Over the past decade, America behaved in front of the world in a deeply disturbing ethical way. For those of us who travel around the world, there is no doubt that, while admired for many other reasons, the United States of America is increasingly losing the moral ground that it not only was proud of, but is trying to preach to the rest of the world.
The list has become so impressive that the president and Congress should reflect on their ability to regain the high ground and make it illegal in this country to break basic moral rules. In an interesting twist, the various religious groups have diverted their attention from morality to sex. They no longer preach moral values, which many of them have actually breached from pedophilia to fraudulent businesses. They prefer to focus on abortion and gay marriage.
The Newton shooting is the last of a long list of gun abuses that the president refuses to address. The National Rifle Association's refusal to ban assault weapons makes them accomplices of criminal behaviors and makes its members increasingly looking like religious sect. It is above the laws rather than acting as a civic organization. Mike Bloomberg's initiative "Mayors against illegal guns" has rightly denounced the lack of leadership of President Obama on this issue. "That must end today" he stated.
Iraq War torture has definitely convinced the world that the United States no longer abides by its signature of international agreements when it comes to acts of war. The Bush administration refusal to apply the Geneva Convention and Dick Cheney's endorsement of water boarding put the United States on the wrong side of the rules of war.
The betrayal of Wall Street and the complacency of legislators and regulators has made it clear that the US financial system does not abide to the rule of law. Even this year, insider trading cases, the MF Global bankruptcy, the JP Morgan London Whale, continue to convince the world that the United States are unable to regulate their financial services industry.
The presidential elections demonstrated that it was possible for senior elected political leaders to develop tactics to limit the right of citizens to vote, thereby weakening the respect for the U.S. democracy.
The Supreme Court complacency characterized by the Citizens United decision to allow unlimited amounts of money to corrupt the US democratic system showed how money can buy an election.
The rejection of Obamacare is another sign that elected officials no longer care about their duty to offer nationwide healthcare. The rest of the developed world, having for a long time granted such universal coverage, cannot understand that the richest country in the world does not.
America must wake up. Its military leadership will not buy the respect that a world leader needs to exercise moral influence around the world, and ensure that the United States of America can actually play the role that the world is expecting from it. On several fronts, we betrayed our own ethical standards. We are losing credibility when we assume that we are entitled to teach lessons to the rest of the world. This will inevitable weaken the ability of the country to keep its leading position.
It would be hugely disappointing if Barack Obama would continue to ignore the damage a complacency on this front could do to the country, and to his presidency.