America’s position in the world, as well as the foreign and domestic perception of its leadership, is most accurately seen, not by what is commonly purveyed on opinionated news networks across America, but instead by the socio-economic and socio-political changes we see occurring abroad. Opinions of the Commander-in-chief need not be explored to gain an accurate picture of the objective vicissitudes that are taking place on the international stage; nevertheless, viewing the 45th President of the United States as the agent of such change is not only objectively true, its blatantly obvious. Whether the changes are positive or negative is a subjective matter for each observer to decide.
The term American exceptionalism is an all-American self-proclamation that stems from the creativity, intellectual contribution, and, simply put, greatness that consistently comes from within its borders. From the Constitution that grants each citizen inalienable, God-given rights, the sturdy institutions of justice and democracy, to the incontestable military might and technological superiority—America boasts a power that is born from its fundamental values.
American culture, however, is not without its faults. A culture that promotes living in excess has only accentuated the poverty of the needy. The poverty of the needy has only promoted a welfare state. The promotion of a welfare state has only dismantled the family unit, creating a lazy, unmotivated, and uneducated people. The perpetuation of racial divide, even after the civil-rights movement, has been used as a means for profit by the morally obtuse. Americans are more and more dependent on medication that progressively gets more and more expensive. Big pharma has become obese with profit as the people they supply become less healthy and more prone to mental illness and disease. The right to bear firearms has been perverted by a small group of deranged men and women who seek to destroy as much as they can until moral men with AR15s can attend to the chaos. All of these issues compound upon each other and clearly present the biblical truths that the love of money is the root of all evil and that the heart of man is wicked—who can know it?
But despite these disheartening facts about the state of America there are thousands of people that flock to its borders— both legally and illegally. This is because there is a qualitative difference between the West, more specifically the United States, than the rest of the world. When compared to Communist China, a country that is rated among the lowest for Human Rights and Press Freedom, the appeal of inalienable rights and freedoms becomes ever clear—well, for some of us. Because despite these blatant differences, there are some who would dishonestly claim that the United States of America under the Trump administration is worst than the most wicked dictators and tyrannical governments the world has ever seen.
Hundreds of thousands of Hongkongers have been rioting for weeks in defiance of the Communist Party of China. Violence has increased as protesters and police have continuously clashed—each encounter getting more violent than the last. The elites and celebrities of Chinese society urge protesters to surrender—to submit quietly to the mainland— but they have already tasted the sweetness of democracy during 156 years of British rule. Residents of Hong Kong have experienced democracy and the freedoms so commonly practiced in the West even after the Handover in 1997 where the United Kingdom returned control of Hong Kong to mainland China. While Hong Kong was under British rule and law, they were given the opportunity to create their own democracy and maintain stability and trade on an international level, but now the cloud of Communism looms over their heads ready to sacrifice the individual for the collective.
With uncertainty being the only thing Hongkongers are certain of, they look to the West for redemption. China, a mixture of communist, technocratic, socialist, democratic centralist and quasi-capitalist, appears to be everything but a Democratic Republic. Chinese freedom of thought is limited to the confines of the mind as seen with the increase of political dissidents imprisoned and persecuted. Needless to say that the only time the Chinese government listens to its citizens is when it conducts surveillance. Who better to speak to these breaches of basic human rights and liberties than those subject to them?
The events in China, as eye-opening as they are, should remind Westerners that despite America’s shortcomings, it could be leagues worse. Credit should be given to the values the West defends and the lives lost defending them. Events such as these should promote introspection into the current affairs in America and the schisms that continue to tear the country’s moral fabric apart. If American Exceptionalism can penetrate the rigid, tightly sealed, borders of China, why do so many American’s disregard it? Are Hongkongers bigots and advocates for white Nationalism because they support America’s reality? Or is there a global appeal to American values that half the country simply doesn’t want to see?