Americans should keep current domestic troubles in perspective


    In Zimbabwe, $100 billion won’t even buy you a loaf of bread. This is because $100 billion in Zimbabwe is the equivalent of just one U.S. dollar.

    And we thought our economy was bad.  

    According to a report on, the new $100 billion banknotes were introduced about a week and a half ago by Zimbabwe’s central bank as a desperate bid to salvage the country’s ailing economy.

    The official inflation rate in the once-prosperous country is now 2.2 million percent.

    Much of our nation’s focus lately has been on the rising costs of gas and food at home. We have not been paying much attention to the rest of the world, except maybe a few glances at the seemingly never-ending conflicts in the Middle East.

    It is easy to become so enthralled with America’s own problems, with regular unleaded gas costing nearly $4 a gallon these days. As the prices of food, fuel and clothing continue to rise, it is easy to think only of our own troubles. 

    We should try to keep issues in perspective, though. After all, we are not the only ones struggling to keep our balance in a rapidly changing world.

    According to a July 9 online story from Time Magazine, five peacekeepers from a joint United Nations/African Union force were killed, and 17 more were missing after being ambushed that same day.

    That peacekeeping force has been on the ground in Sudan for some time now, attempting to end the genocide which has taken the lives of more than 300,000 people. 

    On another continent, the sex-slave industry in Russia continues to thrive, according to Thousands of girls and young women are forced into prostitution every year. Though Russian authorities acknowledge the problem, they are ill-equipped to deal with it.

    Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Dolly hovers off the coast of Mexico and prepares to make landfall on the southern Texas coast with winds of 75 miles per hour.

    We are lucky to be in the U.S. Even with all the challenges we are facing, we must acknowledge that there are many in this world who have it far worse than we do.

    The whole world is in a constant state of upheaval, and while it might seem like we are getting the worst of it at times, it is important to remember how sheltered most of us truly are.

    The world is changing and we must adjust our lives accordingly. Complaining about the rising cost of living, while perhaps momentarily satisfying, is ultimately fruitless.

    Rather than focusing on our own problems, which, in comparison to those of the rest of the world, are rather trivial, we should do more to help others.  It is our responsibility as citizens in the of the world to consider the needs of others as well as the needs of ourselves.

Jessica Hensley is a sophomore in political science. Please send comments to