As I mentioned earlier this week, I’ve been reading “Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide,” by Nicholas D. Kristoff and Sheryl WuDunn.
I described the book recently to a friend as both horrifying and inspirational. And while I’d like to claim it’s more of the latter, I don’t think that’s true. What I can without a doubt say is that it’s definitely an eye-opener.
Sure, we all know that atrocities happen elsewhere in the world. But it’s one thing reading about it in a news article and quite another to read personal testimonies on the subject. I can’t even begin to imagine what it’s like actually living through the experiences documented in the book. In all honesty, I’m not sure I really want to.
But as I turn page after page and cringe at the details it discloses, it just keeps striking me that, all too often, we here in the United States don’t know how good we have it.
How many of us can cry that we’re missing a limb because rebels got it into their heads that such maiming is a good idea?
What American citizens can relate to being subjected to such savage abuse that their “feet were beaten until they were like yogurt” (one of the more revolting descriptions in “Half the Sky”)?
What U.S.-born man, woman, boy or girl can honestly empathize with having their eyes gouged out with a steel rod because they disobeyed their pimp/slave owner?
I’m sure that most of us would be hard-pressed to truly identify with any of the above-mentioned cases. But tragically, that is the situation in places such as Sierra Leone, Afghanistan and India. And the list could easily go on to encompass China, Russia, Iran, Rwanda, the Congo, Ethiopia, etc., etc., etc., ad nausea.
What America Is Now
Now I’m not saying that bad things don’t happen to people in the U.S. It would be downright ignorant to claim that they don’t. Terrible and often seemingly pointless tragedies occur everywhere in the world, and we are no exception.
The newspapers are filled every day with stories of rapes, murders and abuse of some kind or another, and I know it doesn’t cover even half of it. So I’m not trying to belittle such victims at all.
In fact, a person – an American citizen from birth – that I hold extremely close to me was severely abused as a child. The oldest of four, she can still easily recall walking the streets as a pre-teen during the earlier hours of the morning looking in the bushes to see if her mother had been murdered and dumped there… when in fact she was simply out at the bar.
But that same person went on to lead a much better life. Because she was born in the U.S., she had the opportunity to leave the very bad side of Philadelphia and now lives comfortably – with a husband and children who can’t imagine life without her – in some nice suburban neighborhood. She’s currently finishing up her college degree and plans on obtaining her masters after that.
This courageous woman was able to achieve all that because she lives in the United States of America, where people really can pull themselves up and get to more enviable positions in life. It’s not just a fairy tale. It can actually come true here.
Try doing that even in Europe and you might find it a bit more difficult than you might think. Heavy taxes and socialistic governments are very good at keeping people exactly where they start at, as such political models always are.
… Might Not Be What America Will Be Later
What I can’t understand then is why people like our current president, Barack Obama, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and far too many other liberals are so determined to model us after areas of the world where the rich die rich and the poor die not only poor but oftentimes severely abused.
I’m sure that they would vehemently argue that they’re turning this country away from such practices and not towards them. But the reality is depressingly far from that claim…
When we work hard for money that the government then takes 20% or more of for its own purposes, that’s a form of slavery. When we’re not allowed to speak the truth for fear of being slandered as racist (perhaps the worst label to recieve in this society), that’s a form of oppression. And when we cry “No!” and our leaders go ahead and force their harmful agenda down our throats anyway, that’s a form of molestation.
It just hasn’t gotten to the much more terrifying physical stages as it has and has been in other countries around the world.
So while we are still exceedingly fortunate that the vast majority of us don’t understand the unchecked brutality that too many of our global neighbors know all too well, under an unchecked liberal agenda that strips us of our freedoms one by one until there is simply none left to take, we are uncomfortably close to finding out exactly how it feels to live in a third world country.