Link to Gawker.com. A necessary read, if you live in this world.
I remember being a kid in the Philippines, thinking the USA was a land of good and plenty, of everyone having jobs. Yes, at the age of 6, I was thinking of people’s jobs, as my uncle only held sporadic positions in “jobs-of-the-week” from being a tricycle driver, to a construction man. Often, I didn’t even know what he did. I also knew that the Philippines was not in great form. I read about the corruption, all the murders in the cities, I knew about prostitution, and racism. I thought, “one day, I will live in America, where all the world’s problems are solved. They have McDo’ everywhere there, and all the buildings have a fountain in the yard.”
The America I see now as an adult is obviously nowhere near this fantastic vision, and it’s unfair for me to expect it to be so. But having lived in other countries, and seeing how different people value different aspects of life, of treating one another, it’s very easy to criticize the way we do things in the US.
I am now a US Citizen, I work in the US Navy, and I am also a product of this society. I AM AMERICAN. Sometimes I wish I weren’t. But most of the time, I am glad and feel fortunate for being so.
Is it unpatriotic to criticize your own country? Of course not, that’s why we have the freedoms of speech, religion, everything that the forefathers promised. But with good intentions are also people who will take advantage of the resources for selfish endeavors. We can talk on and on about examples, but the fact remains that some people are good, some are bad, which also translates to governments and leaders that are good, leaders that are bad.
Now why does this matter, when all the world, all countries, also have corrupt leaders and corporations, and religious conflict and hate? Because we lead the developed world. People are still looking to America as I did when I was a child. If we can’t hold up to our own standards, how do we expect to create a better world out there?
We are leading the world, but must we? Well, who are the other alternatives? Do we want to follow the way of China, Korea, Iran, France, Germany? Who is willing to step up and tell the leader to “stand aside, we got this”? I’m all for a better, more peaceful world, in which people are treated as people and not as commodities. I’m all for peace, and environmental respect, and raising individuals to strive for their highest potential.
Or am I still that child, dreaming of things that aren’t, nor will ever be?