Not to be dramatic, but US politics have become a laughing stock for the rest of the world. No country will ever be completely united in its political views; however, the United States has demonstrated that it is capable of going above and beyond anyone’s expectations. Currently, both sides of the two-party system feel different emotions about the lack of government action regarding different internal and external issues the country is undergoing. Many argue that this inability is driven by polarization, which is caused by a lack of open-mindedness and acceptance of differing perspectives and beliefs on issues. This has impacted the US’s ability to act as a world leader given its status as a world superpower.
Growing up in the US, I have become accustomed to the changing environment of politics and, along with it, the polarizing nature of my community. An example of the former situation occurred during the winter break when the House of Representatives was set to choose a new Speaker of the House to replace Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi with a Republican member—now that the House had a Republican majority following the 2022 midterm elections. The choice everyone saw coming to be elected was Congressman Kevin McCarthy. Hilariously, it was not, as expected, a quick and unanimous decision. I think back to text messages from my friends still in the States, who laugh at the ridiculousness of the situation. This political party has a majority in the House and had success publicly upholding divisive positions, yet they cannot choose a leader to represent them—it is quite the paradox.
Meanwhile, people I knew in the States were laughing and losing hope in their government. I listened to my friends in Segovia discuss the situation and casually acknowledge that the US is no longer the strong superpower it once was; instead, Russia and China have debunked Capitol Hill’s fragile leadership. This sentiment, however, began far before this past election. I would argue that it started with the 2016 elections, when the media aided the polarization of the parties, thus dividing the nation. This further escalated with the insurrection against the Capitol on January 6, 2021. Although one may feel like it was just yesterday, the time has gone by fast, and along with it, the US’s position and hierarchy in the world.
This image is portrayed for the world to see causing the US to look weak, unorganized, and on the verge of a grave conflict among its people. To be honest, the situation portrays the United States to the rest of the world as a hot mess. These two examples outlined are not the only situations that have caused this sentiment in the world. The constant school shootings due to the lack of gun regulations, police violence towards racial minorities, and lack of conversation regarding many human rights have caused differing points of view, and I know they will not be the last circumstance that evokes these conversations. Nonetheless, this should make us realize that in order for our country to evolve and have the opportunity to regain status and dispel the fears and beliefs that have been debunked about the US, we must be able to put aside our differences and sit down and make political change. Legislators have a duty to their constituents to create legal change in the system in order to promote equality and freedom. Still, most importantly, the people must fight for a united nation, the United States. What most people do not realize is that we have an effect on the world. We are a world superpower, and other nations follow our example even though this fear has emerged that our footing has slipped. That should be enough reason to talk about policy changes within our domestic issues and our contribution to international politics, having again played an active role in taking on world challenges. We are not setting the example; we are not lawfully changing our policies, which, in the long run, will just affect us more than everyone else because domestically we will have a harmful division. As that divide intensifies, so will the appearance of the US as a power-deteriorating nation in the media. We are not unified, and that will be our downfall because we now sadly lack the acceptance of diversity that once made this country great.
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