Zachary Antoyan is a political science junior and Mustang Daily liberal columnist.
I’m not the only one who thinks Robert E. Kennedy Library would be a kick-ass place to hole up during the (obviously impending) zombie apocalypse, right?
I mean, maybe you wouldn’t be able to stay there for very long, but at least it’s defensible. We could use the bookcases as barricades for the windows on the first floor, and there are only a few ways to get up each level (unless the zombies figure out how to use the elevator, but if they can figure that out we’re screwed anyway).
Just as long as everyone is cool with subsisting on Julian’s for … however long.
Anyway, we are not strangers to depicting our own demise and it seems everybody has got their own strategy. They know where they will go to get food, where to get guns and where to hold up. So this got me wondering, why are we so fascinated with our own doom? Calendars from thousands of years ago, Hollywood blockbusters, video games and zombie survival guides have now burst onto the scene and have everyone wondering what our dystopian future will look like.
It’s always the apocalypse though, and somehow, more than half of humanity gets killed in some freak accident in every single way it plays out. These doomsday scenarios scratch at the back of our minds, but what I think we are forgetting is that these things can happen on a much smaller scale. But they could yet have an even greater consequence.
Instead of thinking of humanity on the whole as approaching our crumbling end, let’s narrow the scope down to a country, just ours. The United States is only 238 years old, which is chump change compared to some other sovereigns, and yet we seem to think it will last forever.
Despite all our interest in the apocalypse, no one considers the United States may one day no longer be the (self-proclaimed) greatest country in the world (which I think is a title claimed by North Korea; North Korea is best Korea!) or even a country at all. We consider the end of humanity to be more likely of an event than the fall our own.
This line of thinking is not new, and has been a part of our collective culture for the past few generations. This is American exceptionalism, and it is getting in the way of moving the country forward. American exceptionalism is the radical belief that the United States is the superior country, in more ways than one. It is the radical belief that this (self-proclaimed) superiority will last forever, and it is so pervasive that there are few media outlets that even consider the demise of our nation to be a possibility.
Now, I don’t want to get us all confused here; just because I don’t want the country to fall doesn’t mean I think it never will.
Of course I want the United States to be the best, but I would be foolish to dogmatically believe it is the best and always will be. We don’t have to blindly overstate the greatness of our democratic government or mulit-facetted culture to show that we support our country.
In fact, it is quite the opposite – to be critical of such practices is to show our devotion to it. Being critical of the actions our country takes, or actively assessing our international image, are ways of pushing ourselves to be the best. This rings true for our country as much as it does on an individual basis.
Never be complacent, push the letter and reject the dogmatic belief in the perfection of this country as compared to others.
This is Zachary Antoyan, announcing to the world that he doesn’t think the Maple-Bacon donut is all that good. Have a great week.