We the people

Thisanjali Gangoda

Many social movements that occur daily across the world are only heard of because of the work of foreign correspondence and reporting. If a country’s current political state is under the tyranny of its government, it makes the people’s movements even more alluring to the international community.

We want to witness their battles to establish democracy and encourage them to fight for their individual rights. But when a country is under an extremely oppressive regime, it makes it difficult for outsiders to report the details of ongoing events.

Soon after a government puts limitations on the extent of international news reporting, we let the promise for change in that country fade away in the back of our minds. Until the next uprising garners our attention, until we are charmed with the images of the most recent of global crises, we press on for more captivating issues.

While the general public might forget that people fight for the most basic civil and human rights every day, the battles continue on. And what is truly amazing to me is that the United States government always thinks that we have a stake in it, especially at times when the nature of the battle is sensitive to ethnic, religious or cultural entities that we don’t fully understand.

As a result, we Americans jump on the bandwagon without a thought and convince ourselves that we are doing good to protect these people. Ultimately, our efforts to bring liberty, democracy and freedom to a country go awry, and we abandon the cause.

If there is even a sign of a country wistfully dreaming of becoming a democratic state, the United States is on it. The chance to utter the blockbuster phrase, “Mission Accomplished,” is all the motivation we need to stir up that good old American nationalist sentiment and storm a country with our troops.

While the United States has had its moments in history of remarkable innovation, philanthropy, inspiration and unity, our true mark in history is that of playing international cop.

We monitor, meddle and get messy with every international issue there is, under the guise of being the great protector of democracy. But when you look deeper into the actions of our government, Washington D.C. works in interest of those with money in their pockets and power to move legislation along.

Granted we are considered to be a super power with great influence, but why do we convince ourselves that we must always play into conflict and warfare, instead of taking the side of resolve and peace? There are too many ulterior motives that transgress past the American people and work into the international domain of politics.

I am tired of turning on the news and hearing about the “success” of Operation Iraqi Freedom when there are still bombs being exploded in town squares across the country. I’m tired of listening to U.S. officials chide other country’s leaders about possible nuclear weapons, when we ourselves have 9,960 warheads stocked away. I’m tired of Americans feeling sorry about the war in Darfur, when our own government won’t even declare it genocide.

If we want to create international change for the better, we must make honest attempts to change our domestic policies to reflect what we spout to other countries. We must create a balance to juggle domestic and foreign issues without stretching ourselves too thin and misguiding a whole generation of Americans.

Recently, the American people and the international community have put a lot of faith in the election of President Obama. Americans thought it would create an instantaneous change in U.S. policy, and oh, surprise — it didn’t. What does it take to revise the entire history of the United States, and in four years?

To change the typical actions and reactions of the U.S. government, it will take more than four years and more people committing to being a part of American politics. If we want to set new precedent, we the people must demand it and see it through.

Thisanjali Gangoda is a senior political science major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].