What does it take to be considered brave? Does it have to involve running into a burning building in order to save a basket full of kitties? Is it the act of joining the military in order to defend your community? Though both of those acts are extraordinarily brave, we all don’t have to be a soldier or a cat saving master to be considered brave.
We live in a time when it seems that American bravery is all but dead. From our high ranking political leaders to our run of the mill average joe citizens all you see is cowardliness.
Politically our national leaders here in the 21st century are very mundane and more likely to be a shill for a high profile interest group then they are to be champions of the people. The two examples that come to mind is the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and NSA controversy occurring right now..
When it comes to Palestine and Israel our national leaders are all vehemently pro-Israel. That is not the problem though. As Zack Beauchamp explains in his article on vox.com: Why the US has the most pro-Israel foreign policy in the world, American politicians support Israel for a various number of reasons. On rare occasions American politicians actually stand against Israel. The problem lies not in the support for Israel, but in the support for Israel when Israel is obviously doing something wrong. The recent events which are going on in Gaza, under the name of “Operation Protective Edge” are some of the most blatant acts of war crimes in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict to date. Over 1,000 human beings have been killed on the Palestinian side and around 50 humans have been killed on the Israeli side. Israel has targeted areas around schools and even hit schools themselves during this conflict under the bogus excuse of weapons being near the school. Yet these actions are actively endorsed by the American government with little protest. For example the Senate voted Unanimously to support Israel in its recent campaign and America is the only UN nation to vote no to an Israeli war crime investigation. So where is the bravery? Will no one stand up in congress and declare Israel equally responsible in the bloodshed, will anyone even stand up and question Americas role in the killing of people who have done us no wrong? Sadly it does not seem like any American politician is brave enough to risk their political career for the right thing. When you have millions of dollars being spent by pro-Israeli lobbies on organizing votes and campaigns against anyone who dares to stand up to Israel, it is no wonder that American politicians are meek and weak against Israel.
Foreign policy will always be messy, and sometimes it is hard to be brave when thousands of people are being killed (sarcasm), but what isn’t hard is domestic policy or at least it shouldn’t be. The United States has recently been exposed to be no better than the former Soviets and their massive internal spying system. The NSA has been in the news a lot more thanks to Snowden and it really exposes our government to be the biggest group of cowards there has ever existed. Now before I continue with my rant I will say this, having an external intelligence gathering agency that is actively working to acquire the upper hand on our foreign competitors is acceptable. The problem occurs when you turn that system inward. What that portrays to me is that you now fear your citizenry, the same people whose support our government needs in order to maintain the republic, the same citizens who benefit from living in a secure free America are now the targets of our spy agencies. A brave politician would dismantle the domestic spying components because they would trust the people the same way the people trust them.
They say that government is like a pendulum, eventually it will swing in the other direction and create a whole new era. Well at the moment the pendulum is swinging in a direction that is filled with cowards rather than actual leaders who are willing to do unpopular things for the good of the community.