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Are American values fading?

  • Published at 07:18 am June 30th, 2018
A country in danger Photo:BIGSTOCK

The US may be losing its moral authority in the eyes of the world

Like the American nation, all American officials love to be in the news. 

The owner of Red Hen restaurant in Virginia, Stephanie Wilkinson recently asked White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders to leave her establishment. She didn’t want to serve food to Sarah and her family members. Stephanie Wilkinson said she did not regret her decision. She also said that she would do it again.

The reason Stephanie Wilkinson drove Sarah Sanders out of her restaurant was because Sanders worked for and belonged to a political tent that she didn’t like. Consequently, Sanders told this to the world through social media. 

Following her, President Trump also tweeted about the incidence and condemned it. He described the Red Hen restaurant as “filthy.”

Everybody was criticizing Stephanie Wilkinson’s personal attack on Sanders. There’s no doubt that Wilkinson has committed something that usually happens in immature societies and states. 

It has, indeed, been an expression of meanness, which no one expects from an American where social and political liberalism and tolerance have been being practiced for a long time.

Sarah Sanders’s message reminded the world how to behave with a person who may belong to a different set of values. This too gives us some food for thought. Has American society come to a point where someone would be driven out of a restaurant for believing in a different set of political values? 

This kind of thing would happen in Bangladesh, or in Nepal, or in some African countries. In America! What have people like Sanders been doing differently? How is her administration behaving differently?

It’s worthwhile to mention that a few Democratic senators have expressed their admiration towards what Wilkinson did to Sanders. They wished that every assistant of President Trump should be socially boycotted. 

We, the people of the so-called Third World, get a new message from this episode; we come to a conclusion that anger against each other in the American social and political atmosphere has crept in and created a circle of hatred.

There’s already a social upheaval going on in that country as far as immigrants along the border is concerned. The Trump administration has already shown a dehumanized face by separating children from parents at the border. 

The First Lady herself has been worried, and she visited the immigrants’ children twice. The US administration has been described as a “cruel” one, and there has already been social outrage in that country regarding this episode.

This picture worries everybody. The whole world watches a dehumanized face of a country that boasts of “making it great.” However, anger and hatred are wiping out the positive senses from that country that we once upon a time thought as the most admired destination of the world, the most tolerant nation of the world, the most compassionate empathizer of the world during humanitarian crises.

When we were growing up in the 70s in the height of the Cold War, here in Bangladesh, America was seen as a helper of the world; at least that’s what they could project across the world, and a huge number of young people thought of America as an ideal nation-state. Everybody thought America was the country to live in.

Then, the country succeeded in winning the Cold War over the Soviet bloc. Even after the win over communism, people across the world happily accepted the values that America used to disseminate. 

It’s when it started to act as a global policeman that the impression about the country started to change, as the nation’s leaders wanted to assert their supremacy across the world. 

When the people say “you’re great,” it means something, but when you yourself say “I’m great,” it means the opposite. 

What will happen when people across the world say: “The global policeman cannot even protect its own children from school shootings”?

I will skip mentioning how the US has created and handled all global situations since the end of the Cold War, but would like to mention the treatment of African-American lives. A protest platform called Black Lives Matter has formed. Why are the initiators terming the campaign as “lives matter”? Is it because the lives of the black population are being lost?

There have been many reports in the media on racial bias and police brutality. 

We don’t expect this from a nation that has been preaching ideals of democratic culture. We believe tolerance is a basic tenet of democracy. 

The country and its administration don’t disseminate the ethics of tolerance any more. 

We expect better from them. We don’t want to see that the country is losing its way, because globally, it still matters. 

Ekram Kabir is a story-teller and a columnist.

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