Election ’16 brings out the ugly in ‘ugly Americans’

Aidan Denehy, Opinion Editor

2016 is a big year; it is the year of an American presidential election. This year, the election is especially controversial, as two candidates with some of the lowest approval ratings in history have secured their party’s nominations, and now vie for the presidency.

What many Americans don’t know between the elections and the Olympics; the EU is in very real danger of collapsing, Russia is effectively fighting for human rights more actively than the United States in the Syrian Civil War, and Europe has been the recent victim of several Islamic terror attacks.

As America is the most powerful nation on Earth, many countries watch, with good reason, the results of American elections. However, although many Europeans can name the president of the United States, it’s unlikely that most Americans can name even a single leader of a European country. It has been a disappointing trend I have noticed that many Americans have only cursory knowledge of the politics of their own nation, and almost none of the policies of others. While Prayers for Paris and Belgium were all over Facebook, fewer prayed for Nice, even fewer prayed for Normandy, and fewer still pray for the people of Aleppo, who have been living in a battlefield for years and under effective siege for many months.

It is very important for Americans to be knowledgeable and concerned about domestic issues; after all, at the end of the day, these issues tend to affect us directly. However, we must also remember that there is a world beyond just ourselves. As citizens of a global community, we must be ready and willing to understand and empathize with the suffering of other. Although this does not mean war every time, as many are quick to equate, it is important that we are at least somewhat educated on affairs around the world.

As a student at a Benedictine institution, I was horrified and saddened by the murder (and some say martyrdom) of Fr. Jacques Hamel, who was killed in an ISIS-committed terrorist attack on a church in Normandy over the Summer. However, to even learn about the incident, I had to investigate on my own; I had seen someone on Facebook talk about the event, and had to dig through the CNN International Section to find anything related, even though the incident revealed significant flaws in French security as well as ISIS’ increasing boldness.

However, I had no difficulty learning that Donald Trump had encouraged Russian hackers to dig up more dirt on Hillary Clinton.