I am proud to be an American (most of the time) and I really do love my country. July 4th is one of my favorite days of the year. I begin with this because what I am about to say is pretty critical of the US. Over the past few years, I've had the opportunity to experience the world outside of the US for an extended period of time and it has really opened up my eyes when it comes to US stereotypes and anti-American sentiment. At the moment, I'm watching the live coverage of Hilary Clinton's speech.
CNN is getting all in a twitter about Hil's mention of Twitter, pun intended, but I don't really think that was a main point. Mrs. Clinton stated several times that there are current global challenges that no country can take on alone, which sounded very cooperative. However, she followed with a statement about how no challenges can be solved without the US. This is where I can understand anti-US feelings. It just comes off as cocky at a time when the US literally can't afford to be perceived as such. Hello, we are in debt and in the middle of a world economic crisis which started in the US. Clinton, in no uncertain terms, referred to the US military as the strongest in the world. She also mentioned the US commitment to reduce nukes and ensure they are not used. I am all too aware, after visiting Hiroshima, that several countries possess enough nukes to annihilate the population of the world. I guess it does not matter how strong your army is if you piss off the wrong person.
I know this sounds like a rant, but I am truly worried for my country. We have an elitist attitude based on an elitist past. As Hil mentioned, we can not live in the past and we must deal with challenges in the present. She also referred to a diminished image of the US as of recent. A professor speaking to Doctoral students about publishing our work recently said, don't tell us how important your results are, show it. This is immediately what I thought as I listened to Hil. I think we need to seriously improve our world image and maybe the road to change needs to begin with a bit of realism. I believe the US has the ability to regain that top position in the world and Obama is certainly positioning himself to be an international leader but the steps taken along the way will soon show how well US actions are received in the world and I am done listening to what the Secretary of State tells me the US is capable of and ready to see the results.
On a related note, legislation is in the works for mandatory health care in the US. This has the potential to be life changing for many people and I am waiting to see what comes out before the legislature goes on August break.