It is time to put America First.
- By Marie, American Mother of three little Americans
Hurricanes sweep away major metropolises.
Floods wash away the Midwest.
Cars fall into a river while crossing an Interstate Highway.
Earthquakes crumple city streets vital for daily commerce.
Social systems are failing: Tent cities – roving camps of the homeless formed due to the lack of safe and available shelters - are shuffled between neighborhoods amid residential contention. Foster care programs are under-funded and under-supervised, transferring innocent children from one perilous environment to another. Law enforcement agencies rely on seized assets to fund their basic costs to protect the public. It is more likely a prison educates inmates in crime rather than civility.
Education for our children is stripped down – limited by decades of inadequate, unequal funding. Curriculum is stream-lined to meet minimum testing quotas in response to out-cry that our children are not keeping up academically with the international community. No recess, no art, no science experiments: no opportunity to develop creative critical thinking skills, limiting innovation in our future.
For-profit medical insurance companies deny an individual's right to choose the best medical treatment, restricting coverage on a unique, individual person because their situation does not conform to a committee-voted standard-care guideline. Americans who cannot access health insurance must decide between paying their basic living expenses, or forgo medical treatment because there is no financial room to afford both.
Thousands of our Nation's up-and-coming are deployed to foreign countries in the name of various 'crusades for good'. Unwilling to aid people suffering genocide, starvation and disease, we instead declare war and sanctions on governments and nations who do not 'share our values': Cuba, North Korea, Iran, Iraq. Our sentiments may be against the governments, but it is usually the citizens that suffer.
We are mired in conflicts of our own creation, spending time, energy and resources we do not have in the name of 'Freedom' while simultaneously restricting our own civil liberties – no outcry when our phone lines are illegally wiretapped, when we submit to search and seizure with no due cause or no warrants. We are so scared by our own government’s rhetoric of fear, dire and doom that we give no protest that Habeas Corpus – the basic right to defend oneself in front of a judge in a timely manner – is denied to even our own citizens because they fall into a newly-made-up arbitrarily category of war prisoner, ‘enemy-combatants’. There is no mass outcry when our government resorts to human torture on a person or other treatment that is deemed unconstitutional by US Supreme Courts.
We print extra money to pay debts accumulated from our overseas activities. We borrow money from governments with questionable reputations. Our Dollar, once a flag-ship of stability is, as a result, devalued to record lows, depressing with it many economies around the world.
The price of gold and other precious metals have remained relatively stable on the international market. But for Americans the price of those and foreign goods is going up: items once made domestically, but now manufactured overseas are increasing in price as our Dollar falls in value. Wages remain stagnate while the cost of living rises.
It is not only world-wide demand that caused the current 'oil crisis' impacting all Americans who use oil to commute – be it a fuel-efficient economy car or a private jet. The price of oil is tied to the US Dollar. As our Dollar goes down, the cost to process oil remains the same, so we have to use more Dollars to cover the same expense, resulting in higher priced oil. It is time we acknowledge our role in the 'energy crisis' due to decisions we have made or allowed in our name, including lack of investment in renewable energy, unbridled consumption and out of control government spending on foreign affairs.
It is never too late to make a change. Some changes can seem harder than others, scarier than others. But we can no longer afford to live in fear, ignorance, or apathy. We must shift our perception and live out of enthusiasm - work toward our goals, our dreams, our hopes and reclaim America's identity as a nation worth looking up to. Americans are strong, compassionate people who are able. It is time for us, as a nation to decide to be willing: willing to be informed; willing to make decisions; willing to take action.
It is irrelevant if you are Republican, Democrat, Independent, or a future member of a fringe political party yet to be given credence. You are an American, and as a result, you, too are responsible for our circumstance. As members of a democracy, it is our responsibility to speak our voice, to participate in elections, to persuade our politicians to act in our nation's best interest – and if the leaders are misguided, we need to raise a ruckus to get their attention and listen to the people they represent. It is time to refocus our attention on America’s infrastructure, our social networks, and our economy. It is time to put America first. It is our very livelihood at issue and at stake.