The world is a scary place. And for a very long time, America has beamed through the haze of fear, war, and terror as a beacon of self-confidence, strength, sovereignty, and solace. However, if we take a step back and observe today’s world, the shifting tides of power and the threats that face America as well as Western civilization, we realize that we, in the land of the free and the home of the brave, actually have something to worry about both internally and externally. It seems that more and more Americans are beginning to realize this sense fear and insecurity. The source of this fear and insecurity stems from Machiavellian ideas.
In Niccolò Machiavelli’s book, The Prince, in reference to his ideas about what qualities a good leader should possess, he states, “Therefore it is unnecessary for a prince to have all the good qualities I have enumerated, but it is very necessary to appear to have them.” After reading The Prince, and coming across this passage, I began to question my safety within America, and pretty much everything that America stands for as a country and as a mighty beam of hope for the free world. Is America as strong, independent, and safe as we think, or does America only appear to posses these qualities that we, as Americans, rely on and trust blindly?
We have all either seen or heard about the beheading videos that ISIS, an Islamic extremist military group, has released on the Internet. They are all petrifying. What takes a moment to realize, however, is that the people ISIS is beheading and has beheaded are Westerners. But what takes an even longer amount of time to come to terms with is that the first beheading video released by ISIS in late August, was of an AMERICAN, James Foley. James Foley was a freelance journalist, born and raised in good ‘ole Evanston, Illinois, who’s life came to a tragic end facing a knife and a camera in the middle of the Syrian Desert. To me, this isn’t very reassuring that we, as Americans, are entirely safe.
Now, one could argue that his work as a freelance journalist and conscious decision to accept work in a very dangerous and volatile part of the world put his life in an exponentially greater amount of danger than yours and mine. However, when Fox 5 San Diego releases an article with a headline that exclaims, “Homeland Security warns of possible Isis attack on U.S. border,” the similarity between the danger in our lives on U.S soil and that in the life of James Foley seems to grow stronger.
So, does America walk the walk of strength, security, and courage, or does she just talk the talk. Is America being ‘Machiavellian’ in that she only seems to posses these ideals and qualities? A poll released by the Wall Street Journal and NBC seems to think that it is a strong possibility. The poll shows that 47% of Americans feel less safe now than before the 9/11 attacks. This is up from 28% just a year ago.
If America is emulating Machiavelli’s ideas found in The Prince, I’ll have to admit that I am deeply scared. I don’t want my country, especially the land of the free and the home of the brave, to fall short in possession of such qualities. I don’t think I speak for just myself when I say that I don’t just want to feel safe. I want to BE safe. I do not just want to feel strong. I want to BE strong. I want America’s boarders to be secure so that I can continue living my life as a free citizen of Western society. Show me that the words of Francis Scott Key are true. I want to be shown that “the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave, O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.”