Emotions are high in the aftermath of the disorderly evacuation of US troops from Afghanistan this past month.
While the dawning of September may make it seem as if this is all behind us, the gut-wrenching memories and painful aftermath of such a history-making moment linger on.
America saw a similar scene in April 1975 when evacuating from Vietnam, an event that went so far as to inspire the hit musical Miss Saigon.
The musical’s famous helicopter scene showcases the pandemonium of the evacuation President Ford ordered that month.
Many Vietnamese fought desperately for a seat on that last helicopter out of the country. A shockingly similar scene has caught the world’s attention today.
The 2021 evacuation stands out in many respects. When that plane was departing on the runway, massive throngs of Afghans, most of whom were men, attempted to join the hundreds already inside the cargo hold.
Some clung to the landing gear as the plane ascended, only to plummet to their deaths moments later.
Women went so far as to hand off their babies for hope of a better life.
They were fleeing the Taliban, a military group that has wrested control from the Afghan government and now presents itself as the primary authority in the country.
Before and since the Taliban’s takeover, they have used helicopters to hang traitors, held public executions, stoned women to death, lit people on fire and thrown homosexual men from buildings.
It is a barbaric reality that is difficult to comprehend, and Americans surely struggle with facing the facts on this matter.
In the name of strictly enforced religious values, women have virtually no rights.
They must be accompanied by a male escort to go out in public. They have no say in the man they marry. Strict dress codes are enforced.
Most young girls receive no formal education.
Americans should be asking themselves why Afghans were so desperate to leave their home country for a chance of life in America.
While it is difficult for Americans to grapple with the Taliban’s violent rule and history of discrimination, it provides a paramount perspective of people’s lives across the world.
Unfortunately, the current woke trend is to brand America as nothing more than a misogynistic, hateful, homophobic, xenophobic patriarchy.
Yet the United States stands today as the most ethnically diverse nation in the world that welcomes more immigrants than any other nation.
I don’t know a single American who is so desperate to escape their country that they would cling to the outside of a cargo plane or give away their children to foreigners.
The catastrophe in Afghanistan reminds us that a life in the USA is a life worth holding on to.
It’s a blessing that should be treasured.
While no nation is without its flaws and dark histories, modern America is a shining example of promise and progress centuries in the making.
While I will never impugn our nation’s issues, I will put them in perspective. The false equivalency that America is an oppressed nation like Afghanistan is an insult to those who live under true oppression in its most brutal form.
Being misgendered is not living under oppression, women having no right to an education is.
Microaggressions are not “acts of violence,” being lit on fire is. Using the wrong pronouns does not make you transphobic, throwing men from buildings does.
And not every opinion that opposes the current woke ideology is hate.
In America, we can have different opinions.
We can agree.
We can disagree.
We can comment and debate.
We can offend and we can inspire in the pursuit of greater knowledge and understanding.
We the people have the right to speak our mind. That’s part of what makes a free society so beautifully complex.
In an Afghanistan under Taliban rule, the sword of Damocles hangs above every man, woman, and child, and a different opinion could quite literally cost someone their head.
It’s time for Americans to realize that what we often consider oppression and violence is not always so, and there are plenty of immigrants coming from wartorn tyrannical nations who can attest to that.
When a nation is so oppressed that its citizens cling to the outside of a cargo plane in an effort to escape; when a nation is so hopeless that its mothers literally hand off their children to strangers in uniform; when a nation like the USA takes in their tired, their poor; then one realizes that the USA is not the enemy.
We are a proud beacon of hope in a world plagued by tyranny, violence, and oppression.
To quote President Reagan, “We are the last best hope of man on Earth.”
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