The Death of American Values

842 Words4 Pages
In his essay “A fire in the basement” Bob Herbert gives many examples that ultimately ask “what has happened to the American values of freedom, justice, opportunity and equality that separated us from other nations?” Herbert says that our society no longer cares to uphold these once fundamental values. Herbert declares that, “If I had one wish for this country it would be for leadership that would arouse the consciousness of the masses to the deceit and injustice all around them”(402) It’s obvious that Herbert is distraught by the current condition of our nation’s value system. And I must agree that we have lost sight of what really matters in today’s society and that we need a leader who will lead the people of this nation out of the dark and back to the original ideals of freedom, justice, opportunity, and equality that built up this nation.

As stated before, Herbert uses many examples of inequality and injustice that he has encountered in The United States, including the incarceration of an innocent eleven year old girl for 3 years, or a young soldier’s life being irreparably changed by a roadside bomb that severed his spinal cord in Iraq. Now, many people may say that these are not new problems, that these kind of issues have always been around, which I say is just as bad, if not worse than if these were new issues.

We as a nation should have, ‘lived and learned’ from these experiences, not just let them continue for centuries. Herbert himself says “It would be one thing if stories like these were rare, if they were bizarre onetime occurrences that we learned a lesson from and prevented from happening again. But the stories I cover are not rare”(398). After illustrating these examples Herbert continues by saying “I...

... middle of paper ...

...s if there will be no consequences. He is especially upset by President Bush’s “middle-class” tax cuts that were estimated to transfer more wealth to the richest one percent of the country’s population than any other economic plan in history. I can’t see how anyone would disagree with Herbert that the United States most defiantly needs to reassess the path it has taken. I completely agree with Herbert that this kind of immoral disregard for responsibility is reprehensible, every dollar spent affects the citizens of this nation, and every dollar wasted on the war is money that could be used to pull people out of poverty or to buy books for poor schools.


Graff, Gerald, Cathy Birkenstein, and Russel K. Durst. "They say/I say": the moves that matter in academic writing: with readings. New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 2009. Print.
Open Document