With the successful inauguration of US President Barack H. Obama, and after the tears, it might be safe now to take a critical look at what really is the US.
It was getting quite tight in Europe, and in 1492, Christopher Columbus set sail from Spain, and ‘discovered the New World’. Factually, the intent was to find and plunder the riches of India, which is why the native and indigenous peoples of America were called, ‘Indians’. Columbus having charted the way for the rest of Europe, the exploitation and ravaging of the Americas began. The Native Americans were evicted and mutilated, their lands stolen, and as tribal, primitive peoples, were no match whatsoever against the ‘White Man’ and his gun. The ancient people of the US had no recourse, no laws, no media to help their battle against the European colonialists and settlers. Their removal was a clean and tidy affair, without recrimination. The European colonialists, in 1776, then turned on their fatherlands with a mutiny called ‘the Declaration of Independence’. Most Independence day observances around the world, including Kenya’s Madaraka Day, celebrate the victory of expulsion of imperialist regimes, and the success of freedom for indigenous people. July 4, the day of US independence, celebrates the victory of colonialism and the near extermination and irrevocable marginalisation of the native American.
America’s albeit democratic and capitalist response to the twentieth century obscures the rights and wrongs of its early foundations, perpetuating its legal myth ‘All Men Are Created Equal’, and continuing its bizarre history. The world badly needed a refuge for its ‘huddled masses’.
In defense of the US Constitution, the US government creates two protected rights: 1) Freedom of Speech; and, 2) Freedom of Religion. The result of the former is that troops and civilians are currently being slaughtered in the Middle East to defend slander, violence, pornography, greed and sheer stupidity. The result of the latter is that although US children are guaranteed free education, there can be no mention of God anywhere in the curriculum.
Moreover, the US Catholic Church is losing more than 10% of its body annually, and its parochial schools are closing by 40%. Its churches, a bastion of institutional charity, are closing their doors every day. More than one million teenage girls under the age of 16 will fall pregnant this year. 1% of all children born in the US are diagnosed autistic. 2% of all Americans currently sit in prison. 70% of US marriages end in divorce. Alzheimers is claiming victims as young as 25. Americans take an average of 6-10 prescription drugs daily.
The grim and alarming statistics of US society are powerful. The US has achieved the custodianship of one the most richest land masses on the earth: rivers, forests, fields, industry; yet, its human condition is so very poor. One fact remains: that 90% of all Americans are completely oblivious that the rest of the world considers the US very, very strange. The average American is profoundly unaware of the world outside its borders.
Enduring to the US legacy are its brutal honesty and horrific courage. If the US hits the lowest common denominator, it somehow also reaches the highest. In fact, the system might just work, as the world witnessed January 20, 2009, and there might be some truth to the belief. The tears are worth the weeping.
Opinions expressed are those of the writer and not necessarily those of Storymoja.