soon turned to cries of pain as Columbus thrust his sword into their open heart.
Christopher felt the hand of God had led him to the America’s, so he also felt he had a right to the gold as well as the Arawak who possessed it. He quickly enslaved the people and ultimately put the Third Reich to shame with his murderous rampage through the islands. The God fearing Spaniard soon proved himself to be the spawn of Satan as he mutilated, killed or enslaved an entire civilization in his lust for gold.
From the Peoples History Of The United States – Howard Zinn:
Arawak men and women, naked, tawny, and full of wonder, emerged from their villages onto the island’s beaches and swam out to get a closer look at the strange big boat. When Columbus and his sailors came ashore, carrying swords, speaking oddly, the Arawaks ran to greet them, brought them food, water, gifts. He later wrote of this in his log:
“They… brought us parrots and balls of cotton and spears and many other things, which they exchanged for the glass beads and hawks’ bells. They willingly traded everything they owned…. They were well-built, with good bodies and handsome features…. They do not bear arms, and do not know them, for I showed them a sword, they took it by the edge and cut themselves out of ignorance. They have no iron. Their spears are made of cane…. They would make fine servants…. With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want.”
Ultimately the entire Arawak nation died or were killed off until they went extinct . . . sound familiar? (remember in the last 40 years 53% of all species have died off on this planet because of human action)
For all that old Criss gets himself a holiday every year in remembrance of his great personal achievements. THIS, once again . . . proves how out of touch with reality the manifest destiny people truly are.
These days manifest destiny has arisen full swing once again. In the christian conservative movement. . . in right wing groups such as the Tea Party . . . in media shows like Fox News and the Rush Limbaugh Show where all truths are spun and bent to feed the notion that we, the American, are a special godly breed with a calling to proselytise our religion and our political system throughout the world.
How’s THAT going for us?
I think the bullshit ends about 12 miles off our golden shore, because the rest of the world doesn’t seem to be buying any of it. I LOVE this country. We have great potential to actually become the things we brag about, but first we must reassess our situation.
I think that when we begin to realize we are just a part of the natural world, at best merely her caretaker and not King over her, we will have taken a huge step forward in the way we treat our Mother.
I often wonder what we European interlopers would have learned had we chosen to befriend the Native American instead of conquering and killing him . . . I wonder what we human interlopers would have learned from the natural world had we chosen to honor her above all else instead of attempting to conquer and use her for our own selfish desires.
Remember John Kennedy? Instead of, “Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country!”
Wonder what would happen if we changed ‘country’ to ‘planet’ and actually lived that way? . . . Planet first in every decision. Technology can go on . . . life can still be comfortable and good. Women will still have food to feed their babies and men will have their toys to play with.
This is not a utopian idea, this is what we MUST do in order to survive on this planet. The way things are . . . we have worn out our welcome.