What do we look like to the world we want to lead: WOULD YOU FOLLOW US? I met a fellow from Italy a short while back. He was visiting family here. I was amazed to find he was far more aware of what is going on in our country than many of those who live here. We do not present to him the image we would like to believe we present, which got me to thinking. I don’t know if it’s some form of national ego or what, but the American people seem to think it is the job of the United States to lead the world. We think all countries should function as we do and simply follow in our footsteps. We want them to have open and fair elections, but recent events in Egypt seem to indicate we want someone we like elected. Back home, the concept of open and fair elections is in some peril. We have many states passing laws requiring ID’s that many legally qualified voters will have problems getting. When the Supreme Court ended some of the Voting Rights Act, because they felt it was no longer needed, states resumed passing laws that they could not have passed prior to that decision. North Carolina jumped on the voter ID bandwagon in a big way. nbcnews/id/26315908/#52769481 The Justice Department will challenge this law, as it has challenged the Texas law, but we can’t know now if that challenge will be successful or if the new laws will be upheld. I have no idea what happens if we hold elections under laws that are later found illegal. We may find out. My point here is that people in other countries are aware of this stuff happening here, and I suspect it makes it impossible, in real terms, to hold ourselves up as the beacon of democracy we like to boast about. Elsewhere, we have problems with contaminating our water supply while we deny doing so. A lot of the American people realize that fracking had to be exempted from our clean water laws. That simple fact pretty much tells us it is unsafe. Two documentary films, “Gasland” and “Gasland Part two” have pretty much documented what is going on and how our government that claims to represent the people is, in fact, representing the energy companies to the detriment of the people. Even Colbert got into this subject: colbertnation/the-colbert-report-videos/428641/august-15-2013/golden-age-of-flammability (second half comes after the commercial) colbertnation/the-colbert-report-videos/428642/august-15-2013/the-word---gag-gift These movies and shows are not just seen by American audiences. We can’t keep these things secret. All over the world people who are paying attention know what is happening. If my friend from Italy knows, it’s reasonable to assume that people all over the world know. They know that no one on Wall Street went to jail. They know Iraq had no WMD’s. They know about our debate over healthcare and wonder how anyone can support a system that doesn’t cover everyone. They know job opportunities here aren’t really worthy of boast. They know that the disparity of wealth/income is enormous. Women may have more rights here than in some other countries, but they have less rights than men. They know that gays and people of color still suffer from discrimination in the USA. This man from Italy made no effort to argue that things were better in Italy. He was merely pointing out that the USA is falling far short of the image it tries to project, and that things here weren’t all that much better than in Italy. It’s not a secret that our House has voted to repeal Obamacare 40 times, but has voted on virtually nothing that would create jobs, fix our infrastructure, or anything else that might move our nation forward. It is not a secret that we are falling behind in many areas. Leading is usually done by the one in front. Why do we think we are an exception to that? People in other countries know that we are holding people in Gitmo under circumstances diametrically opposed to the principles we preach. They know we tortured prisoners of war caught in Iraq. They know we have a huge prison population and daily murder rate that, if this were something good, would be the envy of the world. They know our budget is out of sync, and our government is dysfunctional. They know we have the most powerful military in the world and that we have used it frequently, but not always in our defense. Even as far back as the Vietnam War the United States did things that had nothing to do with our defense and were not things to brag about. The world knows about napalm, Agent Orange, and the bombing of Cambodia. It took a while for the people of the US to see that war served no purpose. I suspect much of the rest of the world was aware of that earlier on. Fast forward to Iraq and there were protests in several places around the world against our invasion of that country. We were told that “everyone” believed Saddam had WMD’s, but there were many who did not believe that, both here and elsewhere. Detroit gets a lot of coverage these days, complete with finger pointing by some to blame others. Regardless of whom one wishes to blame, or tries to blame, what is known here and elsewhere is that Detroit is bankrupt. It is also known that Michigan has decided our democratic system doesn’t work and has passed a law letting the governor appoint city managers with cart blanche authority, and stripped the elected people of all authority. In areas that are not directly related to our government, we have been seeing severe hurricanes and tornadoes bringing great destruction to parts of our nation. We have seen droughts lead to massive fires. Still, America is slow to get on the Global Warming or Climate Change page because the oil company money appears to be running our government. In spite of all this, we remain staunch in our belief the world would want to be more like us. In that respect, we may be a Christian nation, and this appears to be a belief in a miracle. I have followed a few people in my life. It was always in a situation where I wanted to go somewhere, and they were going there and knew the way. I have never followed anyone to somewhere I didn’t want to go. I believe the United States has a very distorted, and conceited, view of itself. Part of that distorted view is the belief all the other countries envy us. There might have been a time when they did. When we put man on the moon and successfully brought him home, I have no doubt the world took notice. Today, if we wish to go to the space station, we must buy a ticket from Russia. I suspect the same world is aware of that. If we lived up to the principles we like to believe we live by, we could be a world leader. People would follow in our footsteps because they like what they see. Today when they look at the USA they see chaos, dysfunction, racism, attacks on voting rights, incredible debt, too many people in prison for stupid reasons, and a long list of things that we, as a nation, should be embarrassed by; not proud of. We present ourselves as the great, powerful, and wise wizard, but we are merely the confused man behind the curtain. The world knows that. We pulled the curtain back and exposed the fraud ourselves. Knowing this, would you follow us? Is America really a beacon, or is it a hazard warning sign?
Posted on: Wed, 21 Aug 2013 21:17:17 +0000
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