31 01 2008

As I was watching the Democratic debate tonight, I realized something about myself that many people in this country would consider extremely unpatriotic.

I realized that I am not proud to be an American.

When I came to that realization, I thought about why that was the case, and I think it is because the consensus attitude most Americans have of our country is far too arrogant. Not just about our country, but also at an individual level. Many people in this country are too proud to do such simple things. When I worked as a drone at a Dairy Queen back home, making hamburgers, I learned a lot about how the country really runs. There’s so many people out there doing such menial labor, but it’s so essential. Yet, those people who work so hard have so little to show for it. I’m not saying by any means that they should be paid huge amounts more than what they are earning now, but I do think there is a problem with their current salaries. It’s not right that some people have to work two or three jobs just to support a family, and then not even succeed. There are so many people in this country that have so much more than they need. I’m not sure what the solution is for all this. I see this problem, and it sickens me. My environmental science professor was discussing issues with overpopulation in class on Tuesday, and he talked about the 80/20 rule, which is 20% of the population uses 80% of our resources. That’s such a gross imbalance, and it makes me want to vomit. Yet, what can I do about it, especially when I am in that 20% of the population?

This is why I want to be a minister to people overseas.

Maybe not so much a minister as someone to help that 80% achieve the quality of life they so rightfully deserve. I definitely feel called to serve God. I know that my future lies in serving God in some capacity. But, I also feel that God is calling me to do something about these injustices that are plaguing our planet. I feel ashamed to consider myself apart of that 20%. How can so many people idly sit by and watch the 2.1 billion people on the planet live in absolute poverty? None of it makes any sense to me.

Here’s a feast for your eyes on the current population issue:

It’s very worry-some to me. There’s a very big problem, and no one seems to want to address it.

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One response

4 02 2008
Kelly Cohen

Funny about “proud to be an American”. I hate that song so much…
And yet, when you are overseas, you will become so aware that you are an American. People will identify you that way, and there are things about that that aren’t so bad. Certainly, we need to dramatically reevaluate how we use our resources and begin to move toward more responsible ways of living and sharing, but there are things about being an American that are good. We generally can count on fairness: people in a lot of other countries can’t. Most people with an education can get a decent job, even if that is waitressing (hey, waitresses make at least 15 an hour, something your average Ugandan could never begin to dream of, even with comparative pricing). All that isn’t to say that being an American is great, or that we should try to make every other place America (how boring!), but that at a certain point we do say thanks to God that we were born in a place that has given us particular privileges, and even blessings.
Love you Joel. I am grateful for your thoughtfulness and hope.

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