Creativity Magazine

Are We Really Better Than This?

By Vickilane
Are We Really Better Than This?
We’re better than this has been a popular response to much of what's happening in this country, especially now with the separation of immigrant families. 
But are we better than this? I wonder. As a country the USA has been responsible for numerous atrocities – against Native Americans from the earliest days, down through the Trail of Tears and the forced “Americanization” of Native children. 

Slavery and Jim Crow laws remain a blot on our record of Liberty and Justice for all. 

And our treatment of immigrants – from the Chinese Exclusion Act to ‘No Irish Need Apply, to quotas favoring Northern Europeans above any others has always been problematic Then there's our meddling in the affairs of other nations – installing dictators who will toe the US line – which has led to dire consequences from the middle east to Latin America. We have a great deal to answer for, a great deal to be ashamed of. But despite this dark history, at least we had an common ideal, a goal – to be a beacon of hope, a shining city on a hill. Though we usually fell short of this ideal, it was still a shared vision, the USA as she ought to be rather than as she was.  Now, I’m not sure. It seems that  many of our fellow citizens want to turn inward, to wall off that shining city, to extinguish the welcoming lights. To slam the door in the face of refugees, to deprive them of their children, and to shut out the rest of the world, mistrusting and derogating former allies while pandering to former enemies. This version of American Exceptionalism lays claim to leadership not through righteous behavior and moral superiority but through bullying and swaggering. It is a trumpery leadership, hollow beneath its peeling gilt.

This version is the death knell of the American Dream.

To quote Buffy St. Marie: "My county, ‘tis of thy people you’re dying."
Are We Really Better Than This?

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