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Why is America’s brand suffering? Mainly because no one’s paying attention to it. We’re like the company you’ve always hated, but you soften up when you find out they’ve given billions to charity. America needs a kick-ass PR firm to remind the world that the reason we’re criticized so much is that we’re held to a higher standard. For example, if regimes in China, the Middle East, or Africa slaughter 10,000 of their own people, the world looks the other way, for it’s expected. If America kills 12 civilians in an accidental bombing raid, we’re universally condemned, and there’s calls to testify in front of a world body. How about, “America. We’ve killed less people in 225 years than many countries do in 3 weeks?”

No matter what anyone says, America is the freest country in the world, with the most opportunity, the highest standard of living, and the highest acceptance of foreigners, bar none. When was the last time you heard of someone wanting to move to France to open a business, or risking their life to escape America? Ask Craig Ferguson. How about, “America. Cubans never push off their make-shift rafts from the South side of the island” or”America. Good luck opening your business in France. ”

We need to remind the world about our standard of living. Our poorest people live better than most middle-class people in other countries. Put it this way – as a whole, our poor people have plenty to eat, have cable TV, own cars, and drive them on well-maintained roads. Their poor people work hard labor 18 hours a day, are hungry, sleep on the ground, poop in an outhouse (if they’re lucky) and have a life expectancy 25 years less than ours.

I suppose we get a bad rap when it comes to wars. Sure, America has interests. When we fight to protect them, we’re condemned. However, other countries are not. (China and Russia, we’re talking to you). America has the kindest, politest foreign policy of any great power in history. Really. America saved the world from the horrific and murderous Italian Fascist, German Nazi, and Soviet totalitarianism regimes. When we do win a war, unlike any other country, we do not annex their territory – we help rebuild it. For example, we destroyed Germany and Japan in World War II, yet spent billions to help rebuild them. North Vietnam’s biggest mistake was winning a war against us, for today, they are a poor impoverished nation. Had we won, we would have helped rebuild and modernize them, and maybe, put in a government friendly to us. Oooh – bad America!!

How about this for a PR campaign – imagine the world without the United States – like the scene in Back to the Future when the nutty professor gets out of a Canadian car. Or we could show the whole world speaking German, living under a socialist regime.

Then again, it might be difficult – I’m doubt if TVs, radios, and the Internet could have been invented under a socialist regime.

by Francis George Brand Futurist The Republik Commander Creative Ops

Photo Credit: Team America: World Police © Paramount Pictures


Where the Reverend Wright went wrong

Do you believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Giver of Life, and the forgiveness of sins? The Reverend Jerimiah Wright, Jr. does and so says he. You know the guy – Our African-American-controversial-pastor du jour and spiritual counsel to presidential hopeful Barak Obama.

Unless you’ve been living under a burning bush, you also know this former Obama advisory board member believes the government of the United States is corrupt, that rich, white men are the root of all evil, and life everlasting can be achieved by ousting Republicans from the White House. And so says he, to his flock of hundreds with unmerciful regularity.

Can I get a witness up in here? Rev. Wright had a couple a zillion when he made his now infamous inflammatory remarks denouncing our government to his congregation at Trinity United Church of Christ on Chicago’s south side; a congregation that happens to include a candidate running for the office of United States president.

Obama made clear that he denounced the good reverend’s remarks of that particular sermon. “The reverend is retiring,” said Obama, a 20-year member of the Wright’s church. “He’s getting on in years.” He just had a bad day. Right? It’s time to forgive the good reverend and move on. After all, isn’t forgiveness what religion’s all about?

Let’s forgive the fact that the Reverend Wright uses his influence and power to propagate politics from his pulpit. (Say that fast five times and you’ve won yourself a communion cracker.) Let’s forgive the fact that he hates rich, white men. Let’s forgive the fact that he hates republicans. Let’s also forgive the fact that in a 2003 sermon he encouraged his congregation and all blacks to “damn America in God’s name” and blamed the U.S. for provoking the 9/11 terrorist attacks by dropping nuclear weapons on Japan in World War II and supporting Israel. Additionally, Wright called America the “number 1 killer in the world” and blamed the country for launching the AIDS virus to maintain affluence at the expense of the Third World. And let’s forgive his sermon where he said the American government lied about inventing the HIV virus as a means of genocide against people of color.

I’ll tell you what’s unforgivable: A religious leader inspiring hate, fear and contempt from a position of power and influence. From a pulpit, no less, to a rapt audience. Take a gander at the youtube video. His congregation was beyond rapt. They looked positively punch drunk. (fyi: be wary of the kool-aid guys).

From my experience, going to church is an uplifting and joyful celebration, full of lovely prose about love and acceptance and forgiveness. Sit, kneel, stand. Sing some catchy tunes about love and acceptance and forgiveness. Worship God followed by: drink coffee and eat bundt cake. If my pastor has a political point of view, I don’t know it. Don’t want to. Amen.

What Obama has said he values most about Pastor Wright is not so much his day-to-day political advice, but rather his sage spiritual counsel. “He’s much more of a sounding board,” said Obama, “to make sure I am speaking truthfully about what I believe as possible and that I’m not losing myself in some of the hype and hoopla and stress that’s involved in national politics.”

Sounding board? I wonder if Obama would be better served seeking advice from Louis Farrakahn, who, by the way, is a longtime friend of … sound the trumpets please … The Reverend Wright. Lord, have mercy.

Lo, there have been many before Wright who have paved the way for preaching politics from the pulpit: Jerry Falwell, Jesse Jackson, the kool aid guy and lest us not forget Pat Robertson. Hell, this guy even ran for president (talk about crossing over).

Here’s my advice to the wrong Reverend Wright and all those of his ilk: Before you cross the threshold of God’s house each Sunday, check your political views (radical, militant, racist and/or otherwise) at the door. And stick to what you know (and what you’ve been called upon to do): Preaching the power of God’s word and uplifting your congregation. ‘nuff said.

p.s.: Forgive me God, for I have penned. But hey, this is an opinion editorial. I welcome your comments.

And now for … A little theological humor…

How many Christians does it take to change a light bulb?

Charismatic (Born Again): Only 1
Hands are already in the air.

Pentecostal: 10
One to change the bulb, and nine to pray against the spirit of darkness.

Presbyterians: None
Lights will go on and off at predestined times.

Roman Catholic: None
Candles only.

Baptists: At least 15.
One to change the light bulb, and three committees to approve the change and decide who brings the potato salad and fried chicken.

Episcopalians: 3
One to call the electrician, one to mix the drinks and one to talk about how much better the old one was.

Mormons: 5
One man to change the bulb, and four wives to tell him how to do it.

We choose not to make a statement either in favor of or against the need for a light bulb. However, if in your own journey you have found that light bulbs work for you, you are invited to write a poem or compose a modern dance about your light bulb for the next Sunday service, in which we will explore a number of light bulb traditions, including incandescent, fluorescent, 3-way, long-life and tinted, all of which are equally valid paths to luminescence.

Methodists: Undetermined
Whether your light is bright, dull, or completely out, you are loved. You can be a light bulb, turnip bulb, or tulip bulb. Bring a bulb of your choice to the Sunday lighting service and a covered dish to pass.

Nazarene: 6
One woman to replace the bulb while five men review church lighting policy.

Lutherans: None
Lutherans don’t believe in change.

What’s a light bulb?

by Jacqueline Stevenson Brand Futurist The Republik Corporal Strategic Ops