Baylor > Lariat Archives > News

U.S. 'not a sinking ship' like other nations' politics

Nov. 16, 2004

By JONATHAN LUDWIG, guest columnist

"It's a very hostile crowd," U.N. spokesman Philippe Moreux said. "They're chanting slogans and insults, things like, 'All the whites out,' 'Everybody catch a white.'"

The ethnic-turned-racial violence in France's former colony, the Ivory Coast, might not be something new, as many are used to learning of violent clashes within Africa's beleaguered nations. But the poverty-stricken people really have something to be upset about -- there, a civil war rages at the hands of corrupt government elites and foreign special interests. Some in the United States might take to heart that, despite how terrible it might be to lose in politics, we are not a sinking ship, as many countries in the world appear. After the recent presidential election, there is talk among leftists about making the red states secede from the Union and of mass immigrations to our northern buddy, Canada. Instead, the talk should be, "is it really that bad?" Indeed, are angry, conservative mobs ransacking liberal neighborhoods screaming, 'everybody catch a liberal!"? Certainly, the doom-and-gloom picture of America is largely a self-fulfilling creation of the left.

As shocking and awing as the election might have been, the political process has worked almost flawlessly. Conservatives weren't hunting liberals with newly-purchased assault rifles, and fuming leftists weren't demanding the overthrow of the Bushian government (not too loudly anyway). Unbeknownst to the "losers" in this election, the plight of liberal Americans is dwarfed in the face of catastrophic occurrences that go on in the world every day. By much of the world's standards, we live in peace and ever-increasing prosperity that leaves little to whine and moan about.

Problems in the Ivory Coast present many other striking contrasts to the state of our Union. There, we find an economy at the mercy of worldwide cocoa, coffee and palm oil prices -- not electronics, software or the zillions of profitable markets to which the United States belongs. In this country, the French carry the dubious distinction of the Big Brother who never really left its colony. Last week, French troops were forced to subdue African protesters there as well as pacify their shaky relationship with the Ivorian government -- a truly sad state of affairs if that is your home.

Here in the United States, no one tells us what to do -- militarily, politically, and economically. Factions are equally represented, to the best of the ability of the system, and political violence remains virtually nonexistent. And whether you are the president, a congressman, a professor or student, everyone is equal before the law. Of course, there are problems. Wherever there are humans there are problems, but to denounce oneself as an American because of the outcome of an election is ludicrous.

U.S. citizens have something much of the world (even Europe) lacks: hope for the future. Pessimism about the economy, American foreign policy and about what others believe can be tempting, but it is weak and regressive. In their purest forms, democracy and pessimism are incompatible. So fear not, my liberal colleagues, all is not lost; unlike the Ivory Coast, we live in peace and freedom, and therein lie the mechanisms for change.