(From a college student's point of view. Please, forgive me if I am incorrect on a few things.)
I am sad, and grieved about the complacency of America.
I am an American.
Do you know how much that sentiment has changed since the dawn of our democracy?
In fact, do any of you realize how much less of a democracy we have become?
Americans. So haughty and full of themselves. I say this as one of them.
George Washington, when he gave his farewell address at the end of his second term as president, gave us two warnings. In sum:
Avoid sectionalism by division into political parties.
Stay out of foreign affairs.
He was concerned that the former would tear this country apart. As for the latter, we could refer to the other major powers in the world (i.e. Britain at the time) to see how well that would work out.
And so we proceeded to ignore him.
We are divided.
We are in over our heads in other people's affairs, and don't look too much into our own.
The world continued to change. Domestically, after the Civil War and Reconstruction began, The United States of America emerged as a prominent player in the world and began to dominate many areas of economics and politics. We were a united nation, with a strong, national government that was for the people, "by the people." Because of what we stood for, and because of how well put together our country was, we provided for the Allies to win WWI. And in WWII, it was our united spirit that drew this country out of the Great Depression. We grew to be one of the world's most powerful nations. The U.S.A. was revered, whether that be through a glass of respect or envy. We were "one nation, under God. Indivisible, with Liberty, and Justice for all."
And what have we become?
We have become, figuratively (and in some states, literally), fat and lazy. We no longer care about the grand scheme of things. Americans, as a whole, yet as individuals, care more about what happens for us right here and right now than about what will affect us in the long run. Our government runs our country as it sees fit, relatively unchecked by its people. We get upset about minor changes, sure... but that soon fades in the public memory... It's like when Facebook makes a new modification: We get pissed, bitch and moan about it, but we soon forget, and start using it even more!
There has yet to be anyone to truly take a stand for what is right, for us. We are spoon fed pre-digested information from the mass media (a lot of which is pre-approved by some higher power) and we are complacent in it. Every once in a while, there is a squeaky wheel, but it is soon oiled and quieted...
And thus we also have begun to forget our history, and that of the world.
The world is dead.
We have killed it in our collective memories.
And yet we still expect so much from it, to feed our greed for instantaneity.
Let's look at some recent events...
What an uprising! It cannot even be seen as a coup because of the relative level of peace. (I realize, there was some violence was involved, but overall, it wasn't a revolutionary war, was it?) But what a step toward democracy!
Now, tell me this:
What is it Americans, collectively, [especially those of the ages 18-25 (mind you, I am a college student), those who will be taking the reins of our country within the next few decades] understand about the cause of success? Was it the overall perseverance of the Egyptian peoples? Or was it due to Facebook?
The answer is Facebook. The media mentions it, the story takes hold, and therefore that is what the public has come to understand.
What is overlooked is how Facebook was only a factor, not the master key to the success.
Another thing that irritates me:
Very few people care to remember how the Egyptian people stood up for the antiquities museum in Cairo.
That is a big deal! Those people took pride enough in their country's heritage and influences and protected their history! What American would even think about protecting, say, The National Archives, The Smithsonian, or even the Metropolitan Museum of Art? There are the few and the proud, sure, but is that where our mindset would fall?
The sad thing is, we cannot be certain of that.
The consideration of revoking Planned Parenthood funding:
The nation is in a great amount of debt. Our allocation of funding needs to be reconsidered. And it does not help that our economy is flailing.
How many of you understand that?
Planned Parenthood is considered one of the most controversial government-sponsored institutions. There are many good things to be said about it, actually. Though while having provided excellent sex education and family planning, it is also known for its sanction of abortion. The option is always given, either as a procedure, a or as medication. And of course, the GOP doesn't like that.
And that is what this boils down to.
The Republicans are trying to "strip us of our rights" ...Or something like that.
Personally, I don't agree with the concept of abortion.
Does that mean I think it should be made an illegal or hard-to-obtain procedure? No! Women used to do it to themselves, for Christ's sake... with KNITTING NEEDLES! At least this way, one life can be saved...
I saw a comment made on Twitter that is being re-tweeted a lot about how the funds being taken from Planned Parenthood are enough to give us another 4 years of war.
