Morgan Spurlock did well to use his fame (earned from his Super Size Me documentary) to inspire people to think more.
It just so happens that, as I'm writing this, the clock is just rolling over into the the seventh anniversary of 9-11. So in honor of Spurlock's efforts, I can't help wondering, what has the United States accomplished in the last seven years, since we launched our "global war on terror?"
I learned from Spurlock's documentary that there has been more terrorist activity in the seven years since September 11th, 2001 than in the twenty years preceding. Spurlock points out very astutely that our War on Terror has been about as effective as our War on Drugs. This makes sense, as declaring war on terrorism is like trying to prevent people from having angry thoughts. Terrorism, at it's core, is a thought crime in the eyes of the U.S. government. The Department of Homeland Security seems to be saying, "If you even think about it, we will kill you."
The worst thing the U.S. could have done to resist terrorists is declare war on them. Violent resistance is kindling to the fires of religious fundamentalism. All Osama Bin Laden needs to strenghthen his cause is a violent aggressor.
Come to think of it, Bin Laden has been embarrassingly successful since the September 11th attacks (that is, if he really was the mastermind behind that event). He has singlehandedly tied up the largest, most advanced military in the world for the last seven years in Iraq and Afghanistan. Thousands of Americans have died and I wouldn't be surprised if at least a million Iraqies have been killed (655,000 was an estimate made by an indepent source in 2006; of course American military estimates are much less). Bin Laden has handicapped the American airline industry functionally as well as financially. The war has cost Americans somewhere around a trillion dollars, which has resulted in the worst debt and inflation in U.S. history.
President Bush has mentioned not being subject to fear (or terror), but that is exactly what has happened since 9-11. Americans have given Bin Laden more power than he ever could have obtained without our help.
Spurlock interviews a Saudi man who points out that the Saudi people would benefit from a more secularist goverment. The U.S. has proven that this is true. The best kind of government is one that is preoccupied with seeking it's people's best interests, not enforcing a religious code. Americans have thrived the most when they have enjoyed unhindered freedom of religion. Even communism would work under a totally fair and balanced goverment. However, inevitably, corruption and special interest groups end up imposing their views and oppressing the greater population.
It is obvious that professing Christians think too religiously about who they will vote for. It is inappropriate to expect politicians to enforce a moral code. This goes both ways of course. There are two things wrong with electing officials based on their stance on abortion (the single most influential issue for Christians in America):
(1.) If our last hope in preventing abortions is to elect certain officials who are against it, then we are too late... elected officials will reflect the priorities of their people (as they should if our system is, in fact, democratic).
(2.) If we elect officials based on their stance on abortion and nothing else, then there is a fair chance that these officials will end up being incompetent in other vital areas.
Polititians (Republicans) compound their troubles by touting their religion. George Bush, for example, has been more vocal about his religion than Bill Clinton... but who has done a better job governing the country? Under which of these men have Americans and the rest of the world benefited more?
I would be the first one to say that morality is of the utmost importance... but as far as this American system is concerned, freedom is our strength so we should stick to it. Let people decide for themselves. Let the majority decide so, if anything goes drastically wrong, we will have only ourselves to blame.