A COUNTRY where political elections are contested with attacks by candidates on each other’s character;
everything from race, religion and gender is hurled at each other by rivals, so much so that its people, society and nation are divided;
WHERE allegations of election fraud, protests and violent confrontation against the election winner are the order of the day;
WHERE the media devotes a huge part of its coverage to biased political publicity;
WHERE more than 40 million people depend on food stamps for theirgroceries, and almost one out of 30 children is homeless, let alone tens of thousands of adults;
WHERE 70 per cent of those of employable age don’t have a college degree and about 10 per cent of 25- to 29-year-olds have not completed high school;
WHERE more than 30 million, or 10 per cent of the population, are without health insurance in a given year, and large segments of the poor and those lacking basic essentials are minorities;
WHERE the national debt is so huge that many can’t even imagine the quantum of that number;
WHERE a significant proportion of the country’s infrastructure is in disrepair;
WHERE inequality, insecurity and the need for reform on many fronts abound; and,
WHERE politicians of all shades, untruthfully and unabashedly — even quoting religious texts — declare: “We stand together with and for you, the best of ... (name of the nation)”!
Such a country must surely be from the ranks of Third World nations.
That country is the United States.
This litany of political, economic and social deficits is a sore embarrassment, and is by no means to denigrate or humiliate the US.
On the contrary, it is a plea to that great nation to return to the good that its founding fathers sought to define, a greatness that transcended parochial interests and prejudices.
The cornerstone of those founding principles was the support for freedom, peace, equality, justice, security and prosperity that Americans would realise by committing to, participating in and benefiting in a nation able to hold its own.
Values hostile to its own were forced on people who had evil designs on others.
That striving for domestic and international justice give moral purpose to the American character, a nation that would support, defend and advance the cause of freedom everywhere.
Conceived as a nation that would be a refuge for the sober, industrious and virtuous, and for victims of persecution, Americans would show themselves to be friends of humanity.
The founders did not think that a peaceful and prosperous nation was around the corner, or believe that freedom, democracy, fundamental rights and the advancement of people’s interests would become a universal norm.
But over the decades and centuries, America pursued that vision, unwaveringly guided by its motto, “In God we trust”.
In knowledge, industry and business, the US and its people advanced beyond anyone else.
The nation’s unparalleled wealth and power inspired and, by example and action, gave hope to freedom-loving people to
pursue and defend their aspirations for liberty, peace and progress.
That great American exceptionalism needs to be reignited. The US must return to the righteousness of its founding cause.
Its people and leadership must rededicate themselves with the same integrity and resourcefulness that brought them excellence and success.
Petaling Jaya, Selangor