A New Pair of Shoes

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A New Pair of Shoes

Once upon a time, man stood by and watched the murder of millions. Once upon a time, man turned away starving, dehydrated escapees from his shore. Once upon a time, man took his ideas and believing there to be a profit in imposing them, mowed down thousands and declared "mission accomplished." Man killed his fellow men because they were a different color, different religion or spoke a different language, once upon a time. However, these cold, stark facts do not come from a tattered old history book in a school child's backpack or a History Channel documentary or a vague story heard from an octogenarian grandparent long ago. These facts come from yesterday's headlines. They come from the words of protestors. They come periodically from every news network. They come from the weak voices of the dead and dying in the wind clogged deserts and highways of Darfur, Sierra Leone and countless other impoverished countries worldwide.

Throughout the 3 centuries that America has existed, we have grown into power much as a child grows into their new pair of shoes. We've been alternately uncomfortable with it, vain about it, and at some points, we have even gone so far as to completely forget or choose to ignore the existence of this power. Due to this forgetfulness, some of the worst injustices to humanity to ever fall upon this apathy stricken world have occurred under the blind eyes of the United States and its "advanced" counterparts. Other times, these same countries have tried instead to blind their citizens, to keep them from seeing injustices that they themselves have committed. In this way, we have trampled Latin America under our boot heels and then attempted to keep the ruins from the eyes of the world. America has always been a curious mixture of a curious nature, an indignant yearning for what is truly right and, too often, a fervent desire to hold and conquer, to impose and see in others a mirror of our ideals.

However, not so long ago, we as a nation began to say, that never again would we let another Holocaust occur. Not so long ago, we rebelled and gave people of all color the right to vote. Not so long ago, we started to put up a façade of words, small, sometimes genuine, acts of humanity and an indomitable sense of righteousness that has come to dominate American culture. Today, that façade is proving to be our moral tripwire. Over the years, we have faced international crises with the same reaction; a polite smile, a deep frown and a retaliation of words about how we will do whatever we can to stop the atrocity. We've continued to infiltrate 3rd world Latin America both in a physical sense and by instructing CIA agents to go so far as to monitor the health of enemy country's leaders. Our news channels broadcast the warning from then Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld that Hugo Chavez is similar to Adolf Hitler in the way he has ascended to power. When it comes to genocides such as the current crisis in Darfur and the past horror of Rwanda, instead of trying to work with our fellow U.N. members to form a comprehensive plan to help stop the murder, we throw words at the leaders of the governments and draft thousand page documents full of meaningless dribble that could never be implemented.

Like the child who tries on his new pair of shoes, the United States of today does not fit into the shoes it has chosen. With the arrival of a new type of non-diplomacy and brute force on the U.S. political scene since the election of George W. Bush, we have become too big for our own shoes. In the past couple of years, Congress has passed several bills to aid Darfur and the U.S. has cooperated in sending small peacekeeping forces to help. Recently, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and John McCain signed a pact to take a stance, but these are still only words. It is time for more than words. It is time to once and for all, live the phrase we have so often recited. It is time to truly practice the phrase "never again" and use international diplomacy, not force, to bring peace to Darfur and to make sure that we never again make the same mistakes.





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