THAT is what you care about?
Oh gosh, then we should really do something about this...
You've got online petitions.
And how well is that working out for you? Have you inspired change?
This is like the case of when the GOP proposed a re-definement of "rape." (*This has since been rescinded.)
That caused the biggest outcry.
Sure, it was ridiculous.
But how many people, women especially, noticed this was all about reallocating our tax-dollars to something other than federal funding for abortions?
It wasn't meant as a slap in the face to women.
It was about getting money. And THAT part wasn't reconsidered.
Wake up people! If you are going to get upset, read into the bigger picture first!
I have been raped.
I know what it means to feel that way. To feel demeaned, belittled, made insecure and vulnerable and hurt. I know that anything forced upon anyone like that, with obvious lack of consent, is rape.
And there are pregnancies that result from that.
There are women who want abortions, because of that.
And, like I said, that shouldn't be made inaccessible.
Desperate times call for desperate measures, as the saying goes.
And a woman in pain can be very dangerous indeed. To even herself.
Do not corner her by cutting off her options.
I don't know what I would have done...
And I don't like to think about it.
No one does.
But, my fellow countrymen, this isn't about those "nasty evil Republicans," or even about about the "poor Democrats" who were "gang-pressed" into going along with a proposal. In reality, both parties are full of idiots. It has caused a divided House... and "a divided house cannot stand..."
Therefore, as our government is divided, we too, as a people, are divided.
And that will be our downfall.
We are too content in the media. We believe, collectively, what we see and hear, yes. But the media breaks that down for us and over-simplifies the picture.
Those in power learned from the '60's, you know.
The coverage of the Vietnam War, and how little it was filtered, was seen as a mistake.
There was civil unrest in America.
And it, in a sense, united us once again.
Vietnam was a mistake, and we could see that with our own eyes.
The Civil Rights Movement was something that needed coverage to be a success, because, again, we could see with our own eyes what was happening.
An image that is not labeled can be freely interpreted. It is only when words are attached to the image does that image now have one concrete meaning that cannot be disputed.
And that is what the media does for us now. 9/11 is a classic case. We united in that one moment, the day of those attacks, and the nation demonstrated a sense of Unity that hasn't been seen in some time. But starting September 12th... the coverage was drastically toned down (remember the picture of the man falling headfirst from one of the towers? Think hard, because it disappeared after a general outcry the day after the attacks. It no longer holds a prominent place in public memory. It humanized the event too much for Americans to swallow, and the media obliged.) The focus shifted from that of horror and outrage to that of keeping everyone calm and collected. America's burning rage died down to a low hum of anger and disbelief. We nodded our heads and were aligned with our government's declaration of war on terrorism. Even President Bush said that the attacks are to be perceived as a declaration of war upon civilization itself. It needed to happen.
But things changed. Motives shifted. One thing led to another. And we lost sight of what we were fighting for, both the government and the people did. Before long, Iraq was our conquest, and is now our project. And we cannot leave it to fall apart.
How much do we see of the war we are in now? What do you really know about our reasons for it? Why should we leave? Why should we be there?
Many mistakes have been made, and now we are stuck. We have to fix them. And then we need to return to the problems at hand within our own country and work on rebuilding our infrastructure and a sense of national pride.
And we have yet to have a national leader with enough guts to do it.
Read your history!
Not just America's history, but that of the world!
Power comes and goes in cycles, and our country is too young to be able to play in that yet, but look at China! Once one of the world's most progressive, powerful, and terrible empires, and is now quietly, but surely, coming back into its own.
Look at Egypt, putting itself back on the map.
The Middle East is stirring; the birthplace of civilization.
Western Civilization is indeed, again, moving West.
While circumstances may change, mankind's predisposition to destroy itself will not.
The is change in the air.
And not one of us has seized it.
Wake up, and take a stand.
See the bigger picture.
Stop allowing yourselves to be blinded by the mass media, and read into it more.
Stop swallowing the "Republicans vs. Democrats" rhetoric and become something more than either.
Or we will tear ourselves apart.
And it will be our own fault.