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Equality: can it exist in an imperialistic society?

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I know my country has not perfected itself. At times, we've struggled to keep the promise of liberty and equality for all of our people. We've made our share of mistakes, and there are times when our actions around the world have not lived up to our best intentions. Barack Obama

Can equality truly exist in a society of imperialism? Merriam Webster defines Imperialism very clearly. It is “the policy, practice, or advocacy of extending the power and dominion of a nation especially by direct territorial acquisitions or by gaining indirect control over the political or economic life of other areas; broadly: the extension or imposition of power, authority, or influence”

Doubtlessly there is nothing in Merriam Webster’s definition that even vaguely suggests equality. Imperialism extends beyond countries and touches the lives of everyday citizens. There is the practice of creating ‘otherisms’. That is to say, certain people are different, they are others than ‘us’, and they do not belong. We then ask, ‘who’s the ‘us’? The ‘us’ is European America. “Exhibiting Overall, as the largest group, European Americans have the lowest poverty rate and the second highest educational attainment levels, median household income, and median personal income of any racial demographic in the United States, the latter three placing them behind Asian Americans.”

America utilizes stratification to divide Americans in to groups. President Obama touches the matter whenever he says “You can make it, no matter what your name is, no matter what your race it, no matter where you come from and no matter who you love” That is not necessarily something that would be easy to do. Jessica Collett, Ph.D. eloquently speaks to what stratification actually means.

“Stratification is "the ranking of entire groups of people that perpetuates unequal rewards and life chances" (Newman 329). Examples include slavery, a caste system, or an estate system. Within America, we are most familiar with social classes (such as upper-, middle-, and lower-class), and believe in social mobility between these. Class standing affects many aspects of our lives, including access to higher education, occupations, health and availability of health care, relationship quality, parenting styles, childhood experiences, and psychological outcomes.” Jessica Collett, Ph.D., is a Professor of Sociology at University of Notre Dame.

Creating an environment that forces people into groups based upon who they have been defined (Not who they really are) is really not so difficult at all. It was done years ago by Jane Elliot. Elliot’s third grade class was horrified at the assignation of Dr. Martin Luther King, whom they had made their hero of the month. To explain what discrimination is, Elliott segregated her students by eye color, those with blue eyes and those with brown. The blue-eyed children were told they were superior, and they were given special privileges. See the video documentary from PBS’s Frontline. This educational exercise remains as relevant today as it was in 1968. The exercise begs to know who we are as a country overall.

If a person is demeaned enough it will force them to change their behavior. Smear campaigns, scandals, and all forms of degradation are used to manipulate the minds of the public. In Elliot’s exercise it can be seen how the brown eyed people react to how they are being treated. There is a lot of suppressed anger there. If someone else is deemed lower in rank it is likely that the brown eyed people would also demean that group. Why? There is the need to see someone lesser because it give a feeling of power.

In President Obama’s 2008 run for president, he literally lifted that feeling of being less than, or other from people by simply saying “Yes we can!” Ray B. Williams article ‘Wired for Success: How to fulfill your potential’ agrees. Ray Williams is a writer for Psychology Today.

Is there any good news in all this? According to positive psychologists we can change our habits, and we can focus on the glass being half-full. When we acquire new habits, our brains acquire "mirror neurons" and develop a positive perspective that can spread to other people like a virus. This is not about being a Pollyanna or "goody-two-shoes," it is about being able to reprogram our brains. To apply this positive psychology and brain research knowledge to our attitudes and behaviors with relation to our current economic conditions, we can encourage our news deliverers to present a balanced and multi-dimensional point of view. Giving us the bad news, so that our brains are hard-wired into a negative state, will just reinforce the current negative economic climate.”

So we now ask, how and what is the true policy of America? America cannot really be called a democracy. By definition, democracy is;

a: government by the people; especially: rule of the majority
b : a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections (Merriam Webster)

The government cannot be ruled by persons ‘other’ than those which are American. Here, things get a little tricky. One simply has to deem another citizen as someone who is not American, or other if you will, and thus take their rights as an American citizen away. The most well-known example of this is the ‘birther movement’. The birther movement is by a group of conspirators promoting the story that President Barack Obama was not born in America. If he can be clearly classified as other, his presidency can be nullified. He can be treated with the disrespect that comes with stratification and inequality. The birther conversation was proven to be false. CNN televised a two part series on more than one occasion, yet person’s continued to push the conspiracy.

