By and large, many conservative "believe" in having a smaller federal governement. This, of course, is stretching the use of the word "believe."
When you look at spending, the Republican party since 1980 has added more money to federal deficit. The federal government expanded under Reagan and G.W. Bush than at any other time in the past 60 years. Still, just about any conservative you meet will talk about how they value a smaller federal government, spending limit, etc.
Of course, the military, which is where a lot of this deficit came from, is not considered as a part of this "big government." Although the military ultimately answers to the Big Chief and the Pentagon commanders and the Department of Defense are the biggest expenditures of the executive branch of the government, most conservatives do not consider the military as part of an expanded federal government.
However, in the eyes of the globe, this is precisely how the American federal government is expanding, and how "big brother" finds his way into everyone's lives. In fact, our reach is so far and has so much influence over trade policies, interational disputes, etc. that many call our government imperialistic. Although we are not technically colonized other nations in the classical sense, it seems that we have in many ways colonized many, many places on the globe.
Many citizens here in the United States will speak about how great of a country we have, sing the virtues of the USA, and talk about patriotism and spreading democracy. They will speak about a grand history of liberation, wealth, and freedom. However, when put under the microscope, such ideas seem to be distorted. In its history, this land never belonged to "us." In fact, the whole land from Atlantic to Pacific was inhabited by Native Americans tribes. We took the land and kept taking the land even up through the 20th century.
Then there is the problem of slavery and racism. Up until the early 1970s, blatant disrimination was rampant. Even now, passive forms of discrimination still function towards African-Americans. Then there is the issue of immigrants-- legal and illegal. At some point, "we" began thinking that this land belonged to "us." Although a majority of Americans claim to be Christian, this idea of the land belonging to "us" seems to be very anti-biblical-- especially since "we" took the land from the Native Americans.
Put these things together with dozens of botched military activities, economic programs, and international policies, and what you get is not a benevolent nation with great actions of compassion and justice. Instead, you have a nation that was founded on killing and stealing, who has oppressed an entire skin color of people, and who still govern out of fear from the "other." Indeed, perhaps we should be afraid of the other. Eye for an eye seems to be the ideology of the day. We took, stole, manipulated, oppressed, and killed. Perhaps, we will reap what we sowed. Perhaps, we sowed in unrighteousness and will reap more unrighteousness.
To be sure, there is another side of the story shared here. There are plenty of good deeds, good policies, and good people trying to do good in the world-- in the past and now in the present. However, the story that I have shared is rarely shared (in my opinion of course). Perhaps some will feel that "we need to focus on the positive." This is just a stunt of words to prevent us from taking a sobering look at the oppressive policies and manipulative actions being done today.
I am always amazed at how we are willing to be 100s of billions of dollars in debt for a war on the other side of the world, but we would be unwilling to spend $500 billion in deficit on education. I can hear someone saying right now, "Well, we should not be in deficit for any reason-- military or education." That same person will scream, shout, and send a letter to his congressman when a "liberal" suggests spending that much on education, but will call it patriotic when we shoot a smart bomb that destroys an entire neighborhood halfway around the world.
I'm tired... very tired of the rhetoric and contradictions. I'm tired of people who call themselves Christians who sanction or at least turn a blind eye to "collateral damage" (a nice phrase for murdering innocent people!!!). I'm tired of Christians who believe in a large military apparatus that literally is in every region of the globe-- this is far beyond national security. I'm tired of Christians who say they believe in stewardship who continue to elect officials who wasted money in deficit spending. I'm tired of Christians who say they are pro-life and yet advocate for larger military budgets. The United States has committed the very worst atrocity in the history of the planet-- two nuclear bombs dropped on two cities full of innocent people-- including many, many children!!!
And yet, I will be the one who is questioned for writing this post. American Christians from the evangelical tradition question my faith-- in fact many don't even question... they believe that I am really not one. The first Christians sacrificed their lives without weapons in hand-- that is the true sacrifice. Just as Jesus told Peter, "he who lives by the sword shall die by the sword." It's time for us to listen to Jesus. We must be Christians who live in America rather than American Christians. And in the end, this will actually make for a better America. The best way to be patriotic is to be Christian because it will make our communities better places which will in turn make a better nation which will in turn create a better world.