If America wants to convince other countries that democracies are the best forms of government, then we have a little work to do. With television and the Internet displaying our dirty linen around the world, I think we need to take a little "time out" to take care of some housekeeping chores.
Although some people feel that the way we often equate freedom with license presents a great model for others to imitate, some of us find such behavior deplorable.
Although we are grateful for all of our electronic technology, for example, we are embarrassed and disgusted some of it is used to display pornography and entice pedophiles to abduct children. Yet, if we try to intervene, we are accused of trying to interfere with freedom of expression.
Every year, thousands of people are slaughtered in acts of violence in schools and workplaces and on the streets throughout the country. If we protest, we are accused of interfering with people's right to bear arms. When some of us are outraged people believe they have the right to protest at the site where others are attempting to bury their dead who have faithfully served their country and when some of us are outraged, we are accused of trying to interfere with people's right to peaceably assemble.
When we insist women have the right to make choices as to whether or not they choose to bear children, we are accused of being baby murderers. When we contend citizens have the legal right to choose whom they wish to marry, we are told we are encouraging immorality.
Maintaining a democracy is a full-time job. It requires a lot of wisdom and understanding — especially when a portion of the population considers the country a religious state. I think that would be true in any part of the world. Here, despite the fact that our Constitution clearly calls for separation of church and state, there are those who absolutely refuse to recognize that. After nearly 250 years, we're still struggling to get it right.
Oh, it sounds simple enough when you are on one side of the pond, and the people you are attempting to advise are on the other side. I simply cannot imagine how anyone in a young country like America could presume to advise an ancient civilization, such as Egypt, what it should do. Have we ever built a pyramid with our bare hands?
As a society we know very little about other cultures. I would think one would have to live in another country for a sufficient period of time in order to learn the way the people think and why they behave the way they do before one could advise them about anything. As for other countries where tribalism is a way of life, it would take a strong leader to govern such a country to keep tribes who have been at each other's throats for thousands of years from being in constant conflict.
Personally, I think we have enough unsolved problems in the United States to keep us busy. First, we need to get about the business of creating jobs. With so many of our jobs sent to other countries, we need to build new industries to replace the ones we lost. This is going to require major efforts from many people. A lot of people have been out of work for a long time. We simply don't have time to meddle in the business of other countries.
Drugs are destroying our youth. We need to launch a serious effort to get drugs off the streets. There is a strong argument among those who would advocate legalizing marijuana and other narcotics. While I am not on that side of the issue, I certainly agree a major effort should be put forth to get drugs under control.
And if we don't do any other thing in America this year, the matter of education should be addressed. We are losing serious ground in that field. We simply cannot compete with other countries unless we strengthen our educational system. Finding a way to encourage kids to stay in school is a serious issue. Persuading parents to lead the fight is another issue.
Keeping our democracy in shipshape should be our major priority. Whenever you feel self-satisfied about the country we live in, just check the crime statistics. We're obviously not happy people.
Where did it all go wrong?
You can join the conversation with Rose M. Nolen by calling her at 882-5734 or e-mailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org.