Saturday, Jan. 4, 2014 | 2 a.m.
About 1,000 students from high schools throughout Southern Nevada participated in the 57th annual Sun Youth Forum on Nov. 13. The students were divided into groups to discuss a variety of topics. A representative was chosen from each group to write a column about the students’ findings. Vincent Ackerman of Liberty High School writes about the issues covered by his group, America.
America the beautiful. America the proud. America the 17th in education. America the 13th in quality of life. America the 10th in freedom. America the international power? There is no doubt that America is falling behind on the world stage.
America has become a nation overly focused on retaining a firm grip on the foreign world as an international “police force,” and now is losing its economic and social lead among the nations of the world. Who’s to call America a superpower when we fail to maintain our own nation’s prosperity?
America does lead internationally in some aspects, though. America is first in military defense spending, first in external debt, and second in obesity.
The dismal look of America’s standing on the world stage was the talk of many young students and future world leaders Nov. 13, as about 1,000 high school students attended the 57th Las Vegas Sun Youth Forum. Among the myriad topics was America, and within a group of brilliant minds and diverse backgrounds came something quite uncommon to politics: an agreement.
The group considered the dire situation of America’s standing, and the actions not being taken to correct it, as the greatest problem for America. Is America still a superpower? Why does America still act as one?
Without a doubt, this issue holds top priority. The actions America takes with the nations of the world and its ranking among them directly affect America’s prosperity. The approach to ensuring America’s thriving edge has been the topic of political gridlock since Day One. If a nation so well known for being the greatest continually declines, yet still acts as the superior, it is doomed to fail. This is vastly visible in America’s growing debt and lack of fiscal gains.
With the entitlement of being a superpower nation comes the role of a world monitor, or as some would deem it, an “international policing force.” Yet, at the Sun Youth Forum, the agreement had arisen that America can no longer act in such a manner. American leaders have brought about political turmoil and crisis to foreign nations, including Iraq, Chile, Vietnam and Korea.
Coinciding with other nations’ political turmoil is American debt. All militaristic action requires funding — $683.7 billion was spent on national defense alone in 2010. That’s more than half a trillion dollars a year going toward funding wars and regimes Americans don’t support and toward a $16 trillion (and exponentially growing) debt that no one could desire.
The issue of America’s reckless spending and declining world stature is one of great importance, and needs a response. We the youth and future of this nation came with a concise opinion on resolution. The American government needs to focus inward. Government expenditures need to be cut immediately and vastly. Military and foreign expenses need to be put aside for plans to rebuild America as a whole. America must become economically, educationally and politically sound again before it returns to being a world power.
As a nation, let’s get America back on its feet. Let’s balance America’s checkbook, and read America’s textbook, and create a smarter, more prosperous nation we as Americans desire.
America isn’t a world power anymore, but it can be again, and I know that’s something we all desire.