I have been hearing about many bad things happening in America. Congress has been proving once again that they are incapable of upholding the principle of E Pluribus Unum (which is found on the seal of the United States itself), through the conservative half of congress turning their backs on a pagan speaker in an act of pure hypocritical intolerance and ignorance. Politicians are proving themselves to be out of touch with the knowledge of modern times as well as the true meaning of liberty, and dis-servicing the country for it. Lawmakers are not only trying ever more to back away from enabling full equal rights to all, but they’re also trying to make themselves immune to corruption. The state is still trying to surveil its own people under the guise of protection. And police brutality is not only alive and biting at people for even small crimes, it has culminated in a riot.
I don’t believe all of America is going downhill, but from what I have heard from friends who live in America, it is becoming an increasingly divided, increasingly savage, and increasingly authoritarian place, all thanks to ignorance on part of those in the government as well as the people themselves. At any rate, the America we know now and may yet see is certainly very different from the America of even 10, 20, 30, or even 50 years ago, and certainly different from the America that I have experienced (then again, I personally have only ever been in three states, all of them in the Northeast). And who can imagine what America will be like after the election in 2016.
And yet, I feel like I can’t go without a sense of hope. I just can’t believe America is totally unliveable for anyone. Maybe it’s because I honor America as the place where a lot about me started, and in the UK where I live it’s a source of uniqueness because no one else where I live speaks in an American accent. I couldn’t talk when I was a toddler in the UK and I had certain special needs, and my parents decided to get me special education in America for about 5 years. For better or worse, America is a part of my personal development and my life and I’ve met nice people, a few of whom I still manage to keep in touch with. I’ll fully admit I haven’t really suffered the injustices people talk about in real life (well, unless going through customs and being hassled and delayed by staff counts), so I can’t say I experienced a lot of America’s truly nasty side, but nothing will change the fact that I can’t bear the thought of me losing any sense of hope, or in rejecting an important part of my personal identity. I don’t like the way America is heading, and the government leaves a lot to be desired, but I can’t bear to lose hope for America either.
The way I see it, America was the first and only country to at any point recognize liberty as sacred, right down to the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. America was the first nation to establish that from the beginning. While the British did create a document known as the Magna Carta, that document is not like the American Constitution or the Bill of Rights. It did grant certain rights to the common man (such as the right not to be arrested, exiled, or mistreated except by lawful judgement) and placed limits on the ability of the king to exploit his barons, but it is not as set in stone into British law as people seem to think. After the Middle Ages, it became outdated and in modern times it is redundant in British law, and the UK still has no Constitution like America’s. Only America has the tradition of exalting liberty from the outset, but its people and its government do not always observe this tradition, let alone intelligently. History shows that America’s government has indeed violated the concepts of liberty, equality, and justice that were meant to define America, and both the people and elected officials have also proved ignorant of what those concepts truly mean, but I believe this only proves the true problem: ignorance. I believe that the way for America to restore its way is for everyone to know what the values of freedom, justice, and equality really mean in practice, so that the tradition of liberty can be observed truthfully by both the state and the people. That way, we can see the true America, the way it was meant to be, come into view. A land of justice for all individuals, where no one is denied justice and no one can get away with fraud and the violation of the right to life and liberty, and where no laws can be created that infringe upon the rights of the individual who commits no wrongdoing. A land where everyone has the same rights, and the same opportunity to succeed. A land of tolerance where everyone can comfortably live their lives as they please without trespassing upon the rights of others, with support from people who care. A land where no religion has is dominant in the government, and every belief is And, crucially, a land of unlimited freedom of speech and expression, where no one can violate those things, and a land where a person, regardless of race, sex, creed, and socioeconomic class and make any choice within his/her means without infringing on the rights of others.
This isn’t just the responsibility of the state or elected officials. The people must do their part to make the true America take shape, and their’s is a large part. But success will only come with true understanding of freedom, justice, and equality for all, and the breaking of ignorance and deception (be very careful of those who cry freedom but do not know what liberty means). And unless the American people manage to recapture the spirit of enlightened individualism and the ideals of America’s Founding Fathers, then America may yet lose its identity and moral worth.
I must also mention America’s propensity to claim its special moral place in the world as the promoter of liberty, justice, equality, and democracy. I feel that not only should America stop acting like some world police, but also that America must prove to itself, its people, and the world, that the nation can fulfill the values it so desires and that it is restored in those values.