I challenge you to find someone living in this country who believes that the accomplishments of the U.S. are minor. Find anyone who believes that the many technological advances aren’t just significant for our daily lives, but they have not impacted the entire world positively. There is a dire need to paint the picture of how great this country is. I for one am not that impressed. From its founding to the 21st century, the U.S. history that we’ve been sold, proclaims a greatness that is unsurpassed in history. However, I believe that the accomplishments of this country have always been achieved through another - another country started, piggy-backed on someone else’s success, an advancement of another’s discovery, and the completion of an already existing foundation. You see, the house that was built in the United States is a house that was nearly complete. It wasn’t bare bones and simply the first. It has always been mostly in place. Native Americans were here first. The Spanish were here before the British. The British were expanding their empire only to be upturned by revolutionaries. It is funny how the use of a few words changes the context of the story.
I could go on and on and on about the changes and examples of how this country’s place in history is somewhat misinterpreted or misleading at best. What I really want to know is based on that context, are we really that creative and exemplary? Many of our accomplishments weren’t original ideas. As a matter of fact, almost all of the “accomplishments” that we view as so amazing and great are simply an advancement of what was already there. It is kind of like the argument about a coach who has the best players being a great coach. Is he really that good? Could he do it on his own without a “star?” History seems to indicate that the U.S. has been able to steer a ship that was already afloat and moving, and needed very little guidance to go. Now that the ship is at sea, we’re now finding that the captain of this ship doesn’t really know how to navigate the sea at all. Furthermore, the issues that we are now faced with represent a country that has truly fallen behind in its ideation and creativity to solve “real” problems of humanity. That would be because it has never faced the needs of humanity. The United States has always been self serving and selfish while riding on the tails of someone else’s ability.
It is peculiar to me that as a country, people have stood behind a system of inequality on all levels that has not evolved or changed in over two hundred years. The same capitalist system which has shown its own shortcomings to help resolve poverty. The same prison system that has unjustly served communities of color from day one. The same educational system that only within the last fifty years decided that separate but equal was not equal at all. An educational system that marginalizes the have-nots in a way that it should be defunded itself. A healthcare system that does not serve the masses while smaller less “successful” countries can maintain healthcare for many more of their citizens. It has been said that to do the same thing over and over without change while expecting a different result is the definition of insanity. Are we creative or insane?
There will be many who dismiss my writing as anti-American or off base. I’m ok with that if it means challenging something that has not worked for most of the people that we proclaim to be helping. How can we defend a system of what I believe should be for the commune when it does nothing for the common? For those who want to push a political agenda - this is not in defense of any political side. Frankly, there hasn’t been a political position that has served the masses successfully be it Republican or Democrat. We are living in a world where the history that will be written should reflect our shortcomings more than our success. I do hope that for our children’s sake, they learn what must be corrected more than what we tell them has worked. I challenge them to see through the lens of inequality to solve problems that have been ignored for centuries. It seems to me that we want to celebrate success at the expense of hiding our failures. It is like the athlete who is on a losing team, but constantly brings up their personal success and stats to recognize their own greatness. For a country obsessed with “team,” we may be the weakest team. I’m not sure that we are even a team.
This is more than a site of social commentary. uheard is a site based on the African American experience while being in tune with yesterday and the past as much as today.