Pride in Words; Fear in Heart
America: the country where people rule the lands, the lands that are protected by freedom, the freedom that is ensured by just values, the values that are instituted by our leaders, the leaders who are fighting to keep the American day always within the sun’s sight. Thus, having budded off from the ruins of tyrannical strife in the early 1600’s, we emerged not only as superior but also confident in our pride and potential in leading the world.
Being American is a paragon of pride and superiority, esteemed by everyone irrespective of their cultural affiliations. Compared to other nations, we perceive our country as having a substantially high degree of freedom and security; whether its refugees or immigrants or visitors, the visa demand has always been high. Yet, despite all this, America actually seems only insecure in heart, where even a small disturbance ripples tremendous anxiety.
For instance, just last week, there was a leak in the Alabama interstate Colonial Pipeline. The issue was relatively small, but the people were filling their vehicles madly, some “even tolerant enough to wait an hour to completely fill their tanks.” For example, the Kroger gas stations were terribly crowded, with the same people filling one car and then driving back again to fill another, desperate to haul whatever they could get. A 36-inch line had a leak, but it seemed that we had the bigger leak: “oh no!; there will be no more gasoline tomorrow; we won’t be able to drive!” Whether it’s people’s restlessness or the media’s exaggeration or a mix of the two, it’s fear. And when we track it back, we see it has a long history.
Dec. 7, 1945: Pearl Harbor was bombed; 2,403 Americans died tragically. In response, we enforced even stricter internment regulations on the Japanese. Quite understandable, until we started separating children from parents, devaluing their rights as Americans, and doubting innocent kids for threats the Japanese government had sent from 8,000 miles away. Fear.
The Cold War Space Race: Russia built several weapons of mass destruction to expand their authority. We reacted by building our own. Quite justifiable, until we launched nuclear weapons as tests on others’ land, land filled with life of nature and people. Communism was greatly growing, and we meant to stop it. But how? Building weaponry capable of massive destruction, capable of radioactive harm, capable of destroying a good area of life. Basically bigger methods to kill.
In fact, it’s been two decades, but in 2016 we still monitor nuclear weaponry, researching building and developing. Why? Because we are afraid of Iran and Russia as well as other developing nations much smaller than us. So, the Cold War hasn’t really ended as our eyes keep prying beyond the oceans. Why? Fear. What will happen tomorrow? Are we still greater than Russia and France? Are they building something fishy? We shake hands with foreigners, we encourage and embrace diversity and international friendship, but we still deploy spies to extract secrets, encryptions and data. Why? Fear. We say “America is a fearless and brave nation,” while holding a gun behind the handshake.
Of course, in times of terrorism and cunning diplomacy, there is definitely reason for being scared, being doubtful and being concerned. But that same level of insecurity shadows even ordinary circumstances.
For instance, in 2013, Georgia endured an unexpected snow storm for a few days. And when predictions of another storm were made, Kroger was completely cleared of its products, with people amassing whatever they could find. The snow was only to last a day or two, but the purchases were being made like humans were preparing for hibernation. Something as natural as snow really questions the basic courage and determination of America as seen through people’s tensed and hyperventilating actions.
So where is the pride?
Are we not doubting our own strength, questioning our own power when we panic over the small circumstances? If we claim to be a superpower, then why be scared of the yet-to-develop nations? The truth is, we’re all insecure despite our stature, because we are not confident in our prowess. We as Americans claim greatness, but do we really believe that in our hearts? It’s something to think about.