America: Leader of None

For hundreds of years, the United States has stood as a beacon of hope, innovation and liberty around the globe. The country was the land of the free and a place where dreams came true, yet the past four years have blatantly demonstrated decline in the U.S. Belligerent discrimination, bigotry and toxic polarization plague this nation much like COVID-19, and the world is watching as our once-powerful nation becomes nothing more than a bad example.

While the U.S. may not be a global leader anymore, it has the world lead for COVID-19 cases, with Georgia now the number four state in the nation for reported cases. Due to the spike of cases in the state, many Georgia mayors such as Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, enforced a mask mandate for their cities. Governor Kemp, an avid Trump supporter, later sued the Atlanta Mayor over the mask mandate claiming he had the utmost authority to lead the state during the pandemic. While the lawsuit has since been dropped, the shocking revelation remains. If our leaders can’t come together to tackle a global pandemic, how can they lead the world towards the future?

2020 has been a rough year for the world, but it has decimated the U.S. Though the virus was spotted in the U.S. in January 2020, it wasn’t until mid-March that the Trump administration declared a national emergency. Even now, President Trump continues to deny how out of hand the situation has become, claiming the reason we have more cases is because of increased testing. The United States has over 5 million reported cases and hundreds of thousands dead, and that number continues to increase as the Trump administration pushes for schools and the economy to reopen.

Due to the government’s inadequacy handling COVID-19, heavy travel restrictions have been placed on the United States. The U.S. passport, which was once highly valued and granted free passage nearly anywhere in the world, has diminished to nothing as Americans are turned away from other countries. The situation in the United States has gotten so severe that a record-breaking number of Americans have renounced their citizenship. Though the majority of Americans giving up their citizenship are living abroad, the reasoning is the toxic political environment and mishandling of the virus. People are fed up with the government and what the country has become, and at this point, there is no benefit to being an American citizen.

The United States’ downfall has been a buildup of aggressions and government incompetence. Economic inequality and wealth disparity continue to increase every year, and yet the ultra-rich get away with not paying taxes. In 2013, the Black Lives Matter movement began after years of blatant police violence against African-Americans. No one in the government was addressing the systematic racism or did anything to help bring justice for Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Breonna Taylor and many others.

Throughout 2019, countries around the world issued travel warnings for the United States due to the immense amount of gun violence and mass shootings. The Trump administration promotes a country of xenophobia as seen through the President calling the virus the “Kung flu” and the disregard of the Black Lives Matter movement in 2020. COVID-19 and the government’s gross mishandling of the situation was simply the final nail in the coffin.

America has gone from being revered to becoming the laughing stock of the world. We are no longer the land of the free and brave, but rather an apathetic and chaotic country. As other countries like New Zealand and South Korea progress past the pandemic, the United States will continue to suffer for years. As global leaders come together to combat climate change, the United States will remain a top polluter. As the world moves towards a future of community and equality, America will thrive on discrimination and bigotry.

Until the United States can acknowledge its evils and implement massive change, there is little hope for redemption. Effectively, the U.S. did end up building a wall. Only it’s around itself, and no one can get out.

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