Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Walking a Fine Line

With power comes great responsibility. At least that’s what we have all been led to believe in society today. When it comes to taxes many argue that the rich should bear the burden and all tax cuts should be directly given to those who are less fortunate. I mean it is easy to understand why this belief is prominent. Let’s let those who don’t make as much money, keep more of their paycheck. It is an easy concept to understand. Those who can, should pay more to allow for those less fortunate to get back on their feet.

There is a quote from the movie Brave Heart when William Wallace counters the Scottish Nobles. He makes the following statement: “You believe that the people of this country exist to provide you with possessions. I think your possessions exist to provide these people with freedom.” In this brief statement William Wallace acknowledges what our founding fathers did when our great nation was born. He acknowledges that freedom most notably: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are God given unalienable rights that all men and women are entitled to upon their birth. He believes as many will agree with, that it is the responsibility of the rich and or powerful to ensure that freedom is brought to every man woman and child.

We still believe this today and it is evident in our country through the existence of such social programs as welfare as well as state and federal health insurance for children of single mothers. Our constitution allots specific rights to all persons within our borders and ensures their freedom and this freedom is not biased by race, gender, or sexuality. We provide our citizens with many freedoms that other countries laugh at. We do this because we know that it is right and because we are in a position to do so.

This position that I mention brings up the question of responsibility. What responsibilities do we have as the lone World Super Power to rest of the world? Should we take on the role of the World Police as the movie Team America mocks or are we currently over stepping our bounds? President John F Kennedy once said that the success or failure of Democracy in the United States is directly related to our support and promotion of Democracy over seas. In the last century we have brought some form of Democracy to more than half the world.

That success has defined how the world has viewed us as Americans and us as a country. Those views have been both good and bad. Some have seen us as a power of good and a defender of freedom yet some have seen us as bullies. Back in the 1940s we took an isolationist view on world politics as the world allowed a tyrant dictator to take over large parts of the world by force and execute its citizens for their religious beliefs. It wasn’t until we were attacked that we stepped in and stopped Hitler in his tracks. We were liberators of not only countries but full continents.

That victory put America on its diplomatic head. We realized from that moment that we could no longer sit back and let the rest of the world secure itself and most definitely could not allow our security to be decided by countries that would rather be conquered and ruled than fight and resist.

The United States has been forced to defend its freedom or promote Democracy in every decade since WWII. We have been bogged down in campaigns in Vietnam and a war in Korea that has never officially ended. Our soldiers have sacrificed their lives to see that millions of people in the United States and around the world could live in peace and under a government they voted for. We have done all this yet what thanks have we received? Not a one as far as I can tell. The only true allies the United States has right now in the world is the United Kingdom and Israel.

Much of the anti-American sentiment in the world comes from people who believe our country is young bullish and acting its age. They believe that because their country/government has lasted as long as it did we should follow suit and survive. I have learned the old adage of survival of the fittest but I do not believe that just because you are a survivor you right. I truly believe that it is the responsibility of the United States to promote Democracy overseas in any nation that wants to adopt its practices and defend all democratic nations from any form of aggression both economic and military.

We may be a young nation but what I have learned as an American and a student of world history is that it is always better to die on the side of the righteous than to survive and be partnered with evil.

No comments: