In the past year, we’ve been hearing a lot about “Winning.” Everyone from Charlie Sheen, to Rick Santorum, to Barack Obama want to say that they are #winning, hashtag and all. But are we really? I mean, as a country? As humans? As a world?
Racial tensions in the US have rarely been higher (in my lifetime) than they are right now. As a country we are facing a number of issues that have brought to bear just how backwards we really are, and it is difficult for some (hopefully many) of us to feel proud of our country during this time of emotional and political crisis.
- SCOTUS (the Supreme Court of the United States) is hearing testimony on whether or not women should be guaranteed access to birth control by law, and the outlook is not as positive as one might hope.
- Most if not all of the Republican presidential hopefuls seem to disregard human rights, supporting only those who look, act, and think the way they do. This does not make them unpopular- these bigoted and narrow positions will help them win their party’s nomination (although probably not the White House come November). They are overwhelmingly anti-gay, anti-minority, anti-woman, anti-education, anti-tax, anti-government, and anti-corporation (except Mitt Romney who would lose the nomination if he was accused of being any more hypocritical). They are pro-Christian morals and politics, pro-guns, and pro-militarization. They believe that dis-investing in social and community programs will strengthen our country and economy, and that continuing to spend excessively on “defense” and our military presence around the world benefits us.
- George Zimmerman, the man who shot Trayvon Martin in the back, is not only still on the street, but in fact supported by many in his community, his state, and around the country. While many people are appalled by what appear to be the facts of the case (it does not help that Zimmerman was recorded speaking to the police who specifically told him not to follow Martin), others say that Zimmerman should be lauded, that we should be cautious about wearing hoodies (really? Blaming a sweatshirt?), and that there should be no mention of racism when speaking about it because both men are of minority background. Laws like the Stand Your Ground Law in Florida should be repealed in all states and municipalities where they exist. No one should be allowed to shoot at will without concern for consequences as long as they say they felt threatened.
I do not believe that it is our responsibility, nor our right, as Americans to dictate how other countries should live. I am particularly wary of the way of thinking that says because we are American we should and we shall. I think that it is a narrow point of view that thinks all people should be like us. I think that there have been few times in US history when we could honestly and proudly say we were doing something better (and before) others. Politically in this country, we have effectively come to a standstill- our federal government has nearly come to a grinding halt in numerous times in the last year because partisanship is more important than the needs and rights of our citizens.
Throughout the world right now, there are too many aggregious things happening to count. Throughout the Middle East governments are falling, or not falling, with catastrophic results. Humanitarian, political, and military efforts have in large part failed to mend what is broken. Neighbors do not know whether or not to trust one another, families are falling apart, and millions are left homeless, country-less, and terrified. A desire to give aid is natural, but any desire to give advice (on the part of the US Government, or people) at this time should be ignored. What right have we to tell people what to do when we can’t even figure it out for ourselves?
A wonderful, truthful post. Proud to have worked at Esquire.