1492: America in Review

In 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue and it led to centuries of almost constant warfare. That is not an opinion that is a historic fact. Over 600 years ago European sailors discovered the Americas and it led to the greatest land rush in history with the major European powers eager to divvy up lands that were already inhabited by native populations for the simple reason that they wanted the resources those lands held and they knew that it would be pretty easy to get those resources regardless of native resistance. And so the greatest genocide in world history took place and now we have two new continents named after an Italian sailor, divided up into nations whose primary languages are English, Spanish, French, and Portuguese.

In 1776, a group of pissed off colonial elites in the middle of North America got fed up with the “unfair” taxes they had to pay to their mother country of England, which was due to its own contemporary economic issues, and decided they did not want to pay those taxes or follow Mama England’s rules anymore. So the colonial elites decided to grow up and make their own nation based on some half-hearted reading of Enlightenment philosophy and created the United States of America. For some people, this new nation was great, particularly the people in charge of making it and those in similar economic circumstances. For others, the nation was practically the same as before but when some farmers decided to rebel over taxes they were all quickly killed by an army led by General George Washington.

In 2017, it has almost been 250 years since the United States of America was founded and things have actually gotten much better for its citizens. Every citizen over the age of 18 has the legal right to participate in public elections, there is no legal basis for discrimination based on sex, race, or religion, a social safety net exists to aid the less fortunate of society, people are free to express their feelings on anything without legal repercussion, laborers are protected from abuse by government regulations, ensuring children are educated is a top societal priority, etc. These enormous steps taken in under the course of two and a half centuries are easy to take for granted, they are easy to lose sight of and thus undervalue. But these and many more advancements in America, and in many cases across the globe, are vital to our current world. For me, progress in the face of adversity has always been what the United States of America was all about. It is not a perfect nation and many of the advancements have glaring caveats that must to attended to. Unfortunately, societal change of a national scale takes a good deal of time and it seems like forces are always working to bring it down. However, the United States has shown a history of progress and so for centuries past and centuries yet to come there have been and will always be people there to advance the nation and the globe towards progress.

Happy 4th of July to everyone!

via Daily Prompt: Sail

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