How many of you have been caught innocently watching TV when you’re sent into a 30-second (or longer) guilt trip as you sit in the warmth of your home when the screen flashes to those big, doe-eyed pictures of third-world children? Starving. Barely (if at all) clothed. Or worse–big, doe-eyed ANIMALS. They prey on your emotions until you can’t help but pick up the phone and call and save…something.
In no way am I trying to say that these causes are not worth your time or attention or money. But, I’m sitting there watching these commercials and I suddenly wonder: why are there no commercials for the thousands of American children waiting to be adopted, rescued from a foster home or simply fed? Why don’t they get our attention and money too? Think about it. When is the last time you ever saw an advertisement for domestic adoption? I don’t think I’ve ever seen one. Why is it okay to run ad after ad after ad for animals and foreign children, while not giving just one spot to our own children in need?
American Exceptionalism is still alive and well. We are still convinced that we are the Divine’s safe haven and chosen land, the pattern for the rest of the world to follow and simply–exceptional. We are a light upon the hill. Fear of darkening this light or the safety we find within our superiority prevents us from pointing out our own country’s needs when it comes to domestic adoptions. It’s too ugly, too raw and too painful. It reminds us that we’re not all hard-working, middle-class “‘muricans” who value family, diligence and democracy. Because one of us, an American, abandoned these poor children and along the way, most likely, did some pretty hard damage to their psyche and physical health.
If we truly are devoted to the concept of American Exceptionalism and continuing that, we should realize that part of that exceptionalism is an ability to identify your own faults and FIX them. American exceptionalism is rooted in an understanding that we are to be an example to the rest of the world based on living our lives out according to God’s guiding principles. In that case, it is our responsibility to help ourselves. And in helping ourselves, we would be a positive example to other nations. We would continue to be a model.
I hope that this blog makes you think a little more about the importance of doing your part to help those in need in our own backyard. Yes, helping international babies and animals is important too. But what type of country are we if we ignore our own issues and only seek to help other countries with theres?
“…for we must Consider that we shall be as a City upon a Hill, the eyes of all people are upon us;” -John Winthrop