I don’t usually get political…but…

I try to avoid drawing lines.  Lines that divide one person from another.  But sometimes, lines must be drawn…especially when that line or decision can have a positive or negative effect on billions of people all over the world.  I’m sorry, but I now must step onto a soapbox.

I am angry.  I am angry over the current and past injustices of U.S. foreign policy.  I am angry that most of the current presidential candidates, and many Americans are ignorant or indifferent of the history of U.S. foreign policy.  Often I think our policy is due to ignorance and the complete B.S. most of the U.S. history classes teach us throughout our education.  But if it’s not ignorance, and it is in fact indifference for history, then there is no hope for a better America. Hope in the future is only possible by remembering the past.  Only the past can teach us how to move forward.

With that said, there seems to me, to be few candidates but Ron Paul who actually understand the history of U.S. foreign policy.  I’ve heard too many times that extremist groups hate us because of our political and or spiritual ideologies.  On the surface this may have some clout…but the reality of if it is that people don’t like us because of our horrendous actions and crimes all over the globe…crimes too often against humankind.

I just wish Americans would travel a bit more.  As St. Augustine said, “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” Let’s get outside of our comfortable bubbles and experience the world from other people’s shoes.  And as a fellow American, I wish that we would educate ourselves better in history.  Let’s not make foolish presidential votes because we’re fools in the history of our actions, and prejudice to what other parts of the world see.

And now, I’m off my soapbox.

11 thoughts on “I don’t usually get political…but…

  1. I love the new look and layout of your blog. It is beautiful and does a great job representing you work. As a fellow American and diehard traveler, I read this post and it made me think. Yes, I completely agree with the point that many Americans don’t travel. Yet, I see reasons for it. First off, we are isolated in a sense. While Europeans have endless options to travel with countries very close by, great train service and endless international experiences, we have to fly. Flying has become insanely expensive and for me, a family of four, thousands of dollars to take my family overseas. Thus point two is that you need money, especially when there is a family involved. Sadly, is is much cheaper to travel in the US than abroad as you can’t really bring your kids and backpack around….(Well you can, but I chose not to and unless you have children, in my opinion it is extremely hard with young children to do). Third, our terrible lack of vacation policy in the US! Many only get two weeks off making extensive international travel hard. My husband and I did. WE cramped in New Zealand in ten days, Patagonia in nine and Europe several times in a week. Yet then you meet all those Europeans and other pals who get months off and can travel weeks at a time, come back to their job and be happy. In the US, most companies look down on more than a week off. It sucks! Anyway, I completely agree that more Americans can travel. Yet they do need the money, the time off and of course the motivation. Most people that have money do travel. Most families are busy saving for the high tuition fees of college and retirement. I personally hope my family can afford to see the world! I’m lucky that I’ve been all over. So let’s hope! As for the politics, yes it is backwards here and I completely agree with your comments about US Foreign Policy. But unfortunately we are not alone. It seems like every country has a terrible past and some are still going on torturing their own people and letting them die. Take China for instance, no freedom of speech, and other human rights abuses and thousands of years of an ugly past on their people. Anyway, I do wish the US could be a better example in foreign policy yet politics are ugly. Thanks for writing this great post! You obviously got my mind ticking!

    • Thank you for your comments! You brought up several good points. I understand that travel is difficult sometimes. It takes money and time, you are right. But I don’t think we have to be ALWAYS traveling. I think that everyone should take at least ONE international trip. I think it should be a part of every well rounded education. But even if one international trip is impossible, it is still possible to travel vicariously. My point is less about travel, and more about putting ourselves in other people’s shoes. It is possible for us to experience other people and cultures without having to physically go somewhere. We can read books on other countries & histories, we can read news and information from non-American perspectives. And America being the melting pot it is, we can even experience other cultures without leaving the USA. The goal, ultimately, is to humble ourselves and take on the heart of a learner, ready to hear what other people have to say–even if we may disagree.

      And you are also right about the ugly pasts of most countries. But what angers me most is when we are either ignorant of that past or indifferent to it, and thus make the same mistakes over and over again at the cost of human lives. I do have to say I am thankful for the right to free speech…but even this has often been censored in the US if it is too unpatriotic, or on too grand a scale.

      • Thanks for taking the time to reply! Well said too. One more point to add is that I find a lot depends on where you live on the US. I loved in Chicago, went to school at UW Madison and now live inimnepolis which is a vibrant city with highly educated relatively liberal and political people. We have a large Somali, Hmong and Mexican population as well as people from all over the world. I feel truly fortunate to live in such a place where my children will be exposed to so many cultures. I think when you get more suburban or rural or smaller towns, you find more of the people who are not as interested in the world. Not always true of course, but an interesting thought. I agree wholeheartedly that people should try to learn more about the world. That is the daunting task of parents like myself and the future generation to instill upon society. Ok … Your post got me thinking! Thanks and keep writing!

  2. Sorry for my typos above! I should not be responding using my cell phone as I am new to this! I meant to say I “lived” in Chicago but I did fall in love and married my husband there. So I guess you can say I loved there too! Now we live in Minneapolis. Sorry again for my poor spelling with this micro keyboard.

  3. Thanks for sharing Andy. I appreciate the stand you take and am humbled by how ignorant I truly am. I often take the attitude of ignorance is bliss, but in this case it is not!

    • Thanks for your thoughts! It’s just one of those things were I learn from others and through reading and studying, and with the new knowledge, I feel responsible to say and do something about what I’ve come to know.

  4. Doesn’t he want to cut off all foreign aid and promote isolationist politics and close the federal reserve ? I don’t understand how these isolationist foreign policies would be good foreign policy.

    • While I don’t agree with every aspect of his foreign policy ambitions, my point was that he has a knowledge of the history and blunders of US foreign policy, while other candidates seem to be ignorant of them. It’s my thinking, or my hope, that a president with a better understanding of history, will be more capable to lead us in a wise future.

      Further, a more isolationist policy may be better in some respects. The world didn’t hire the US to be the global police force. Too often we patronize other countries and try to paint a picture of a caring father with humanitarian motives, but historically the motives are almost always economic/political, and I think this is what Ron Paul argues against.

      Thanks for your comments! I’m learning and researching along with everyone else.

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