American Power And ResponsibilityEileen Wittig | February 10, 2015
A lot of big things have been happening recently. Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz died two weeks ago. ISIS killed a Jordanian hostage, Jordan is on the offensive in retaliation, and ISIS is claiming that a Jordanian airstrike is responsible for the death of an American hostage. Israeli-American relations are strained, again. As all these events have unfolded across the globe, one thing has tied them all together—the world has looked to America for a response.
Despite the troubles we’ve been having at home, despite not knowing quite what we should do abroad, despite not knowing what to expect as we prepare for election season, and despite the many mistakes we’ve made, America is still leading. Other countries rely on us, aided by our help and guidance. They get upset when we do not give events the recognition they deserve—as many believe happened in the case of Charlie Hebdo—and Americans are embarrassed when we give such slights. More abstractly, but more importantly, other countries see us as a role model.
Many Americans see their country as being a leader militarily, economically, and politically, and being a leader idealistically is both the foundation and the lasting, overarching reason for all of these. Beginning with our revolution, which still inspires people to democracy and independence over two hundred years later, America has blazed the trail in self-government. The American experiment triggered curiosity from the start, and the world never stopped watching.
That is a huge responsibility.
Being a role model to an individual is big enough. Being a role model to entire countries, to continents, to governments, to billions of people, is not something we can afford to forget. Every decision we make is seen, noted, and emulated. We know that our policies and laws affect ourselves and those that come after us, but they also affect people all over the world, and not only later, but right now. When we legalize abortion, the world notices. When we talk about legalizing euthanasia or assisted suicide, the world listens. When we legalize same-sex marriage, the world sees. When we allow one group to kill another by not saying or doing enough against it, the world sees it as us condoning it, accepting it, or, at the very least, not considering it worth our attention or time. Other governments follow suit, and individuals think that such things cannot be so bad, since America is doing it.
This is all bad enough in and of itself without being known as a Christian nation. How are we to argue against immorality and a lack of ethics when other countries can accuse us of going against our own beliefs? How can we be an example abroad if we are not an example to ourselves?
America wants to be the world’s leading nation, and she can be. But as she becomes so, and once she is, she cannot forget the responsibility that comes with the position. She has to earn the spot and deserve to keep it.
With great power comes great responsibility.
Media Source: UK Daily Mail via NASA