Recognizing one’s place is preached in many Christian Fundamentalist churches and supported by biblical scripture. It is no doubt difficult to argue with scripture, “Fundamentalism is a movement in American Protestantism that arose in the early part of the 20th century in reaction to modernism and that stresses the infallibility of the Bible not only in matters of faith and morals but also as a literal historical record, holding as essential to Christian faith belief in such doctrines as the creation of the world, the virgin birth, physical resurrection, atonement by the sacrificial death of Christ, and the Second Coming.” (dictionary.com)

Stratification invades religion just as it does other parts of society. It is about rank. there are ranks in the church for men and for women. Women do not have the rank that men have based upon this scripture, 1 Corinthians 11:3 (KJV) "But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God."

Fundamentalism is often referred to as an Americanism, meaning that it is “a custom, trait, or thing peculiar to the United States of America or its citizens“ It is a major part of American life. Certainly, doctrine does not stop at the end of the service, because the church teaches its congregants how to live.

Is America a meritocracy? That is questionable. A meritocracy is a system that rewards people based upon their accomplishments. However, who can judge a person’s merits? “Left to their own standards, people in authority will rarely cast the widest net to bring in the most diverse pool of applicants, then make a choice based on objective standards. They will pick people they feel most comfortable with - primarily, people who most resemble themselves.”

One thing that must be considered is the result of one who is successful, has gained merit, but may have done so with Affirmative Action. Those who do make it up the ladder are crucified by smears and slander to downgrade their accomplishments. Sonia Sotomayor was deemed as an “Affirmative Action Baby” who did not deserve a place on the Supreme Court. This argument was made by Pat Buchanan who had been raised to a high level in life, with only a high school diploma. A major problem with the move to shame the followers of, and degrade President Obama is that President Obama never received Affirmative Action. The claim of racism against whites has been put forth against him, but most think it is illogical because he is as white as he is black. Recently California ended Affirmative Action, and wants to choose people based upon their economic status.

Is America a plutocracy? That is highly possible. Plutocracy is rule by the wealthy.
1. The rule or control of society by the wealthy,
2. A state or government characterized by the rule of the wealthy
3. A class that exercises power by virtue of its wealth

The Koch brothers actually provide funding for the government, logically that means they have a lot to do with the laws that are made. “The political activities of the Koch brothers include the financial and political influence of Charles G. and David H. Koch on United States (US) politics. This influence is seen both directly and indirectly via various advocacy and lobbying organizations in which they have an interest.”

Another recent example is the threatening of Pope Francis by billionaire Ken Langone, the founder of Home depot. The pope was warned that donations would cease if he continued to speak more positively about the poor than the rich.

Pope Francis called for renewal of the Roman Catholic Church and attacked unfettered capitalism as "a new tyranny," urging global leaders to fight poverty and growing inequality in the first major work he has authored alone as pontiff.

‘The 84-page document, known as an apostolic exhortation, amounted to an official platform for his papacy, building on views he has aired in sermons and remarks since he became the first non-European pontiff in 1,300 years in March.
In it, Francis went further than previous comments criticizing the global economic system, attacking the "idolatry of money" and beseeching politicians to guarantee all citizens "dignified work, education and health care."”

Pope Francis may well have known something that is rarely revealed.Equality cannot exist in American society, because of how poverty fits into society "The Social "Benefits" of Poverty is a structural functionalist account explaining the functions of poverty in society. Poverty creates a large workforce ready to do the dirty work within society, including volunteering for military service. Poverty also creates jobs for those who need to serve those in poverty, including police officers, welfare workers, social workers, and lawyer. Poverty creates the need for previously purchased goods that might otherwise be thrown away (Newman 317). Other scholars argue that America has a belief in Competitive Individualism, while others suggest that those in poverty live in a Culture of Poverty that keeps the poor in their social position. Welfare reform is meant to address the ideas behind the Culture of Poverty.“

Equality does not exist in American society, nor indeed can it at this time. We are getting there, but it is taking a lot of fighting to do so. What is the result? Social Media has given people the opportunity to seek spirituality that which is healing to them. It has also allowed a place of equality. Undoubtedly, people must physically live in the society that surrounds them. However, as we look at what holds this society together we see it is a matter of buying in to it. Online communication opens people’s minds and gives light to other options. It is now not a collection of laws needed for a country to stand, it is a collection of attitudes, opinions and belief’s that allow a person to stand.

The most impressive Global Civil Society exists on Facebook, and is Michael’s Circle of Love (MCOL). In looking at the circumstances that endure in traditional American society, clearly it is an option worth considering. It will certainly shocking to some that people have also begun to connect to God in more personal ways. “Since darkness attracts darkness and light attracts light, in the group we try to express ourselves with kindness and love - in order to attract, generate and pay forward kindness and love and to honor Michael's own way of expressing himself.” Michael’s Circle of Love

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