Thursday, October 15, 2009

Reality Bites

When will we collectively get over referring to America as "the greatest nation on Earth"? Given the evidence to the contrary, it's time to graduate to something more meaningful. Let's take the health care debate, a major cause of righteous indignation all along the ideological spectrum. According to the WHO, the U.S. spends a higher portion of its gross domestic product than any other country but ranks 37 out of 191 countries according to its performance. Not horrible, but not the greatest. Out of 194 countries ranked by obesity rates, we came in ninth. How about the military? Obama has been equivocal about his promise to repeal the childish "don't ask, don't tell" policy. Dozens of countries support gays in the military, while the U.S.- equal opportunity when it comes to cannon fodder- still indulges petty prejudices rooted in religious superstition. Israel allows gays to serve openly and they're more hung up on God than we are. Howzabout education? Most empirical data shows us firmly in the middle of the pack; a global C student. In spending, we're behind Jamaica, where the kids have learned the best side on which to properly pass the dutchie. So where do we derive all our aforementioned greatness? Bacon flavored chocolate? Neon license plate frames? Kim Kardashian? (Actually, strike that one. She's a stone cold fox.)

These are not criticisms for their own sake; they're facts, and you only criticize something you love. Wrapping ourselves in the Snuggie that is the American flag and nodding off to sleep muttering, "we're Number One" is an immature anachronism that allows us to detach from actual engagement; we're pandering to ourselves. We live in a fantastic country, but we should be less concerned with being "the greatest" and figure out how to just be better in the ways that count.


Anonymous said...


First off I do love our country as much as you do. I just think we have some work yo do.

When I go to another country I'm sometimes embarrassed to be an American because of the way I have seen other Americans act. The big bloated loud American expecting everything to be like America. If you want America stay there. If you do want some culture and new experiences, go and accept things differently, and remember that you are a guest...act like one!

Now, enough with poor education, Loser parenting = the new fashion accessory called "A Baby" Walmart= Helping destroy the middle class. We can change things!

Joe Minkel said...

I disagree with the first comment. "If we want America stay here". Yes, i agree to that, but all those foreigners come to our country and what do they want? Their customs and cultures. Hell, we need to press 1 for English anymore. 2 for Spanish. Is that not our country allowing itself to be controlled in another aspect? If they want their cultures and their customs, stay in their own country.

If you visit another country, you're expected to try to learn the local tongue and customs and try to follow them. Not here. Nope, we bow down to all changes and just accept them.

We need to wake up and put our foot down and enforce the same rules that are forced upon us when we visit another country.