We have a lot of problems to solve here at home – the daily problems of handling our responsibilities as students without going insane, societal problems including, but not limited to, the economic crisis, the toxic political environment and the health problems that accompany rampant obesity and an aging population.
“We have a lot of problems to solve here at home – the daily problems of handling our responsibilities as students without going insane, societal problems including, but not limited to, the economic crisis, the toxic political environment and the health problems that accompany rampant obesity and an aging population.
With all of these issues on our plate, it’s easy to turn inward, narrowing our focus. The problems listed above are immediate; many of us experience them directly through job loss, threats real and perceived to our rights, and personal and familial health issues. But even with the seemingly overwhelming problems we face ourselves, we cannot afford to ignore what is happening outside of this country.
If you follow the international news, you will know that we are now in a time of immense change that spans the globe. Halfway around the world, countries are attempting to overturn their governments and, by extension, years of autocratic rule and oppression. Across an ocean, nuclear plants are spewing toxic chemicals into the air and water supplies while an entire nation has to confront the reality of its energy choices. In countless countries, neighborhoods and homes, people you’ve never met, whose names you’ll never know, are experiencing violence on a daily basis.
While these issues and others may seem far away when protesters aren’t massing outside your window or you haven’t been asked to evacuate your dorm room, disasters and strife are closer to us than we think. Because we live in a world of interconnected cultures and economies, we will experience the results. Besides the toll on friends and family members who know someone directly affected, the whole world will, in one way or another, bear the burden.
Our economy, for one, is going to take a hit. We’re already seeing the rising prices at the gas pump, as well as the disappearance of electronics that are manufactured in Japan. While these may not be the most noble of concerns, they are still very real and will have an impact on the cost of both necessities and luxury items.
We also have to consider that unrest elsewhere can always find it’s way here. Our failure to react to sudden tragedy or the daily struggles of another nation, or to react in a way that is counterproductive or ill-considered, especially when we are capable of helping, is unwise. It is a sure way to breed anti-American sentiments abroad.
And besides these somewhat selfish reasons to treat problems abroad with the same consideration that we treat those at home, there is also the sense that it is unjust and unethical for a nation such as ours, which despite it’s many problems has the ability to help out in a time of turmoil abroad, to ignore the plight of others.