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Living Up to the International Role Model March 1, 2011

Posted by shwaldman in Politics, Society.
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I was listening to Fareed Zakaria’s GPS this morning and a couple of thoughts occurred to me. First, was the thought the financial crisis, caused by US deregulation of the banking industry, is what is causing the crisis in the Middle East. I honestly believe the turmoil will become a good thing, though it will sadly take a lot of time and many lives. I wonder how long it will before the financial managers start to tout this and take “credit” for it. The dialog is likely to become more like an SNL skit from the 80s. “Yeah, we meant to do that, that’s the ticket.” And then comes their greed in figuring out how to take advantage of it…

The collapse of the dictatorships across the Middle East is undoubtedly caused by the financial breakdown and ripple of issues that started here in the US. When people are surviving on $2 per day, the recession/depression takes a much deeper toll. These monetary issues have been causing various problems across the world and yes, international banks should accept some of the blame too, but the US unleashed the havoc. I still don’t seem to hear anyone taking accountability for this.

As I process these thoughts, I get frustrated by our politicians continuing to tout our “we are the greatest country in the world” mantra. I am not sure how other countries few our ethnocentric views, but it gets tiring pretending that we do everything right. And in that light, I appreciate that other countries look to us for our democracy, but do they see what is happening now? As a young country, we are still new to this. We are supposed to be founded on freedom and a superior capitalist society, but these systems are showing their cracks. If we are going to be the role model to other countries, we need to get this stuff figured out.

In 1776 our founder put together the basis for our life today. Two hundred and thirty-five years later, we seem to have lost our way. We want people to have freedom of expression, but that also means we allow people to spread lies and mis-information. We want people to have the freedom to carry guns, but that also means gun safety and requirements for who can carry them are lax. The Constitution was founded based on the inequalities of the time and we are still working on treated all people fairly.

At its founding, in 1776, the US population is estimated to have been about 2.5 million people. That is less than half the population of Libya and 32 times smaller than Eqypt. Today, we are a country of over 300 million and things are much more complex, globally, technically, and as a diverse society. I think it is time we revisit the laws we have. Unfortunately, we have waited so long, too long, and our country has returned into North vs South, Red vs Blue, and any other extremist view you want to check. Also, the people who are in a position (power) to make this happen are precisely the people who stand to lose the most. (Take for instance the fact that we may face a government shutdown and yet our Congressional “leaders” will continue to receive their salary and benefits!) But that is exactly the point we are seeing in the Middle East. The people are rising up and saying they have been oppressed long enough. The people in power need to have the foresight, wisdom and maturity to put the values of the people ahead of their own. In this way, who’s the teacher and who’s the student? The US needs to open our eyes!

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Living Up To The International Role Model…

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