This topic could go places - I could easily get off on a tangent about fearing God and what that means - but I'm going to try to restrict my ramblings to my original thought, which was related to politics and international relations.
This morning on KTAR's morning show, George Stephanopoulos was on talking about the Democratic National Convention. There was a brief discussion about the Dems' emphasis on having the respect of the rest of the world (or as much of it as possible), and George mentioned that this is due to a recent poll in which, given the choice between being feared by other nations and being respected by other nations, the American public for the first time overwhelmingly chose respect.
My immediate reaction was "Who cares about respect? I choose fear! NUKE THE MOON!" (You have to follow that link to understand me here, if you don't read IMAO... This essay is hysterical.) I then had to assure the hubby-head that I have not become a reactionary wacko, and that I don't really think Frank J. was 100% serious there...
In all honesty, though, of course I would prefer if America was universally respected abroad. I would love it if the majority of people worldwide felt the way we do about America - it's the best place on this planet to live. Land of the free, home of the brave. Land of opportunity. Proof that Christianity, capitalism and democracy are the best way to live - although sometimes it seems that our society has started turning away from much of what we founded this country on. I would love for the rest of the world to say "Yeah, America - it's a great place. If I didn't live here, that's where I would want to be."
Unfortunately, there are countries that will not - for reasons of theology or ideology or snobbery or whatever it is - absolutely will not respect us. And my feeling is, those countries need to fear us.
Also unfortunately, for whatever reason, we continue to provide foreign aid to those countries that have no respect for us whatsoever. And in that point, I do agree with Frank J. America has enough to take care of at home and much better use for our money than shelling out gazillions of dollars to countries that disrespect and demean us. We continue to play host to the United Nations and play along with them (most of the time, that is) even when many of the countries represented openly deride our nation, our culture and our goverment, and show an amazing disregard for our laws.
Yes, there are things about America, our government and our society, that make no sense. There are things that don't work as well as they should. There is injustice and hypocricy and things that are just plain wrong. But all told, I still believe in this country. I still think that it's the best place on this planet to live. I still sing the National Anthem and say the Pledge of Allegiance with my hand over my heart. And I still pray for God to bless America, land that I love...