15 July 2009

Explanation (I Hope)

I have learned that some were not keen on one of my previous posts.  I discussed being told that America was “heaven” according to one of the teachers from the school where Michael and I spoke last week.  First, please use the comments or email.  I am open to all sorts of ideas and opinions.  I am wrong as often as I am right and am willing to admit when wrong.  Also, I want to reiterate the fact that I am writing my personal reflections.  Often I just type away and do not bother to re-read.  Although it is not necessarily the best method when it comes to grammar and clarity, I do it to preserve the way my thoughts present themselves at the moment of writing.  It may not make sense, but I am doing my best to give a honest reflection of my thoughts.  This in no way excuses what I say, but I hope clarifies the context.  Because of this, I am willing to explain anything I have written.  Thank you to those who have managed to keep up over the past six months.

Now to the main reason for writing this, an expansion of my previous post.  To begin, I would like to assert that I am in no way attacking the US.  Great things have emanated from the country and I would be a fool to say that I would be hear regardless of where I was raised.  While responsible for many positive things, there are many ways that the US has caused harm.  Sadly, criticism can often be painted as anti-(insert whatever is being criticized).  I think that there are occasions to celebrate accomplishments made on any scale.  However, a rigorous standard must be held individually and nationally.  When it is not met there must be voice to correct the wrong. 

This has been the traditional ideal of the press.  They strive to give a non-partisan report of what is taking place in the world.  They are to give a voice to the voiceless and hold the great states to the highest standards.  In my opinion, the American press has slowly moved away from this.  With advertising concerns and distributorship in mind, news must be tailored to accomplishing these two goals.  When the most important goal becomes to report news people will read, watch or hear, we get what we have now.  Television news programs display violent stories that tell of personal tragedies played out for the public.  This is particularly for the case when news comes from the continent of Africa.  However, nearly all that comes to Kenya is filtered through the Western based media.  What this does is creates a false image of the first world, America most of all. 

The idea of golden roads fell by the wayside a century ago, but the myth of American persists.  Nairobi is a city filled with people attempting to copy American styles.  It is obvious who is and is not American because there is always something off, but the influence is clear.  It was hard to miss when I saw this, but the reach of influence shocked me when I was told that America is ‘heaven.’  My immediate reaction was to think that it would be terrible if America was really heaven.  I cannot allow myself to believe that America is a place of perfection.  It certainly is a great place, but not heaven.

I sat with it a few days because I was bothered by the statement.  In fact, it still bothers me a week later.  I am mad because this belief has been allowed to happen.  It is only one persons opinion, but is unacceptable as far as I am concerned.  I do not think that it is the place of one nation to place itself above all others.  The United States has been doing this for years through its international policy.  Covert wars, economic sanctions, and backed tyrants have shaped the Middle East, Africa and South/Central America.  Promoting democracy has always been the reason for such actions, despite the fact that economics has played a stronger role.  America is far from any hell, but the leaders of the US have done some terrible things.  With this knowledge I am unable to accept that a place that allows these atrocities to happen can be considered heaven.

My sentiments concerning this issue a few days ago has been based around this.  I was mad that the ‘American Dream’ myth still resided in the minds of the third world.  Truth must trump myth every time.  It is time to shed these myths and become a responsible state.  Fortunately, we have begun to see these changes with a new presidency and foreign policy.  Unfortunately, poorly thought ideas concerning the international community continue to be put forth.  As long as the Cheney’s of the world keep speaking about the need for the suspension of human rights (because that is just about everything he says), we will continue to set a bad example.  The place American has ascended to cannot be ignored.  There is no use in lamenting the path it has taken, but we can expect better. 

I hope that I have been more clear.  Thanks for reading and do not be afraid to comment, especially if you do not agree with me.