America needs the world for the same reason that individuals need other people to be healthy. Isolation distorts the personality. Without others, socialization fails, not just because there is no give and take but because there is no feedback, no reflection of the self in others for self-correct. A person who does not change as a result of interacting with others becomes a socially destructive narcissist. America learned that lesson with its 45th president.
Engagement with the world does not require a tedious study of the world’s near-200 countries. It does not call for 24/7 monitoring of news to know who’s fighting whom. That’s for professionals who like their work. For everyday Americans, it’s enough to be aware of other countries and regions so they are not floundering in a globalizing world needing group solutions to problems affecting all humanity. An optimistic note for the future of the human race is that young people are more aware of the greater world than their elders ever were.
The South Korean boy band BTS bridged east/west cultural divides with a universal message with a delivery that hit home worldwide. The Ukrainian Kalush Orchestra won the Eurovision song award that showed appreciation for artistry as well as support for #Ukraine’s ability to create while under seige by Russia. Bollywood by now is known for meaningful social messages that the US seems long ago to have abandoned due to narcissistic limitations.
The Covid pandemic opened a new market for streaming services. As Covid restrictions eased, Disney among others has hopscotched movies between streaming and increasingly pricy theaters. America can do better than to simply hunt and peck for avenues to expand. Making friends with the world is the way to do it, starting with the young.
Social media is the driver of youth on urgent issues such as climate change, health and social justice. The highly respected Pew Research Center reported in 2021 that Millennials and Gen Z youth were condident and open to change. America can give them a boost for a bright future by dropping its outdated macho stance that it is the center of the universe.
America is great. It is geographically blessed and its founding Constitution was the blueprint for democracies worldwide. But its wealth and prosperity made it a target of envy. America responded with a trigger-happy abandon that still haunts it with an unthinkable near-coup.
America was founded on the principle that all people are equal, at a time when much of its income came from the old world practice of slavery. A civil war nearly 100 years later decided that America would pursue the principle of equality as stated in its Constitution. While dissent with the decision left bloody marks on the country, it was never in serous question until America elected the wester world’s first non-white head of state.
The backlash to that landmark step toward equality shook not only America but the entire world. Under Donald Trump, the global melting pot was on full display as its world-sustaining demoracy was trashed.
As America flounders in its pressure cooker melting pot of races from all nations, the world can offer clues. For starters, a greater awareness of the world’s regions and countries can break down stereotypes that now have America hog tied.
White spremacist groups sprouted in America and Europe when half-white Barack Obama was elected. Hate and neonazi groups went haywire with the Trump backlash. But an offshoot of that hostility in American democracy was a dawning sense of diversity in the generic groups.
There is no question that at present whites in North America and Europe control the world’s power levers. But only 15% of the world population is white and to them the rest of the world’s people are lumped into broad categories such as Asian, Black, Hispanic or Muslim/ Arabic with no distinction betwwen the two. In fact, each of these groups has great variations and many are gaining momentum in global power.
Asians, for example, are not just the world power China but Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, the friendlt Australia and the powerfouse India. The bad reputation of Islam and Arabic countries is offset by peace efforts of Jordan and the global supply chain is kept open by fighters for democracy located around the world from the South China Sea to Ukraine.
In the shifting geopolitical landscape, America is a mirror of the world. As America’s blacks have been undermined to now emerge all the stronger for the atruggle, African nations are coming into their own with the natural resources in demand throughout the world. Modern technology today makes access to those resources possible. America can be at the forefront of the burgeoning market opportunity. All it needs is to notice that Africa is there.
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