The flaws of “putting America first”
Long before the nationalistic and discriminatory rhetoric of Trump, the United States committed to uphold the basic human rights of all people of the world equally without preference:
“Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.”
On December 10, 1948, the United Nations passed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights with this excerpt from Article 2 along with 29 other articles. Millions in the the Great Generation before us knew this document well and millions of men in my father’s generation fought and died to protect these rights. It breaks my heart that our president elect has not read this important declaration and that many uneducated Americans today do not even know of the existence of the work that culminates the work and legacy of our parents’ generation.
Until recently I never imagined that so many fellow countrymen, including the president elect and many of the people he has chosen to run his cabinet, would abandon and deny these basic human rights. We’ve apparently degenerated into an age of primary concern for our own safety and economic welfare above the equivalent rights of others in other countries throughout the world. We’ve become the “me first” generation and even our president elect unashamedly boast an agenda of “putting America first”. I read comments daily by wealthy business people in The Wall Street Journal affirming that they do not owe anything to society or any other person. This stance is short-sighted, dangerous to our security and morally bankrupt. It is very sad to see the growth in this errant ideology under Trump. It makes me ashamed of our nation for abandoning these principles that so many died to protect in the great wars.
The saying comes to mind: “Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it”. As for me, I remain committed to oppose and point out the invalidity of any government or program that proposes to “put America first” at the expense of other world citizens.