You know, I never stop hearing from the conservatives in this country about how America is the greatest nation on the face of the planet. I find this argument to be very interesting for a number of reasons. It is just so weird how these people all seem so completely convinced that America is some kind of great archon in the industrialized world, and honestly, it seems kind of pathetic how we believe ourselves to be the greatest of all nations.
My first question to those who believe this country is so great is – how do you measure this greatness? By what standard to you measure the greatness of a nation. Is it by how well-off the citizenry are? Well, let’s keep this to the industrialized world. If we look at the not so industrialized world, that is depressing. But yeah, given that we have massive unemployment here, and that doesn’t even include the 99ers who have just given up looking for a job because their community has no opportunities that their education can provide. The middle class is rapidly disappearing, and the rich seem to not care.
Hey, while we’re talking about citizenry, how about health care? The World Health Organization ranks us very low among the industrialized nations for quality of health care. We spend the most on health care than any other nation in the industrialized world, which would be fine, if what we were getting back was of equal merit. Instead, we have a patch-work health care system that keeps millions of people from getting the necessary procedures that they can get. Then there is the fact that our nation’s health care system is the most inefficient when it comes to the bureaucracy. Part of that is because we don’t have universal health care.
And while we’re talking about health care, how about the systems we have in place to protect the poor? Our social safety net is a joke. Those who need it are getting nothing, and those who are making six-figure salaries are getting it. It is a joke how bad we take care of those on the bottom in this country. And meanwhile, there are idiots like all the Republicans (including Ron Paul. Seriously, he is just as much a Republican as the rest of them) talking about how we should abolish Social Security, talking about how there are all these lazy people who don’t deserve it. Yes, because America is clearly a nation where effort gives you equal reward (cough*bullshit*cough).
So, while we’re on the subject of the poor, how about our prison system? Well, here, we are so ahead of the curve! We have more people in jail than any other nation in the industrialized world. Of course, most of these are drug offenders and have done nothing wrong. The system just says they they are wrong. Never mind that somebody didn’t kill or steal from anybody, they are criminals! Yes, that makes a whole lot of sense. Let’s throw people in jail because we arbitrarily decide to make what they do a crime.
Next up, do we have the biggest array of artists in this country? Do we have the largest amount of culturally relevant works coming out? Well, if you look at anything that Michael Bay has made, it is easy to see how that is a lie. America not only doesn’t have the biggest amount of artists, we don’t have a country that endorses artisans. When we have people going out and telling art majors to drop it because there are no opportunities for them here. We are already telling people like my best friend Emily that pursuing the dream of doing great artwork is not a worthwhile pursuit. So that is out.
While we are looking at the future, how about science? Is America leading the way in technological mastery and scientific development? That is a flat-out no. South Korea is a nation that is half the size of Georgia, and it has the greatest internet service in the world. America absolutely refuses to start investing large-scale into alternative energy. We have no high-speed transit system in this country. The system that we do have right now is a joke. Almost all the major scientific developments are now coming from other places. The fact is that America is not some kind of major player here, either.
We also, in a lot of sects in America, actually condemn science. The religious right is always attacking scientific institutions, like those doing stem cell research, because a microscopic bit of goo might turn into a future Republican. We have a holy war against doing anything sane. That brings us to how we are in secular systems. America is having a civil war (metaphorically speaking) about the religious beliefs of this country. We condemn the Islam faith, while Christianity really has no room to talk. Between all the killings done by Christians in the past, and all the ones that are being done now in the name of religion, the Christian right really has no room to attack those who believe in Allah over their God.
This doesn’t look good for America being the greatest nation. What about the education levels of our young people? With student loans at colleges being completely beyond control, it is easy to see how education in this country is not the greatest. High School dropout rates are insane. At my college, UAA, only 1 in 4 students is able to stick it out until graduation. Those who come to America to learn don’t stick around here to put their skills to work helping us. They go back home and put their skills to work to get their nations ahead.
The fact is that America is not the greatest country in the world. We are very quickly starting to lose our place in the world. While the Republicans, Libertarians, and Tea Party dumbasses want to go back to some kind of golden age, the new golden age is quickly slipping away from us. The fact is that we are losing our spot in the global market, and if we don’t do something to change things soon, there will be no place for us in the world of tomorrow. I really hope that day doesn’t come to pass.
Until next time, a quote,
“Conservatives want live babies so they can turn them into dead soldiers!” -George Carlin