While visiting a local public library, I witnessed a patron wearing a shirt that read: “I’m American F— You.” Nice. Is this the sentiment that is helping us win over the hearts and minds of the nations whose assistance we now need?
That shirt is representative of the view many nations still hold. America’s inflamed sense of self-entitlement gives Americans an air of assumed safety, that we can travel abroad freely and unmolested like Ancient Roman citizens. The only luggage we need to pack are the words: Civus Americanus sum — I am an American citizen. Words that now guarantee capture or execution.
I believe that the words on that shirt are indicative of our world view. Or at least it was our world view. There was talk when I was growing up that America was the only superpower in the world. As such we could ensure that our will would be done on a global scale. Proud Americans extolled the merits of the good ‘ol US of A and how we were making the world a better place simply by our existence.
Now headlines read, “Obama’s economic view is rejected on world stage.” If you want to make it a partisan issue, then go for it, though I perceive it to be a stunning blow to the pride of all Americans. American leadership has been a requisite of the global political landscape since the end of World War II — is it time for a change, or are we simply not fit to lead?
Should we be a world leader? What do we have to offer? If the past few weeks of national acrimony are an indicator of our ability to promote peace, then we are not fit to lead a line to the restroom, let alone lead the world. The thriving American economy is a distant memory as our federal government is living paycheck-to-paycheck, and our cultural identity can be summed up by one word: Snooki.
Are we trying to make the world a better place or are we trying to create customers? Our greatest export is not grain or democracy — it’s culture. Our culture is consumption, and besides the Harlem Renaissance, woman’s suffrage and other watershed moments in our nation’s history, it is what we will be remembered for.
It might be a natural progression based on our capitalistic underpinnings and it might not be a “bad thing,” but if materialistic consumption is what were are about, then we need to be committed to it. Why fight for peace and global security when what we truly want is a good return on investment?
So what is it going to be? Is it going to be “I’m American F— you?” Are we going to press the rest of the world into doing what we want via the force of our military? Or are we going to change our stripes and try to regain our collective cultural common sense and try to lead by example? Buckeyes, we are the future, and to quote the world’s greatest hero — Captain Planet, “the power is yours!”