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University Of Maryland University College
ENGLISH 101 Term I
Intruduction To Writing
Argumentative, Mid-Term Essay
By: Cristian Rodriguez
Thursday, Sept 8, 2005

"The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse." Madison, James 4th President of the United States (1751-1836)

Call me a liberal or a conservative, and a Democrat or a Republican, and a member of the "blue" states or the "red" states, and a patriot or a protestor, and a supporter of the left or the right, and a hippie or a tight ass. I don't care. Most of us don't know what these terms mean anyway. We misuse all this political, capitalistic, and bureaucratic horse crap all the time. Instead, I am much more concerned with the stance we as citizens of America have taken as leaders of the "free world": our blindness to our government's true motives behind its policies and the hypocrisy of what we as Americans presumably stand for. I wonder what our nation's founders would think about how we have been messing with our country's future: normally accepting, participating in, or supporting terrible acts in an organized and systematic way, at home and abroad. I am worried about what we have become and where we are heading as a nation.

Firstly, before we go and concern ourselves with whom will be the next one to pull a Kobe Bryant, maybe we should recognize and understand that the decisions of our government leaders are viewed as the decisions of the people of United States around the world. We choose our representatives to act in our behalf; if they don't, we ought to raise hell. So, ask yourself these questions: What are our nation's priorities and why do we accept them? What does it mean to fight terrorism in a capitalist state? By definition, terrorism is evil while capitalism is not; however, the U.S. has done plenty to give capitalism an evil connotation. For instance, remember the Rwanda Genocide of 1994. It claimed more than 800,000 human lives; innocent people were beaten to death with machetes, or knives by rebel fighters. The United States along with Belgium, France, and the United Nations all had previous warnings about plans for the Genocide in Rwanda and could have prevented it. How does that sit with our country's presumed commitment to human rights and liberty? Actually, our government did not intervene in this massacre because Rwanda has a population of extremely poor African people and an intervention would not have had "contributed" to our GDP (Gross-Domestic-Product), hence, bringing me to my next point: The Iraq War. To believe that the U.S. went and still is in Iraq (spending hundreds of billions of dollars) to liberate the poor and oppressed people of Iraq is not only foolish but also ludicrous; yet, we advocate this jargon to be the truth. More innocent people have died in the Iraq War than the victims of Saddam Hussein's chemical attack on the kurds at Halabja, the 9/11 terrorists attacks, and hurricane Katrina put together. Our third American president, Thomas Jefferson, once said: "It behooves every man who values liberty of conscience for himself, to resist invasions of it in the case of others: or their case may, by change of circumstances, become his own." I believe this may be our prophecy.

Secondly, instead of following Michael Jackson's next trial, why don't we analyze America's and our government's claims as to be concerned and lead the world in the fight against scourges like world poverty, world hunger, AIDS, and to provide generous support for countries facing world natural disasters in the world. How concerned are we really? Of the 50 poorest countries in the world, 34 are in Africa. Many developed and developing countries, including the United States, contribute Official Development Assistance or ODA to aid Africa in their struggle against hunger and AIDS and other issues. Although the United States gives the largest amount in quantity to aid Africa, about 4 billion in ODA in 2003, it still gives the lowest (0.018%) in percentage of GDP compared to all other developed counties, ranking 20th in the overall list. Now, what does that say about our commitment to help end world hunger and poverty? Moreover, the Asian Tsunami that occurred last December claimed the lives of an estimated 170,000 to 250,000 people. The U.S. has donated approximately 2 billion dollars for the disaster relief, half constituting government funds and the other half from the private sector; Phillip Morris pays twice that amount in taxes to continue to "kill" more than 400,000 Americans every year. Another powerful quote: "Hunger does not breed reform; it breeds madness, and all the ugly distempers that make an ordered life impossible." Wilson, Woodrow 28th President of the United States (1856-1924).

Thirdly, there is sufficient and palpable evidence to believe that we in America are less interested in getting informed about pressing issues than what TV show is hot right now. In the media, issues like our compromised education system, the "you-can't-catch-me" health care system or our defaulted social security system take a back seat to such trivial, futile, meaningless subjects like professional sports games and whether or not Janet Jackson showed her breasts on purpose at the Super Bowl. It should not come as a surprise to find that our health care and education are left behind when our priorities dictate it so clearly: the United States spends a staggering 4 and 1/2 times more on National Defense or as I call it "International Offense", than we do on Education and 58% more than on Health Care. "The moral test of a government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life - the children; the twilight of life - the elderly; and the shadows of life - the sick, the needy and the handicapped," said Hubert Humphrey 38th, Vice President of the United States--(1911-1978) I will not even go into the hypocrisy in our concern for the environment given how much an "energy hog" America is. In addition, although it is the 21st century, the United States still uses roughly two to four million animals for testing of chemical and products, drugs, vaccines, cosmetics, household cleaners, pesticides, foodstuffs, and packing material. Every year the department of agriculture releases an "Animal Welfare Report" which says in plain English that animals are put through pain or distress with no drugs used for relief. They call this research not torture, of course.

In the end, the terminology used seems to make all the difference to us, even when the results are the same: it is not an invasion, it is a liberation; it is not murder, it is defense; it is not slaughter, it is collateral damage; it is not world monopoly of power, it is capitalism; it is not terror, it is shock and awe. There is no doubt that what was illustrated by Shirley Jackson's story "The Lottery" in 1948 was true then, and it is also true now: that given a systematic process with a perceived legitimate authority, common people will engage in hideous, disgraceful, mangling, and indescribable acts that are routinely acceptable as "the way things have always been done." It is in indeed true… "Doing what's right isn't the problem. It's knowing what's right." Johnson, Lyndon Baines 36th President of the United States (1908-1973)

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