I find Independence Day a little depressing. As I try to reflect on the questions facing these United States, I have few answers.
What to say about immigration? I've spent my life in the Franciscan order living and working in churches built by Germans, but now populated by folks of various Spanish-speaking cultures. I ride on the railroads built by the Chinese and the subways built by the Irish. Should it be any surpise that people are still seeking a share in our wealth and spirit of self-determination?
What to say about our conflict with violent Islam, the so-called war on terror? Yes, people need protection from harm. But there is part of me that has some sympathy with the "terrorists." Theirs is a theological world, and perhaps they feel threatened by the economic and cultural imperialism of the secular west. At least the paganism of the classical pagans was one of beauty and order; ours is the much more crass paganism of power, wealth, and security.
We (and our allies) are the only ones allowed to have nuclear weapons. Unfriendly states are only allowed defenses that we can beat easily. We decide what defenses and economies others are allowed to have; what is this but the colonialism whose rejection we allegedly celebrate today?
When I was in school and they taught us about the American Revolution, we were told about how the American soldiers used subterfuge and guerilla tactics to defeat the orderly British army. But they weren't terrorists, we were taught, they were creative, do-it-yourself, American freedom fighters.