Sudhama Ranganathan | 06.14.2011
We are a nation that likes to point to other nations in order to make ourselves feel better. We don't do it as much as we used to, but from time to time we still point to this or that nation in the news etc. and say, “see these guys, we are better than them.” In the eighties, when I was growing up, we did this on a daily basis and in an almost mocking fashion. The idea was the rest of the world was just plain wrong and in order to be right they needed to be more like us.
In many of those countries we pointed to their systems of oppression to prove how much better life was here. It allayed our fears here helping us to believe we were secure in our spending on defense and wrapped in a pillowy impenetrable layer of protection through a shared ethos. Our freedom was indeed much better than that of those countries we pointed to.
No matter how much people extolled the benefits and utopian ideals of Soviet style communism there was no longer a way for those people to hide the obvious failure. In the Soviet Union there were the pictures on TV of the bread lines that people had to wait in and the shoe lines and the lines for other goods and services. There were the defectors and their stories.