I was having this conversation with a friend a few weeks ago. We were both discussing the "state of the union," if you will, and both agreed we were rather terrified of what the United States was becoming.
As The War in Iraq pointlessly takes the lives of thousands of American soldiers and tens of thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians, it becomes increasingly clear that my children will undoubtedly endure the consequences of this administration's actions.
Additionally, we live in a society dominated by religious extremism. Our laws, both legal and social, are designed by those least equipped to make them. As a result, it's 2006, and homosexuals still cannot enjoy true equality in our society, because the majority of our society are not intellectually advanced enough to adopt a world view that doesn't invoke the highly destructive and immoral dualism of The Bible.
In what sense our religious extremism drives our foreign policy, I am not sure. It is clear, however, that our extensive religiosity does pave way for other domestic societal ills. As reported last year in Creighton University's Journal of Religion and Society (note: Creighton is Jesuit-Catholic institution):
The United States is almost always the most dysfunctional of the developed democracies, sometimes spectacularly so, and almost always scores poorly. The view of the U.S. as a "shining city on the hill" to the rest of the world is falsified when it comes to basic measures of societal health.
This conclusion is reached after compiling quantitative data that demonstrates "In general, higher rates of belief in and worship of a creator correlate with higher rates of homicide, juvenile and early adult mortality, STD infection rates, teen pregnancy, and abortion in the prosperous democracies." You can read the whole study here.
Needless to say, the future does not look good. The debate my friend and I had involved whether it was appropriate to flee to Canada or some other nation overseas that better upheld the values of secular democracy.
I argued that, while inclined, I thought it would be wrong. America still has lots of good things to offer the world. Leaving would mean giving up on the idea of America, and if other people like me left, in the face of a clear opposition, the country would only spiral out of control more quickly.
But now, as I read today about the passing of Bush's Detainee Rights Bill, the question is now worth some reconsideration.
What do you think? Is it appropriate to leave when things get bad? Where would you go, and why would you choose that place?
Or is it irresponsible to enjoy American freedom's and flee at the first sign of danger?