United States of America
United States of America

When we were growing up America was considered to be paradise and my dream and the dream of every young person esp if you were a doctor was to somehow emigrate to the USA. It was truly a land of opportunity ,freedom and fairness for all immigrants. Some of the best talent in the fields of science, medicine, innovation and sports lived or emigrated to the USA and most of the first generation Indians did extremely well for themselves and the country.

However I have noticed with a lot of sadness that there has been a slow and steady decline in the fortunes of the USA over the last couple of decades.

In my opinion the following reasons have contributed to the decline of this once wonderful country.

The loss of freedom and fairness once symbolic of the American way of life has gone for a toss after 9/11 with security concerns giving rise to suspicion, loss of freedom bordering on paranoia.

Extraordinary spending on security (homeland security) and armed forces resulting in budgetary cuts for education, infrastructure, research and welfare. It is sad some of the airports in the USA are worse than many third world airports and landing at one of the swanky Indian airports seems heavenly on a return trip from the USA. Many of the roads including Manhattan the business capital of the the world are bumpier than a camels back.

Complete lack of courteous  service in the airline and the hospitality industry. It almost appears that when you travel in a US airline you pay to get harassed by the airline personnel both on ground and in the aircraft. (They could learn a lesson or two from the eastern and middle eastern airlines). Less said the better about the arrival counters in the major US airports where visitors are  made to undergo unnecessary hardship after a long haul flight. Most of the counters are unmanned and rude ushers bark instructions at the hapless travelers’ who are totally under their mercy. Contrast this with the Indian airports where the whole process of immigration and customs is a breeze and the process is  over in minutes with multiple counters being pressed into service based on the need.

A totally misplaced emphasis on individuals rights rather than accountability and societal rights which the legal system has manipulated to the detriment of society. The ridiculous examples of these are where a client is awarded millions of dollars because they did not realize the hot coffee they ordered was hot and it over their skin ,or a burglar is given compensation because he fell on a wet floor in the house that he was trying to burgle,or where you have to put up signs on a toothpick packet saying it is a sharp object and will cause damage if you poke your eye or ear drum with it ,or where the malpractice insurance is so high in certain fields of medicine like neurosurgery and obstetrics that it is higher than ones earnings and many smaller towns do not have these specialists available .Because of this lopsided compensation policy the cost of doing business is so much higher in many fields that America is unable to compete with the rest of the world.

Ridiculous bordering on stupid gun laws supported by the NRA where a common man can possess assault rifles,machine guns etc as  result of which thousands of citizens including innocent   children have been massacred ,and  as happened in Dallas recently policemen  have been hunted down like animals by a citizen in possession of a precision assault rifle. In spite of more people having been killed in The USA by guns than all the wars they have fought combined; the lawmakers are still unable to  bring about a sensible gun law.

Rising racial tensions as witnessed by widespread violence after the police killings in recent times has made many cities in America very volatile.

During and after World War it was America that stood tall as a respected strong  leader that the rest of the world looked up to and followed. However now after the multiple disastrous interventions and in some cases non intervention in the middle east that perception of the USA as an eminent  world power has completely changed.

 

All in all these factors have certainly brought down the glory of the USA and unless the citizens and the law makers in the USA change it will only be a down hill course .That would indeed be a very sad day because all said and done  it is still one of the greatest countries in this world.

Dr. H Sudarshan Ballal, MD, FRCP (London)Chairman – Manipal HospitalsManipal Hospitals, 98, HAL Airport Road, Bangalore-560017

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are of the writer and not of the hospital.

 

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