Has anyone seen my moral high ground?
I’m interested in a recent article in the Seattle Times about casual sexual encounters for two reasons. The first reason has to do with how we’re perceived globally. Since a marriage is more likely to fail in America than anywhere else in the world, and since we also are near the front of the pack in statistics such as abortion, venereal disease, and those ailments that arise from a sense of isolation, it’s understandable that not everyone would want to be ‘just like us’. In fact, it’s understandable that Islamic cultures, with their strong ties of family and their limitations of sexual expression to marriage, would find our culture reprehensible. It’s equally odd that we would then frame our struggle to export democracy as a struggle between good and evil.
Don’t get me wrong. I understand some of the evils and shortcomings of Islamic culture, and I’m not advocating bashing our culture or exalting another. But I am suggesting that we’re perceived by much of the world as doing just the opposite – in public platforms on the world stage, our rhetoric tends to exalt American culture and bash those cultures who aren’t part of the ‘coalition of the willing’. What’s needed, it seems to me, is the humility to realize that, for all our strengths, our American culture is riddled with some deep pathologies. And when we turn our eyes to other parts of the world we should acknowledge that there are cultures that do things better than we, and be willing to learn from them. This would go far in creating a different, and I would assume, better image for the USA over on this side of the Atlantic.
The other observation from the article needs to be saved for another time… I need to go teach.