Inconsistency plagues the United States

CBy Nick Legendre

Consistency is overrated. The United States is an inconsistent land. The United States’ inconsistency is a large part of what makes the United States what it is; it is the United States’ strength and its weakness. Countries are like actors – they convince some people to believe in things that are not real. Of course, for every Michael Caine, a real actor, there are many actors like Keanu Reeves. However, in this analogy, most of the real work occurs behind the scenes with the director and stagehands, where the writing, planning and building of the country happens. Even if the actor is great, his performances cannot always be high quality; there will be people, informed citizens, who can see behind the curtain, who can see the wires and fake backgrounds. In this way, the United States has been inconsistent for as long as it has existed, in its history, policies, culture and geography.

The United States’ history is filled with hope and lies. Americans rebelled against British rule because they were being taxed without representation. From that the government of the United States and the Bill of Rights were created. For the most part, they are excellent ideas that every country should apply. However, the United States did not include all of it citizens in its laws, especially slaves. Even after slavery was abolished in the United States, there were still inconsistencies. The constitution allowed former slaves the right to vote, but many local authorities enacted laws to exclude them. This lasted until the civil rights movement, led by informed people in the 1950s and 1960s. Women were also included in the inconsistent voting laws; they did not have voting rights until 1920. During World War II the United States showed more inconsistency, when it interned many innocent civilians of German and Japanese ancestry.

Not every historical inconsistency is horrible. Different situations require different actions; World War II could not be fought the same way as the War of 1812. However, inconsistencies in basic freedoms and law are inexcusable. The United States acted like the defender of civil liberties and freedom, but behind the scenes it committed many horrendous actions. The United States, for example, was strongly against communism during the Cold War. This led to many questionable actions by United States in South America and Asia. Such actions include the Vietnam War and McCarthyism, in which the government held congressional hearings on suspected communists and increased its spying on American citizens.

Inconsistencies in U.S. policies today are very problematic. One such policy is the United States’ support of Israel over Palestine. The United States gives billions of dollars, mostly in military aid, to the Israeli government. In supporting one side of this unclear conflict, the United States seems unsympathetic concerning the population of Palestine. This can lead to resentment toward the United States, causing people to attack Americans, even though many of the people attacked have little to do with this country’s foreign policy.

There are also many inconsistencies concerning Iraq. George W. Bush, in a grandiose performance, stated that war against Iraq would protect the United States and its citizens, but he also claims to want to help the citizens of Iraq. It is unlikely that he will be able to do both. If he wishes to help the United States he should put in place a government friendly to the United States instead of the current one. If he wants to help the citizens of Iraq, he should allow them to choose what type of government they want, regardless of its stance toward the United States.

Another inconsistent U.S. policy is its role in the world. The United States supports an international court, but will not agree to be bound by it unless U.S. citizens are exempt from trial. The United States wants to rid the world of evil, but will not allow itself to be judged by the same standards as it judges every other country. Trying to convince people of its great intentions, the United States also proclaims that it wishes that all lands were democratic, but supports countries such as Pakistan, a dictatorship, and Saudi Arabia, a monarchy. When the United States supports those countries, it shows the real story behind the scenes – that the United States values oil, money and allies over democracy and freedom. The United States is also inconsistent in its views on weapons of mass destruction. It has the largest stockpile of weapons on the planet, but it does not want to see them in the possession of questionable nations.

However, some of the United Nation’s inconsistencies are positive. The definitive aspects of the United States are its people and land. The United States has very inconsistent geographical features. From mountains and plains, to palm trees and beaches, the United States is a diverse land. This inconsistency allows people to experience the natural world without having to travel extensively. The United States also has large cities and small towns. These are homes to an inconsistent population, whose diversity makes the United States an excellent place. One can travel to Louisiana, eat jambalaya, and hear people speak Creole. One can then go to New York and see skyscrapers and people from almost everywhere on the Earth in its China towns, apartments, and streets. Inconsistencies like that add to the enjoyment of the country.

They allow for a difference of opinion, of music, of culture. However, the country is becoming more consistent. Consistencies like one currency and a major language are helpful, but too much consistency is detrimental, like an actor only playing the parts of villains. One can find a McDonald’s or chain store in almost every town in the country. This increasing homogenous effect destroys the great inconsistency. People never leave their hometowns, even when they are physically in another place. When people cannot see different places and experience different things, then they cannot experience the United States.

The United States is inconsistent; that is its strength and weakness. The inconsistency hurts the United States when it denies basic rights to its citizens and others of the world. It strengthens the United States when it allows for a great diversity. This strength of this diversity permits the United States to pursue many roles in the world. However, the United States needs to share with everyone what goes on behind the scenes, only then will its performance be consistently Oscar-worthy.

Nick Legendre is a University senior majoring in chemistry.

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