American Unrest

America has one of the richest history in the world. Even though am not American, I do love America for several reasons. It is said that the Greek philosophers were for a long time aware about the existence of the American continent long before Christopher Columbus set foot upon it. He and his retinue of explorers set on a voyage that was to rewrite history for good.

The Greek philosophers were of the conviction that the human being was not created to merely engage in business, work and politics alone, but rather to perfect himself (in consciousness) as the noblest of the animals since he is endowed with reason and is the natural ruler of the material world. 

The importance of Columbus in the larger scheme of things is to be estimated from his relationship to the pattern of his own time. Europe was passing from the obscuration of the medieval period and as coming into the light of the modern way of life. The motion of the Renaissance had spread miraculously fast. Then printing had been discovered and this furthered the speed at which civilization was taking place.

The USA is like a self-made success because at first it was all but a bare land but the men who thereafter settled in it worked their asses off to make it the great place as we know it. It was the harbinger of democracy. My country (Kenya) and other colonized nations would never have gained self-rule were it not for America’s courageous standing up to the imperialistic rulers.

But now the dynamics have changed so much so that in their everyday life most Americans obsess with political talk that essentially does not lead them anywhere. This has inflated with the event that Donald Trump was elected in as the president of the United States. It baffles me to see energetic people in the social media talking hate and malice. Then I stop for a moment and compare this population with the population that existed in the same nation during the days of the likes of Thomas Jefferson, George Washington and Benjamin Franklin. 

Back in the days when the Americans were clamoring for a self-rule, independence from the rule of Britain that benefited so much from the trade and commerce activities in America among many other financial benefits. Even after the Declaration of Independence the struggle continued. But now that prosperity and peace has ensued for so long the people have become evermore ignorant, each speaking and slandering about their leaders in different ‘tongues’ like the Tower of Babel.

It is easy to observe the short-termism that has befallen the American public. It’s rare to meet someone who sees the bigger picture in anything. When individual citizens begin to obsess with political developments (as it is here in Kenya) at the expense of working hard in their individual affairs then that marks the beginning of the end of a civilization. 

For long (200 years) the world has looked up to America as the elder brother that leads the way in the right directions. But for the last few decades there has been much decadence probably because some citizens and politicians begin to wake up to the reality that some policies work only for the benefit of individuals who are often portrayed as larger-than-life by the media. One thing I usually admire about the American is the sense of liberty bestowed in him by his forefathers. But, unfortunately, the modern-day American seems to have deviated from this kind of aura probably because there are no longer any causes to fight for.

Most of the people who immigrated to America during the period before 1776 were actually looking for a place free of the anarchist rulers of Europe. This is why they prospered so fast and immensely because they had the freedom to exercise creativity and innovation without fear of the monarchs. The likes of General Washington had to fight so hard before total freedom could be attained while others like Ben Franklin eloquently argued their cases with the rulers and eventually independence was granted. Of particular notice is that some people during this were in their twenties, the likes of Jefferson, yet they were quite instrumental in the struggle.

Fast forward to today’s Americana. Twitter, Facebook and the web is awash with bad language and talk about their president. Maybe the gods should have sent a leader straight from heaven to lead. Is this what Albert Einstein referred to when he said that the 3rd world war will be fought with forks and spoons more than six decades ago?

By Philip Kamau


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