American Exceptionalism?

Marvin Adams

Marvin Adams is a parishioner of St. Anthony’s Parish in Washington D.C. His views do not necessarily reflect those of the Franciscan Action Network.

Another weekend and another 100 or more Americans killed. So what else is new? While most of the national as well as international news has been following the controversy about the killing of Michael Brown, an African-American teenager from Ferguson, Missouri, Americans are being killed at an astronomical rate and it seems we have become accepting of this unnatural phenomenon.

I recently had an opportunity to speak with a family of four from England. Our conversation began when the mother, accompanied by two sons and a daughter, asked me if it was permissible to jaywalk. I responded by conveying to her that it was indeed illegal to do so, but with a caveat – everybody does it, just be cognizant of the cars. She then explained to me that in England, not only is it legal to jaywalk, but if a pedestrian is struck, the driver is ticketed. She further stated that if a pedestrian is killed, the driver may be sentenced to a minimum of five years.

Our conversation then transitioned to that of the killing of Brown. I asked if she was aware of this incident in Ferguson, to which she replied, “Of course, but it is not new, it happens all the time in America.” The sad truth of the matter is, she is absolutely correct. Everyone around the world seems to get it, except us. It seems as if most Americans are either ignorant or apathetic, or worse.

I would like to think that Michael Brown will be the last African-American killed by the hands of a law enforcement officer. I would also like to think that our young folk, primarily African-Americans, will stop killing each other. But unlike some of my fellow citizens, I am not delusional. This carnage will only come to an end when we, the people, decide once and for all that enough is truly enough! But do we as a nation have the proclivity to act? I think not because from our very beginning as a fledgling nation, killing has become as American as baseball, hot dogs and apple pie.

Cases in point: It was with the gun and a fabricated mantra known as “manifest destiny” in which the Native American was almost completely annihilated. It was with the gun that the slaves were held in check. It was also with the gun that those protesting for their civil and human rights have been threatened, intimidated, injured, and sometimes killed. The United States has a sordid history when it comes to killing and no amount of obfuscating, misinformation or spinning will change that fact.

Our politicians of all stripes, for myriad reasons, have not shown they have the temerity or the courage to address this most critical issue. They have been totally derelict in their duties to make us safer and provide for a more congenial environment. The only way to change this is to get their attention by voting each and every one of them out of office. We should begin with those who have been bought and paid for by the gun lobby and their minions, irrespective of party affiliation.

If not having guns in the hands English Bobby’s and citizens, works for England, why can’t it work for us? I know that’s a loaded question, no pun intended. We do have recourse. We can partition our country or we can move to a safer environ. Let’s say, perhaps, jolly ole’ England. But then again, why should we? The answer, my fellow Americans is succinctly – American Exceptionalism, or not.

Marvin Adams is a parishioner of St. Anthony’s Parish in Washington D.C. His views do not necessarily reflect those of the Franciscan Action Network.

Published in: on August 29, 2014 at 9:41 am  Leave a Comment  
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