By Dr. AS Nakadar
Americaâ€™s prestige and clout grew to new heights with its virtuous and victorious involvement in World War II and its subsequent rebuilding of Europe. The winning of WW II contributed to its being a world leader but more important than that was its policies it pursued at home and abroad. The freedom of religion, freedom of press, policies that espoused the democratic values, individual liberty with their full faith in its judicial system and fiduciary responsibilities that gave the green back its mighty value commanding the worldâ€™s respect.
In the middle of the last century, Americaâ€™s industrial complex needed more manpower to support its growth. The stringent requirements for immigration were relaxed. The result was a large influx of immigration from the entire world, that contributed to Americaâ€™s richness in every field. Its economy, based on the capitalist model, soon provided vast avenues of limitless opportunities to immigrants hitherto unavailable in their own countries. Many enjoyed making more money and the hard working people with imagination and innovation made headlines with their success stories.
Americaâ€™s educational system has long been considered the best in the world. It has been many studentsâ€™ dream to have an American degree after their names. Its prestige in this system ensured students of worldwide recognition and assured them of respectable employment or position in any academic field.
Education encompasses discipline, intellectual growth and developed character. The availability of unmatched research facilities was a dream come true for many. That drew students from all the corners to the extent that some countries complained of â€œbrain drain.â€
Immigration from various parts of the world bought with it different languages, cultures and different religions. It created a beautiful pluralistic mosaic that each community was eager to learn about others.
Tolerance took precedence over differences and appreciation of others became the hallmark of communityâ€™s progress.
The USA commanded its respect in the international arena because of its respect for human rights; its mighty dollar provided relief and rehabilitation to the countries in need, its production of grain surplus fed many in the world and it always stood for upholding the international boundaries in reverence.
Today, the American landscape is changing. America is under siege. The American capitalist system fed the greed, leading to unscrupulous and corrupt dealings of big corporate giants like Enron. Perhaps Enron is only the tip of the iceberg. Greed and unfounded fear, again, guided America to a disastrous war in Iraq. The greed for oil and the unfounded fears of Iraqâ€™s military strength coupled with its presumed chemical warfare capabilities led America into a losing war.
Greed in corporations like Halliburton and Blackwater made them concerned only with their profit, irrespective of human rights or lives–leading to colossal and unprecedented human tragedy in Iraq. This greed has also been responsible for the deaths of thousands of American soldiers, tens of thousands wounded, and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis dead, and millions of Iraqi families uprooted.
Our school education is falling and failing. School–once thought a sacred place–has become a fortress, guarded with metal detectors for guns, knives, and other lethal weapons. Indulgence in drug is becoming a common place. Alcohol abuse on college campuses is rampant. School closings due to insufficient funding are becoming common occurrence. And since Columbine tragedy there has been deadly shootings on school and college campuses on regular basis, the latest being the massacre on West VAâ€™s tech university.
The proclamation of freedom of religion for its pluralistic society is under scrutiny. The arrest of six imams praying at the airport provides sufficient evidence. Ask the people bearing the name Muhammad or similar Muslim sounding names, how often they have to go through the harassment and the spiteful interrogation at the airport. Do they feel the glass ceiling in their employments and other promotions? How about the much touted freedom of press? Has it been used selectively for misinformation, disinformation, stereotyping, and controlled media? The oldest democracy of the world saw the 2004 election counting in Florida and in Ohio of 2006 election, according to some, as stolen elections.
On the economic front we have become the greatest debtor nation in the world by losing our fiduciary responsibility. How far other countries of the world are going to finance almost $2 billion in interest payment per day on our trillions of dollars of debt? The mighty dollar is already loosing its steam in the world market. The worst economic impact is yet to come after the Iraq war.
The present regimes of neo cons have led America and Americans in to a quagmire. We are under siege on almost every front. All the values we cherished and the world respected us for are in quick sand. It is our duty as an American to assess and evaluate what is best for America. It is not too late. We have a lot to offer if we start working from to day, irrespective of any affiliations. The presidential elections are only 18 months away and let us start doing our part to show to the world that America will regain its adored values and its former position.
Dr AS Nakadar