parsimonious – adj. – exhibiting or marked by parsimony; especially : frugal to the point of stinginess. 2. : sparing, restrained. ~ Merriam-Webster Dictionary
Parsons and politicians are the folks we generally associate with this blessing, and I have come to see it as ultimately stingy, selfish and sanctimonious. (You can look up that ‘un yourself.) But it’s not just them. It’s sung, and sung loudly, at sporting events and church services and civic gatherings by the rest of us common folk. A stingy blessing. This is the one I mean:
“God bless America.”
All due respect to Irving Berlin, it’s rattled off at the end of stump speeches and sermons and congregations of all sorts with, I suspect, the merest whiff of intention or recognition of its gravity.
God bless our nation. Us. The U.S. Not anybody else. They can fend for themselves, those godless folk who don’t even ask blessings on their country. Phooey on ’em.
I know it’s not meant that way. However … don’t you think it sounds that way to the folks who aren’t Americans? You know there’s quite a few of them out there. A good number of them speak English … sometimes in addition to their own language(s).
Shouldn’t Americans be concerned about what them foreigners think?
So why isn’t there a pol or a pastor somewhere who’ll close an address with a wider, more generous blessing? Someone who’ll step up and say:
“God bless America. But not just America. May God bless the people of every nation … with good health and prosperity, a greater measure of freedom, a deeper perception of responsibility, a more heartfelt sensitivity to the needs of others, and a brighter hope for the future.
“May God bless all of His children, wherever they live, whatever they have been taught to believe or disbelieve, with a mind and heart more open to His will, the good He wants and intends for them.
“May God bless all of creation with balance and sustainability in every conceivable way, so that all the earth may indeed be reconciled to Him.
“And may those who believe always reflect His glory by living their lives as conduits of His love, light and goodness in His world.
“May God bless America. But not just America.
“May God bless His world.”
I’d vote for somebody who did that.