Imagine folks living in a small country abroad and all they hear about America are the mass shootings that have become so insanely popular among America’s lunatics. Having once looked up to us as the shining city on the hill, are they now scratching their heads?
They’re undoubtedly asking why a sicko Maine mass murder wasn’t denied access to guns when the ex-serviceman was so obviously mental he had been banned from using military weapons, but owning a semi-automatic rifle he used to kill 18 neighbors, no problem!
Then they see scenes of homeless people sleeping in streets of major cities and the latest sport, armed looters invading stores and carting off merchandise like herds of maniacs set loose in an asphalt jungle.
Then you hear news after news report how it took weeks to replace the third most powerful person in our government, all because one disgruntled congressman rallied a handful of like-minded dissidents to give his predecessor the boot.
And a former United States president keeps getting indicted, arrested over and over and charged with committing a slew of crimes, which he claims was just exercising his rights of free speech, yet he’s still the leading Republican candidate for a second term and becoming more popular with each speech and each arrest.
Now antisemitism is on the rise again in the U.S. and islamophobia along with it from the egregious attack on Israel by a ruthless Hamas mob’s mutilating babies and taking elderly Israeli women and children hostage. So, how is Israel to respond? Complain? No, it’s determined to eliminate the dire threat of Hamas now using civilians in Gaza propagandistically as human shields to inflame antisemitism.
So, in the land of the free, home of the brave, are we giving freedom and bravery and a resoluteness for righteousness a bad name? Would today Francis Scott Key call it The Star-Strangled Banner? Never!
No matter what happens, amid the occasional excesses, we’re still the greatest Nation on earth and we cherish freedom even when those weirdos abuse that special privilege, one we all enjoy, and we’re willing to fight and die for.
But what must those living in autocratic countries like China and Russia think of democracy? Are they seeing us like there’s no holds barred? Like we’re still the wild west? A free for all? Drug addicts and fentanyl united?
Do they see an incongruous country that worships the right to bear arms no matter if some of the worshippers are looney?
The impression we’re making globally is upsetting sometimes, so we’d better get our act of freedom together.
We’d better send out more uplifting scenes of democracy in action, for with all its flows and drawbacks, there’s no better, no more fair or inspiring system on the face of this bipolar planet of ours than democracy and the precious freedom that goes along with it!
Yes, it can be messy and clumsy at times, even divisive and dispiriting, but let us always be that shining democracy on the hill, that beacon of light the world looks up to and will try to emulate and want to follow.
Tom Madden is a veteran public relations professional who right now believes democracy and freedom could stand some good PR. He is the CEO of TransMedia Group, which he started when he left NBC. He’s also an author whose latest book WORDSHINE MAN is about how to make writing inviting and inspiring to do right.