Note: Part I of this piece, America's Soul Sickness & Permanent War: Obama's Rude Awakening, was posted on New Year's Day, 2009.
In Columbus and other Cannibals, American Indian scholar, Jack Forbes writes about a disease that afflicts the West, an illness he refers to as: soul sickness. It's the belief that God has especially chosen Westerners to bring civilization and enlightenment to the rest of the world. While it permeates all of Western society, it appears to manifest most poignantly in the United States.
With Obama soon to be at the helm, many people are seemingly not clear about what this means vis a vis this sickness.
Under this superstitious belief system, Westerners have been authorized by God to eliminate infidels and heathens if they don't convert (because if they don't, the unbelievers may wipe out the civilized world). This traditionally has meant the right to take lands, colonize and enslave peoples and the right to invade, occupy and destroy nations. It matters little if one innocent person dies or a million, because they are not truly human. Conversely, the death of one Westerner or the threat to one, is "just cause" for war. Since Westerners believe God has anointed them to spread Judeo-Christian values, democracy & capitalism, all their military incursions are justified. This is why war is constantly waged, always obviating the need for laws and trials
Under this belief system, Westerners are always combating evil, terrorists and disciples of the devil. Yet, this delusional belief system sometimes comes face to face with reality. For instance, most religious/spiritual leaders worldwide do not believe that the invasion of Iraq has constituted a "just war." This has led to cognitive dissonance – a contradictory mental and spiritual state.
None of this has affected president Bush who actually believes that God specifically chose him to lead the United States and to wage war against Iraq. Yes. The Prince of Peace chose him to bring peace – via war – to Arab/Muslim infidels, and eventually, to the entire world.
Bush's beliefs best exemplify that soul sickness that Forbes writes about. It is a combination of sickness and delusion – the spiritual/political belief that the United States and its allies are entitled – by divine birthright – to wage permanent war against any and all nations – to bring civilization to the uncivilized. This belief did not begin with Bush-Cheney. Reagan-Bush took these same ideas to Africa and Central America. Johnson & Nixon previously took them to Asia. As Forbes points out, it is the same ideas – steeped in the Dark Ages – that were brought to this continent by the conquistadors.
Accompanying these delusional ideas is the belief in the eternal right – with impunity – to freely exploit these nations, their peoples and resources.
All of this also is combined with the belief that Euroamericans were especially chosen to build a heaven on earth in the Americas – a place reserved for God's chosen few (dark people not welcome here). Ironically, this belief system – as exemplified by the idea of Providence, Manifest Destiny and the religio-secular idea of American exceptionalism – has never believed in borders. Quite the contrary. The very idea of a United States has been an expansionist belief: the original idea was that Euroamericans would one day take over the entire Americas – from sea to shining sea. Yet, now, heaven on earth seemingly constitutes the entire planet.
But there is still the land mass called the United States – the New Promised Land – especially designated for the chosen few. While these chosen few seek global domination, adherents of this philosophy insist upon a form of racial/political and cultural purity for these United States. This is why we have "culture" or "civilizational" wars.
This is why these chosen few insist upon English Only and walls along the southern, but not the northern, border. This is the reason for massive immigration raids against red-brown peoples; to communicate the message of who belongs, who is legitimate and who merits rights and who doesn't. It's all predicated on a 500-year idea on this continent of who is human and who is entitled to live – and who isn't.
The majority of the world has diagnosed this sickness and thoroughly rejects it. It is highly likely, based on the 2008 presidential elections, that most Americans have also diagnosed this sickness, and many also reject it.
The idea of Barack Obama in the White House also causes cognitive dissonance. It may be counter-intuitive, but it is not at all certain that a Black Man – or this Black Man – will combat this centuries-old soul sickness and the barbaric policies that emanate from it.