Noah Caldwell (12/20/11)
Contemporary Issues Final
We live in a global society. All is connected, none stand alone, and everything affects everything. At any second of any day, one could easily choose to communicate with someone across the globe through text, voice, or even video. There are immense advantages to such interconnectivity of nations, but it also has many drawbacks.
The United States produces many crops. Out west, you would astounded at how much corn is grown there. You can drive on the freeway on a completely flat plain, and see nothing but corn and asphault to the horizon. Once upon a time, a few years ago, that combined with the cotton from Virginia and the southern states’ tobacco would be more than enough to make this country one of the most influential, wealthy, and powerful in the world. That was before the Information Age began. Now, food alone is not a viable way to success. Computers, oil gasoline, rare metals, and cars are just a few examples of more advanced industries. It takes all of these to make a country truly great- without them, that country is lacking. Another side effect of globalization is that no countries are truly independent. Legally? Sure. Do most of the people think so? Sure. But if you take a modern country, and you remove all the others off the map, that country could not live life the same way. Many would survive, but many would not be able to adapt. Do this to any country, and most of the time, they will find themselves very lacking- probably lacking many things. Because of this, it is more important that peace is kept between countries, which is is likely to persuade politicians to compromise. Unfortunately, when they refuse to compromise, it causes many problems, and any country that is truly self-sufficient has an unfair advantage over other countries because it can afford to wage war on any (disregarding what the attackee’s allies might do).
The people of the United States were once very different from who we are now. Part of that is so because of a different economic and political situation. Disregarding that, our culture has, in many ways, changed. We place a much greater emphasis on success and achievement, and owning things than others. We borrow money we don’t own to buy a car we can’t afford to impress people we don’t know (and who don’t know us!). As far as I can tell, it seems that we used to be far more patriotic of our country. In WWII, all the men left to go fight. If you stayed behind for any other reason than that you led a large business or otherwise helped the war effort, people would… I don’t want to say persecute, but basically, yes, that would happen. Now? If we were in a war as large as that, I do not believe there would be nearly as much social pressure to join the military and give our country honor. Success and achievement is more personal now. Many do feel extremely patriotic about our country now, and would sign up in a heartbeat to protect their family and friends. Unfortunately, despite their being many more of us now, I don’t think as many would enlist now as did then. That is, in my opinion, rather shameful. On the other hand, many would refuse to join because of their beliefs against violence, which is not such a terrible thing in itself.
One final effect of globalization is that politics are much more… extreme. The stakes are higher (many more lives exist to care for), the demands are higher (tangentially related to population), and it is harder. Media follow your every move, and any slipup is broadcast all over the world, causing billions to know about it. Worse, if you fix that mistake, you can’t be sure that the people who heard about your mistake haven’t already changed their mind and are no longer paying any attention to you, so they don’t hear of how you resolved the problem. There are many more people that will feel the effects of the government’s choice, and it must, in turn, become that much more effective. It is impossible to achieve a solution where every party is completely happy every time. Perhaps there is sometimes a way for that to happen, but most of the time, the leader just does the best he or she can.Unfortunately, that will never be good enough- nor should it be. Were the pressure to be lessened, the quality of the work might be lowered, which is unacceptable.
The United States has always stood as a symbol of freedom. Liberty. We still do. It is hard to bring the belief that people rule themselves to other countries when we cannot keep ourselves healthy and prosperous, however. We must be an example to others; a beacon for all to believe in. That will only happen if we can keep ourselves moving forward. If we stand still, others will pass us, and possibly destroy all we have worked for. We cannot allow the dreams of some of mankind’s brightest minds to fade away because it is too much work, or we are too preoccupied with ourselves. We must believe that it is possible, that we can do it, and that it will be done.