Has America Lost Its Moral Standing?


By Victor Ochieng

Most people traditionally view the U.S. as a country that was built on strong moral principles, a country which always strives to feed its poor population, provide education to the needy, and formulate laws that help protect the weak in the society.

However, revelations by John Kiriakou Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden, who were lambasted for disclosing underground spying, torture, and bombings, demonstrate a very different portrait of the country’s principles versus its reality.

Has America lost its moral standing?

These are just a few of the things that point out to a skewed mindset that has lead to the degeneration of the country’s moral fabric. Below are a few more.

Bills that compromise morality – Where a country’s leadership is focused on passing laws that justify what’s considered criminal, things aren’t good. With wealthy conservatives pushing for a bill that would forgive environmental pollution, financial fraud, and a host of other crimes, it’s clear that things are definitely going the wrong way. The Heritage Foundation has justified the move, saying  “someone who simply has an accident by being slightly careless can hardly be said to have acted with a ‘guilty mind.'” This is happening in a country where a woman who helped herself to coins picked from a fountain was charged. The same country where a hungry man who broke into a church kitchen to get himself some food was also charged. But even if that bill doesn’t sail through, it’s clear that America isn’t anywhere close to charging the wealthy. Which CEOs have been charged with fraud? Were there any Wall Street executives charged with the rampant fraud that characterized the 2008 financial crisis?

Tax arrears of 500 Companies enough to create jobs for all unemployed Americans – Many American companies always remind us of their commitment to corporate social responsibility. The best way to demonstrate this is by doing what’s right. But that isn’t what Fortune 500 companies are doing. According to Citizen for Tax Justice report, these companies have more than $2 trillion in profits stashed in offshore accounts to evade taxes amounting to around $600 billion. What that means is that these companies are literally holding 8 million potential jobs for the American population.

Close to two-thirds of American families were unable to afford even a single pill of a life-saving drug – A survey undertaken by AARP revealed that up to 62% of Americans weren’t in a position to afford $500 for repairs. What it means is that this lot can’t afford a hepatitis pill from Gilead Sciences, neither can they afford an anti-infection pill by Martin Shkreli’s. Most of the specialty drugs cost well over $50,000 in a year’s subscription, a figure that’s thrice the average Social Security benefit.

Drop in violent crime yet prison population surges – There has been a significant drop in cases of violent crime since 1991, according to FBI statistics. Instead of the decline resulting in a drop in prison population, it has since doubled. White collar prosecutions have also reduced and it’s clear that our corporate leaders are focused on establishing 100% tolerance on their financial crimes.

Mental health facilities drop yet a quarter of Americans suffer from mental illness cases – National Alliance on Mental Illness reveals that a quarter of American adults suffer mental illness every year, with the homeless worse stricken. Ironically, the number of mental health facilities has declined per capita from 200 per 100,000 in 1970 to 20 per 100,000 in 2002. The result is that most of those suffering from mental illness end up in prisons.