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Kirjoituskilpailun voitto OSYKiin!

Tämän kevään ylioppilaamme Mara Konttila on voittanut Suomi-Amerikka Yhdistysten Liiton SAM:n 40. kerran järjestetyn englanninkielisen kirjoituskilpailun. Tänä vuonna kilpailuun osallistui 268 opiskelijaa 82 lukiosta. Palkinnoksi Mara saa Icelandairin lennot Yhdysvaltoihin. Suurenmoiset onnittelumme Maralle!

What makes American politics and society so interesting to me?

For most of the 20th century it was obvious that our world had two superpowers: the Soviet Union and the United States of America. However, this old order collapsed when the USSR dissolved in the 1990s. A tremendous power vacuum was left, and our world was irrevocably changed.

I would claim that this cultural, ideological, and military vacuum has been filled by American influence. Blue jeans and American fast food joints can be found everywhere as regional traditions fade into obscurity. The socialist project has been replaced with worldwide capitalism, with the US in the heart of it all with it’s impressive GDP and powerful American corporations. US military spending is off the charts, and their foreign interventions have shaped the destiny of numerous nations. Some have even gone as far as to call the United States a modern empire. 

Despite all this grandeur, it’s clear to me that the US is facing a number of issues. The clash between nationalistic conservatives and progressives has only escalated.  Long-standing systemic issues like income inequality and the state of their healthcare system plague American society, and new threats such as climate change pose an existential threat. Meanwhile, China is rapidly growing and building their own sphere of influence, challenging American hegemony. All in all, the state of affairs in the US doesn’t spark much optimism.

However, I like America not despite all these flaws, but exactly because of them. I’m a very political person and I find the conflicts fascinating. As the world moves onwards to an uncertain future, America will undoubtedly change. I wonder what will happen in my lifetime; will America slowly descend into further inner strife and make way for a new balance of power? Or will it somehow overcome it’s challenges to finally become the shining city on a hill it has aspired to be for centuries? Only time will tell.

Mara Konttila
Oulun Suomalaisen Yhteiskoulun lukio