By Duane Paul Murphy, Class of 2019
People often say that the United States of America is the greatest country in the world as of current modern history. They proclaim that the country is number one. Vocal chants of “USA! USA! USA!” rally up the civilian populace at or during sporting events and other varied festivities of feverous passion. Ordinary citizens believe we are the bastions for freedom, liberty, justice, equality, democracy, republicanism, and patriotism.
However, I am here to tell you that America is not number one or the greatest country of current modern history. Various rankings and studies from countless NGOs and IGOs such as the United Nations, Oxfam, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, OECD, and the World Economic Forum have proven that America is becoming or has become a facetious icon in the developed world for quite some time.
Even before the establishment of such organizations or rankings, America has always been a nation of flaws. People have claimed that our revolution against British colonialism was lead by ordinary colonists, but it was actually lead by political, religious and financial elites who sought greater control over the New World and its precious resources stolen from indigenous peoples. People have claimed that our country is a bastion of democracy. However, it is solidifying into an illiberal non-republican, non-democratic oligarchy. The few at the top of the socioeconomic classes buy electoral campaigns. Our two main political parties do not represent the actual views of the people, but only those of the religious and the rich. Voter identification laws, reduced early voting periods, voter registration difficulties, and voting roll purges restrict fundamental access to the polls for non-whites, poor and working class people, and young people. Because of plurality winner-take-all voting, single member districts, at-large districts, and the Electoral College, the popular vote is not considered, societal marginalized groups have very little to no representation, and political alternatives or non-partisan independents are almost shunned out from governments.
Our supposed constitutional democratic republic does not represent the public in a free and fair method. People have claimed that we are land of liberty, freedom, justice, and equality for all of our citizenry. How can we be a country of liberty if governments and corporations invade our privacy by various physical or digital means? How can we be a country of freedom if censorship is rampant from the Left when it comes to inviting conservatives on campus and from the Right when it comes to criticizing a delusional president, the NRA, or Israel over its occupation of Palestine. How can we be a country of justice if our own police officers or forces use brutal tactics, militarized weapons, or lethal methods against protesters, non-whites, and other innocent bystanders without trial or a conviction? How can we be a country of equality if the top 1% owns more than 80% of the wealth, birth control methods are being restricted, and people of different genders, sexualities, or sexual orientations are still being discriminated in the name of religion? People claim that our country is the most patriotic, yet we glamourize Hollywood celebrities, Wall Street tycoons, Silicon Valley tech giants, and sporting athletes rather than grassroots activists, artistic savants, and innovative scientists. I am anti-American not due to hate or envy but because of the cold hard truth and reality on the ground. Our own original revolution and liberation was not organized and lead by generic masses for the sake of freedom, liberty, and justice. Instead, it was a revolution for, of, and by the few as well as liberation from a competitor over new land that did not belong to us in the first place.
We need a counter-revolution and counter-liberation lead by the ordinary middle class, working class, LGBTQ people, non-whites, indigenous natives, and immigrants of all races, ethnicities, skin tones, skin colors, ages, generations, nationalities, and geographies against the powerful richest and religious few that have ruled this land for more than 200 years. We should be discontented and vexed by the power of bankers, lobbyists, CEOs, megachurches, and dioceses as well as some significant foreign governments around the world such as Russia, China, the Arab Gulf states, and Israel. We must rise before it is too late. Former Indiana state senator Eugene V. Debbs once said, “The most heroic word in all languages is revolution.” We must put that word into legitimate populist action.