America, The United States thereof, is the most powerful nation state on the planet. It is the Goliath of our time, the strongest, richest, most powerful, most envied kid on the block; but it hasn’t always been.
Goliath started out as David some 230 years ago; an underdog, under the heel of a mighty empire, desperate to forge ahead, rejecting both authority and convention, in its goal of establishing a new world where it would be recognized, in the words of George Mason, that all men are by nature equally free and independent, and have certain inherent rights, of which, when they enter into a state of society, they cannot, by any compact, deprive or divest their posterity; namely, the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety.
While America, the institution, has been transformed from those original few states on the northeastern Atlantic seaboard, to the global power it is today, the soul of America has not kept pace with the times; it yearns for the simpler days it knew as a young David.
The resultant conflict manifests itself in many ways, from the Tea Party movement to the culture portrayed and purveyed by Hollywood, the outsider battling the system. From the Book of Eli to the unwritten book of Tea Party policies, this struggle to assume the mantle of David continues. But Why?
Why would Goliath want to be David? The answer of course is he doesn’t, he just wants to be perceived as a David, judged as a David, held to account as a David. Davids get the benefit of the doubt, Goliaths don’t. Goliaths are held to different, harsher standards than Davids.
This disconnect is behind so many of the Foreign policy rifts between America and the rest of the world. America sees itself as a David, albeit one with the power of a Goliath, whereas the rest of the world has a tendency to see America as not just a Goliath, but THE Goliath. America feels misunderstood, whilst the rest of the world so often feels bullied. Unsurprisingly America’s response to being treated like a bully is, sometimes, to act like one.
America needs to realize that it is a Goliath, the rest of the world needs to recognize that America is not only a Goliath, but also aspires to be a David. As the Goliath, America needs to make the first move. Why? Because Goliaths are held to different, harsher standards than Davids.