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A Tale Of Two Cities

1775, a year of both unrest and unparalleled unity. Prosperity and poverty. One could describe it as both amazing, and albeit insufferable. And according to the world-renowned author Charles Dickens, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. ” (Dickens 1). Centered around the neighboring nations of England and France, Dickens acclaimed novel A Tale Of Two Cities opens with this famous line, presenting an indisputable truth.

That, throughout history, whether in pre-Victorian England, or the modern United States, the times equally and eternally remains both the best and worst. In reference to the former of the two, the United States today remains the epoch of the best of times through economic explosiveness, strong border and immigration policies, and tax policies which promote the middle class. On the opposite end of the spectrum, modern America also embodies, albeit unfortunately, the worst of times.

The current state of the USA harbors an alarming breach of some of the most basic human rights, rising tensions between America and enemy nations, and disunity and civil unrest among her citizens. These observations and truths ultimately reflect the states of France and England during Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities, and several parallels between contemporary America and revolutionary France exist, to an alarming extent. In many respects, “The best of times” perfectly describes America in this day and age.

Today, the United States represents prosperity, tranquility, and freedom by the majority of global standards, and in some cases stands to evolve and better itself in many of these categories, too. Economically, the United States hovers at the beginning of a steep incline. Despite dominating the world market and already presenting one of the world’s highest GDP’s, the United States continues to advance itself. According to Michael J. de la Merced with the New York Times, “He can at least point to the biggest stock market rise of any president since the 1980’s.

Under Trump, the United States experienced the biggest heightening of the stock market since the 1980’s. In his first 100 days, the S&P 500 grew by 5%, according to CNBC. Such a substantial escalation within the stock market promotes an increase in investments and trades and creates as higher returns, all of which proves financially beneficial to the United States by the proliferating value of the dollar and aiding businesses, investors, and brokers.

Increasing confidence and bolstering of the stock market continues to occur substantially following this January’s inauguration, which simultaneously immediately benefits the United States economically, and potentially foreshadows an economic boom. Furthermore, since January, illegal immigration at the United States – Mexico border is at its lowest point in 17 years, according to relatively indisputable claims by the Trump Team, and backed by PolitiFact, an unbiased political honesty check website.

In an article originally written by Reuters, and republished by Business Insider, Thomson Reuters reiterated these claims, supporting them with data. Reuters states “apprehensions of undocumented immigrants at the U. S. -Mexico border was below 17,000 in march, marking the least migration since at least 2000. ”. Such an astonishingly low apprehension total, especially during the spring season, a period at which illegal immigration usually escalates, proves that illegal immigrants crossing the border have lowered dramatically from usual totals.

Less illegal immigration benefits legal, tax paying U. S. citizens in a myriad of forms. Primarily, less undocumented immigrants eases a burden on the American economy because in many cases, illegals can take advantage of the American welfare system without paying taxes to pay it back, or finding legitimate jobs to support themselves. Moreover, crime rates should plummet alongside the decrease in illegal Immigration. As reported by the Los Angeles times, up to 8 million of 11. 1 million, or 72% of illegal aliens, commit job-related felonies.

Therefore, crime will descend along with the number of annual illegal immigrants. While it is true that immigrants are essentially the force that drives the U. S. economy, and immigrants settled the foundation for America around the time at which A Tale of Two Cities takes place, illegal immigrants perform disservices even unintentionally, just by crossing the border without the intention of becoming legalized. Finally, the interconnection and ease of communication Americans enjoy stands unrivaled by any other period in history.

As divulged upon by John D. Sutter at CNN, “In addition to enabling us to video events on a second’s notice, potentially altering the course of global politics, these high-tech human “appendages” increasingly have become tools for fighting corruption, buying stuff, bolstering memory, promoting politics, improving education and giving people around the world more access to health care. ” this statement increases in relevance with each passing moment in today’s America. Smartphones and computers in the modern day allow anyone to reach and talk to someone from Alabama to Alaska, and from the United States to Uzbekistan.

Before the invention of the smartphone, or even the internet, Americans relied on the telegraph or mail to connect with someone even a few towns over. However, like a spider, the nation spins an even more complex web of communication and connection as time progresses. And like that spider, the more complex of a web which forms, the more the nation will benefit. On the contrary to the supposed “best of times” at which the U. S exists, the contemporary United States concurrently symbolizes the worst of times equally as well.

