All my life I've heard how The United States Of America is the best country in the world to live in, that we're #1 in everything and how we should all be proud to be an American. People here proclaim our superiority with unclouded confidence even though they have never compared our country to any other nor have they visited another country and most times could not even point another country out on a map. 60% of Americans do not have a passport!
"How are they so sure?", I've often wondered to myself. Well, mostly to myself, for the few times I was brave enough to question the validity of such statements out loud I was bombarded with scorn from the proud patriots defending our countries' winning position in the world.
Even armed with facts you cannot win an argument, let alone an audience, with stubborn-headed American zealots, bent on protecting their delusions of grandeur.
For the record, I love the United States mostly for its diversity and adventurous spirit. It's diversity in not only the countryside but also its people. No other nation has grown from the blood, sweat, and tears of so many different cultures homogenized together into one nation before and granted so many freedoms and opportunities. It is amazing for that and a grand experiment making it unique.
But saying that we are number one in something that we are clearly not number one in is like yelling fire in a crowded theater when no fire exists. Getting angry with someone who points out these obvious facts, is like that person yelling fire getting angry with people for not running to escape the imaginary fire. It is crazy or, more precisely, delusional.
From what I can tell, the only things the U.S. is really number one in is the following.
US Is #1
- Weapons exporter in the world
- Putting people in jail
- Paying lots of money for health care
- Making new parents work
- Thinking highly of ourselves
- Killing people with drones
- Making cheese
- Military spending
- Spending money on Scotch
- Wasting time on the Internet
- Watching TV
- Going to work sick
Nothing to be proud of unfortunately.
To be fair, there are some positive things the US is number 1 in such as:
- Making money - make the most
- Selling corn - sell the most
- Democracy - been doing it longer than anyone else
- The U.S. ranks 1st in women Olympic figure skating gold medals
- The U.S. ranks 1st in the super rich
- The U.S. ranks 1st in wine consumption
- The U.S. ranks 1st in plastic surgeons
- The U.S. ranks 1st in horse exports
- The U.S. ranks 1st in breast augmentation
- The U.S. ranks 1st in death by violence
Seems like if you're a wino, gold-digging, horse-riding, figure skater with big, fake breasts you'll fit right in here in the good 'ol U.S. of A.
According to the World Health Organization, the US health care system ranks 30th in the world, the Program for International Student Assessment report showed that U.S. students ranked 17th in reading and 21st in math.
According to an article in the New York Times, the United States ranked 26th among nations in life expectancy
What about the environment?
Yale University developed a sophisticated Environmental Performance Index to examine the behavior of nations. In the area of protection of human health from environmental harm, their index placed the United States 35th in health impacts, 36th in water and sanitation, and 38th in air quality.
In the other area studied―protection of ecosystems―the United States ranked 32nd in water resources, 49th in climate and energy, 86th in biodiversity and habitat, 96th in fisheries, 107th in forests, and 109th in agriculture.
You would think that a country filled with people from so many cultural backgrounds speaking so many different languages would grow a multilingual population, yet the United States ranks 150th out of 200 countries ranked by the linguistic ability of its citizens.
The US, a peace loving nation that spends more than the next 20 countries combined on weapons, ranks 101st on peace. The 2014 Global Peace Index prepared by the Institute for Economics and Peace, says the United States ranks 101st out of 162 countries ranked in that category. The most peaceful country in the world is Iceland.
Another interesting fact is that although the U.S. ranks #1 as a country for making money, the GDP growth per capita ranks 125th among nations studied. Per capita GDP is a measure of the total output of a country that take gross domestic product (GDP) and divides it by the number of people in the country.
So even though we are making the most money in the world, it is not trickling down to the population. Where is that money going exactly? Not in increased wages (U.S. ranks 11th in the minimum wage and 23rd in wage distribution). Oh, I remember now. The U.S. ranks 1st in the super rich.
The more I searched the more the facts revealed.
- The U.S. ranks 125th in GDP growth per capita
- The U.S. ranks 23rd in gender equality
- The U.S. ranks 33rd in internet download speeds
- The U.S. ranks 46th in freedom of the press
- The U.S. ranks 26th in child well-being
- The U.S. ranks 24th in literacy
- The U.S. ranks 19th in perceived honesty
- The U.S. ranks 27th in leisure and personal care
- The U.S. ranks 17th in happiness
- The U.S. ranks 9th in retirement security
- The U.S. ranks 99th in peacefulness
- The U.S. ranks 24th in freedom from corruption
- The U.S. ranks 16th in manufacturing compensation costs
- The U.S. ranks 29th in intellectual property protection
- The U.S. ranks 23rd in wage distribution
- The U.S. ranks 10th in purchasing power of minimum wage
- The U.S. ranks 11th in minimum wage
No matter how hard you search for things the U.S. is number one in, we keep coming up short except in areas I wouldn't want to brag about, but that doesn't stop the proud, ignorant fools from chopping your head off for suggesting that some countries are doing some things better than the U.S. is doing them. Michael Moore does a great satire about this in his film, Where To Invade Next.
The true, red, white, and blue patriots always challenge me with the same line when they can't refute the facts.
"Well, if you don't like America why don't you just leave?", they always say, "Love it or leave it!" That is beside the point though and I do love America, we're just not number one at everything and should stop acting like we are.
That is such a weak position that I find it humorous. As if the only option left for someone in this country who points out facts that refute your position is to leave the country. I have taken that advice a few times and left to live in Germany and Mexico and have not regretted it, in fact, I'm going to leave again soon, but it still annoys me that people can be so rooted to beliefs that are untrue.
If you mention how much we spend on military spending a typical response is, "That's right, we are the most badass country in the world! What are you, a pussy?" I mean really, do we have to be able to bomb the world hundreds of times over to feel secure enough to start spending money on other things we desperately need? Can we even have this conversation without being verbally attacked? Apparently not.
Imagine you and I and a group of people were having a race around a track and the whole world was watching. An Olympic race, if you will. Imagine you and many others (other countries) in that race crossed the finish line clearly ahead of me (The U.S.) but at the end of the race, I told everyone that I was #1 in that race and insisted it was true. How foolish would that appear to observers?
Unfortunately, that is the attitude of about 50% of the American population, deluded into believing they are number one regardless of the facts. Are we alone in this delusion or do other countries think highly of themselves, truth be damned?
Is there a cure for this condition? Is it our programming we have received from childhood through so many hours of television that has led us into this narcissism? Has our mass media, consumer-driven, disinformation-slinging, uneducated culture led us down a path filled with self-worshipping egomaniacs?
How can we strive to improve our standing in the world on so many important issues if we falsely believe we're already the best in the world at everything?
How can we face realities if we won't face reality?
How can we find solutions if we can't even talk about the facts?
Who the fuck do we think we are?
It's embarrassing and it's time for me to leave this country again.
Life is better in many places besides the U.S. of fucking A.
All images that are not mine are credited to the source or are mine