Saturday, April 01, 2006

Dominance Games

[ wuf ]

I woke this morning to the sound of a dogfight. My two 20-week old hound puppies, Kyle and Shalo, were mock-fighting with each other, in a dominance game that more than once has crossed over into actual fighting. My vet warned me this could happen, that two puppies would sort out a question of supremacy between themselves; it’s an instinct with them and difficult to train out. I have made it clear to both dogs that I do not approve of any sort of aggression, especially biting, and so when I came out into the yard both dogs immediately stopped, sat up and pretended nothing had happened. In this case Kyle was the main aggressor, so I sat him on top of the trash can for a ‘time out’ and scolded him. He whimpered in the appropriate places that either means he understands he did wrong, or else he has figured out how to say what he thinks I want to hear. Since each dog has crossed 20 pounds in weight, it’s getting to be a big deal to me that they learn to curb their behavior to within the limits taught.

It occurs to me that people are not all that different from dogs. People are social animals that become accustomed to certain routines of behavior and expectations. And like dogs, from time to time certain individuals and groups will exhibit behaviors which must test the patience and forbearance of more mature persons. This is true even up to the level of national policy.

The United States is an odd country, a nation comprised of immigrants and self-created ideals. From what I have read, when we declared our independence from England, most of Europe never figured we would win, and France just backed us in order to weaken England. We very nearly went to war with France just a little while after winning at Yorktown, because of the shabby way in which American freighters were treated. In short order we put together a navy and sent it off to punish pirates off the Barbary Coast. When England invaded us we fought back and established our nation to such a point that no nation has since taken away our land on any coast or battlefield.

We established our nation by a Constitution so effective that dozens of other countries copied it in their own legislatures. We established a military so dominant that we are the acknowledged force of order when so employed. Our money is so ubiquitous that even Communist countries hold reserves of Treasury notes and U.S. currency as a hedge against the weakness of their own money. Our culture pervades everywhere, whether music or literature or mass media. It’s obvious to everyone willing to look, that God has blessed this nation very well and for a very long time.

And for good reason. The United States has symbolized not only the free exercise of faith and personal responsibility, but also the assimilation of all immigrants into an emerging new identity, one which advances Mankind in his best merits. It is no coincidence that America takes the lead in global change. While other nations may begin or support a movement, it always depends on the United States to find its momentum. Without the United States, the League of Nations never had a chance. Once it betrayed the United States, the United Nations lost its right to claim any sort of moral leadership.

As we continue into the Twenty-First century, the world once again looks upon America and is amazed. Afghganistan was supposed to tear us up, but instead it is growing into something better than it has ever been before. Iraq was supposed to be another 'Vietnam', but it has had two free elections and increasingly is able to take careof its own affairs. Al Qaeda has lost more than the Old press will admit, and the U.S. Military looks as strong as ever. Our moral compass is sure, our ideals clean, and we still seem to enjoy God's favor.

Small wonder the enemies of America hate this. To them, we are still the "top dog", and they neither understand nor care that we are not trying to be their superiors, but merely keeping the trust given to us. What we get from France, from Venezuela, from Iran, is no more than a dog's petty dominance game, one which by the Grace of God we shall not lose to them. Not because we deserve the victory, but because we have been trustworthy with that stewardship.

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