Despite all Americans typically enjoy vast freedoms, unequaled safety, and nonpareil coalition, these blessings undergo tests and strain each and every day, which collectively deteriorate the fabric supporting the “best of times” within the U. S. In modern America, the first amendment, which protects free speech, sees widespread, and sometimes violent, scrutiny. Over the past few months at the now battleground of an institution, UC Berkeley, two prominent political speakers, Milo Yiannopoulos and Ann Coulter, found themselves halted from speaking.

Self-described right-wingers, both commentators attempted to hold talks at this university, which itself holds liberal leanings. However, they soon realized that the university’s administration could not sufficiently protect, nor host their rallies. As evinced by Public Affairs at Berkeley News “Amid an apparently organized violent attack… (UCPD) determined it was necessary to evacuate controversial speaker Milo Yiannopoulos from campus and to cancel his scheduled 8 p. m. event. ”.

More recently, conservative speaker Ann Coulter experienced the same deprivation of her right, however this time the cancellation came ahead of time, from the university itself. As summarized by Thomas Fuller with the New York Times, “The university canceled Ms. Coulter’s appearance, scheduled for this week, on the grounds that specific threats by anarchist groups threatened security on campus. ”. In modern America, proponents the first amendment, which protects all, even offensive, free speech, currently combat widespread, and sometimes violent, scrutiny.

Although UC Berkeley claims to advocate for free speech, the administration cancels speakers in fear of inciting violence, rather than providing competent security and taking action against violent protesters, thus creating an environment in which the right to free speech is easily stripped by angry students and rioters. At this rate, all speech could face censorship and adversity in the name of appeasing protesters, and in that case, the essence of America’s entire existence may disappear too: freedom.

Along similar lines to the infringements upon the free speech of Americans, an increase in general protests and ubiquitous agreements afflict the U. S. beginning following this past November’s presidential elections. As touched upon by Business Insider’s Leanna Garfield, “Since Trump has taken office, his first orders as president have sparked a wave of activism around the US. ”. Although stated lightly, Ms. Garfield effectively summarizes the “activism” which continually takes place across the U. S. The right to peacefully protest exists well within the rights of every American citizen, and testifies to American values, such as free speech.

However, it proves impossible for the U. S. to function at full effectiveness without more cooperation on both sides of the political aisle. The United States could overall operate exceptionally with a mutual olive branch agreement extended by both sides, yet any such unity strays further from sight every week, as civil turbulence explodes. Additionally, the United States as a whole is presently staring directly into the face of tribulation as tensions rise between America and opposing nations such as North Korea, Russia, and Syria.

According to Rick Hampson at USA Today, “Now, America is butting heads in Syria with Russia, the other great nuclear power. We are watching the range of North Korean nuclear missiles stretch inexorably toward Seattle. And people again are thinking about the unthinkable”. In many eyes, the iceberg of war drifts closer to America with each passing day. With a loose-cannon president and unpredictable adversaries, one misstep, one tweet-too-far, and nuclear warheads could start flying across the globe.

Although the Middle East and other regions of the globe recently suffered widespread unrest and violence in which the United States participated, one could argue that the reality of a world war for the U. S. looks more apparent than ever in recent history, aside from the Cold War. A global conflict of these predictably massive proportions could spell disaster for the very notion of a United States of America, and everything the nation stands for too. As if directly mirroring the state of pre-revolutionary France from Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities, America today represents both the best and worst of times.

While the economy benefits from the largest stock market increase in nearly 4 decades during a president’s first 100 days, the most basic American right, that of free speech, found itself collapsing under pressure. Even though illegal immigration reached a 17 year low this spring, tensions between the U. S. and other nations continue to boil over. And in spite of the advancing intercommunication and connectivity in the United States today, there seems to exist an even bigger fissure between Americans than ever, and a lack of unity always acts as the straw which breaks the camel’s back.

Similar to how a division between the English and the American separatists caused the American Revolution, an ideological, social, and economic disjuncture sparked the flame which lit the gunpowder that erupted into France’s own revolution, the setting in which the majority of Dicken’s novel takes place. As motifs appear throughout a story though, the seeds of revolution spread themselves throughout history. Today, the seeds which when sowed grew into the French Revolution near harvest maturity once more, in North America.

Just as the detachment between the wealthy and povertous spread in France, a similar disjointedness grows between the left and right in the United States. Similar to how the monarchy all but adhered to its people’s needs in France, shutting out their cries for change, free speech in the United States too suffers from quieting. The current era in America truly defines both the best and worst of times, as France did in Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities. The only difference that remains is, France had its revolution.

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