Editorial: Solving our nation’s identity crisis

Casey Orledge/THE REVIEW
The far right is setting political fires around the globe faster than they can be put out.

Our country has been wracked with bitter partisan and ideological divides for the better part of 11 months. We have been wrestling with a myriad of issues that continue to plague our nation. Countless groups, large and small, have engaged in the war for our nation’s identity, all trying to answer a single question: What does it mean to be an American?

We are not, however, the only country still trying to define our identity.

More than 750 people were attacked and injured by police in Catalonia as the region overwhelmingly voted for independence from Spain on Sunday. In Germany, far-right politicians accused of being fascists and neo-Nazis have risen to power in the Bundestag federal legislature for the first time in 70 years. France and Austria have narrowly rejected far-right presidential candidates in the past year. The United Kingdom though, was less lucky, voting in support of Brexit, which was backed by the reactionary United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP).

In South America, Venezuela is consumed in chaos as the socialist President Nicolàs Maduro still clashes with the very same people he is sworn to govern, resulting in an unprecedented destabilization of the country. The Korean Peninsula is on the verge of war, Myanmar massacres its own residents based on nothing more than religion and the Middle East remains steeped in centuries old disputes.

The world is in turmoil and reactionary forces rack Europe even as America grapples with its own identity crisis in the aftermath of President Donald J. Trump’s election. But what not many realize is that in order to come to terms with our crises, we must also strive to understand the rest of the world around us.

Las Vegas was the site of tragedy yesterday morning, waking up to find 58 people had been killed and well over 500 injured by a lone gunman firing automatic rifles from his hotel room. Five years ago this month, Sandy Hook elementary school was disrupted by a lone gunman who killed six adults and 20 children. In the years since, our nation has seen thousands fall to lone gunmen. Yet we have done nothing to stem this tide of bloodshed and the despair that follows.

Nobody has all the answers. But if we want to avoid further tragedy, we can look for the answers abroad in countries that solved this problem decades ago.

There are countless ways on the university campus alone that we can seek to broaden our horizons and start to think outside the box on how to solve the problems confronting us. The Center for Political Communication hosts weekly talks with notable and knowledgeable figures in Mitchell Hall. The Global Populism series, hosted by the Center for Global and Area Studies (CGAS), which began yesterday, similarly invites distinguished guests to campus that we can all learn from.

Although we may be reluctant to do so, and although we may not like the outcome, we all must face the reality that our society is increasingly becoming a globalized society. Less and less do nationalities matter in our world. We are all global citizens. The issues that we face transcend nationality, ethnicity, race and gender. The same identity crisis that Trump’s election has thrust upon us is the very same crisis that is staring the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Denmark, Austria and Spain down the throats.

We cannot ignore the outside world as we seek to mend our own society. We must seek to understand the rest of the world, then use that knowledge to better America at home.

Editorials are developed by The Review staff, led this week by Investigative Editor Jacob Orledge who can be reached at orledgej@udel.edu.

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