The Relation Between the Police in America and the Middle East

The date is December 17th, 2010 and the setting is Tunisia. Mohamed Bouazizi, a humble 26 year old vegetable seller is carrying on with his daily business. One of the municipal officials and her aides decide to confiscate his belongings as well as humiliate him publicly. It is important to note that this single event was not the catalyst, but it was the culmination of many abuses of Ben Ali’s regime. Bouazizi’s retaliation was amongst the most symbolic acts of protests in the 20th century, to light himself on fire, an act that would claim his life. Such an act is reminiscent of Tibetan Monks protesting the Chinese government or even the great Carthaginian Commander Hannibal who poisoned himself as a last act of defiance against the Romans. Unbeknownst to Bouazizi, this act would trigger waves of protest across the surrounding nations, the likes of which would topple regimes, including his own.

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Fast forward to August 9th, 2014. This time, the location of the event is across the world in the American town of Ferguson, Missouri. Michael Brown, a young black man, is walking in the middle of the road and is confronted by officer Darren Wilson. An unarmed Brown is shot and killed, his body left on the ground for hours before it is removed. This event was not the first of its kind and certainly not the last. Years earlier, unarmed black teen Trayvon Martin is shot and killed by George Zimmerman in Florida. More recently, an older black man and Coast Guard veteran was shot in the back several times and killed while trying to flee from a police officer. The victim’s name was Walter Scott and the perpetrator was Michael Slager, an officer from North Charleston, South Carolina.

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In examining the cases of Bouazizi and Michael Brown, along with many similar cases from both regions, it becomes evident that the two events share a common factor. This is that those charged with protecting their respective constituents have engaged in unfair and illegal abuses against those very individuals. Why compare two parts of the world that have been at odds for much of recent history? This comparison reveals that even in two areas that consider themselves radically different from one another, similar problems would reveal otherwise. The fact of the matter is that there may be truth in the fact that the international community is more linked than may be immediately visible. The common denominator here is police brutality and abuse of power, which is unchecked by governments. This is an issue that must be confronted internationally whether it be in America, Tunisia, or other areas such as Hong Kong or Russia. The belief that this issue is specific to one location is a very dangerous misconception and when it begins to be viewed as a global problem, it can be unilaterally targeted and solved. Until this is done, it is likely that the international community will continue to live in fear of the very people that are tasked with protecting them.

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The American Government and Corporations: A Love Story

The United States government fights harder for its corporations than for its citizens. This is a statement that should be refuted by the  American citizenry, who have faith in their elected officials. Unfortunately, an assertion such as this will find very little opposition given the current state of politics. Shockingly, a study has found that 79% of Americans believe their government is corrupt. This demonstrates an established belief system that reflects negatively on the nation and its leadership.

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It cannot be said how it got to the point that it is now. When politicians leave their positions in order to pursue business ambitions and vice-versa. What can be examined, however, is that the current state of politics is a mess because of the goal has not been to change the country for the better, but to shape perceptions. Upon receiving office, re-election is amongst the first things that crosses an incumbent’s mind. As a result, campaign donors are always in the back of their mind. Logically, it can be concluded that this is the vicious cycle that reinforces the powerful connection between the public and private sector.

This is not only an issue of perception, as it is increasingly making headlines and undermining the credibility of the nation’s leadership. Specifically, there exists an image of the GOP cozying up to big business and Wall Street. More often than not, these public views are misleading, but in this case they are not far from the truth. There is no better indication of this than the battle that is being held between the Obama Administration and Congress. Given the revelation that corporations are moving their headquarters abroad in order to avoid paying larger taxes, the administration rolled out a plan to make them pay for those taxes that were being dodged. Republican politicians, however, have already vowed to stop this from passing through congress. These organizations are not held accountable for not honoring the taxation system when the average individual faces serious consequences when they make a mistake. This reality is extremely troubling and is not something that would be expected from a representative democracy, especially not the United States.

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This problem is not simply a GOP issue, its an problem that extends to the entirety of the government.The current issue surrounding corruption regards Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey. The government is close to charging him with corruption charges for actions that have been carried out for several years. He is a Democrat. Corruption is not partisan, it has no preferences. Last year, Republican Eric Cantor was voted out of office and immediately found a new home on Wall Street. What does this suggest? It sheds light on the fact that big business and politics may be more interwoven than is immediately evident. If this is not frightening to the American public, what the future holds might be.

Their is one absolute certainty in regards to American politics in the future, besides the fact that the government will more than likely remain a mess. That is Hillary Clinton’s bid for presidency. What many fail to understand is that the democratic politician is more in bed with corporations than most other individuals in Washington. Having served on the board of directors of Wal-Mart and considering they have been nothing less than generous to the Clinton Foundation, there is no doubt that she will not be leading the charge to condemn corporations. Due to these facts, some are claiming Clinton may be a favorite for Republicans, also. Moving forward the American citizens must ask themselves, do they want someone to fight for their rights or the rights of corporations?