America isn't the greatest country anymore and that is OK
America is no longer the greatest country on Earth and it may never be again. If you haven’t seen the short clip from the opening scene of the pilot episode of The Newsroom, an HBO show that aired from 2012 to 2014, please take a few minutes to watch it (below).
While the statistics brought up by Will McAvoy, played by Jeff Daniels, were possibly a bit incorrect, they are nonetheless factual enough to get the point of his message. America is not the greatest country on Earth anymore. While the video shows a woman showing a sign that says “BUT IT CAN BE” and the point of Will’s speech goes along those same lines of saying that America can again be the best country in the world.
Recent data from various sources (listed below) currently ranks the United States as 7th in literacy, 27th in math, 20th in science, 43rd in life expectancy, 56th in infant mortality rate, 4th in median household income, 28th in gender equality, and 37th in health care. We do however still lead the world in the same categories Will McAvoy states, “...number of people incarcerated per capita, number of people who believe angels are real, and defense spending...” (00:6:00 - 00:6:04). Just as the clip states, there is no evidence to believe that the United States of America is the greatest country in the world. Not anymore. What is the next step? Do we try to fix the issues and become the number one country in the world again? Personally, I am going to argue no.
America seems to be one of the most patriotic countries on Earth. While patriotism has lead to America making great advances throughout history, there is a point in which patriotism is no longer needed and the shift should be focused on globalization. The United States needs to be a leader in this switch. Patriotism has lead to a shutting of doors to the rest of the world and its citizens which has had many downfalls including: economic distress, trade concerns, immigration concerns, and possibly the most important, collaboration issues. No longer does the U.S need to become number one in the categories listed above, but it does however have a responsibility to lead the world in a change that will shape the history of the human race.
A global civilization needs to be the goal of every nation on this amazing blue dot suspended in spacetime. If countries continue to wage wars over imaginary deities and limited resources instead of working together then we will soon find ourselves in a disaster that no technological advance or invention can fix and for what? To gloat and beat our chests in front of the defeated while we wait for the universe to destroy us, leaving no trace that our species existed in the universe at all. America does not need to be the best in math or have the best life expectancy among other countries. As a global civilization, these statistics would become meaningless as the entire world would strive for perfection. Instead, it needs to show the world that working together and having honest discourse about ideas can lead to the best possible life for everyone. We won’t have to worry about who is better than who anymore. We don’t have to fight for the top ranking as the world will be working together towards common goals that better humanities longevity. We must focus on the larger issues that face the human race as a whole instead of being selfish and keeping to our own country so much.
A united global civilization. Is this not the goal of humanity at this point in history? To live in a world where we can work together, regardless of our differences; to sustain the planet and let life of all kinds flourish to its maximum potential. Possibly leaving this planet and colonizing others throughout the universe to keep our species thriving throughout time. We, in the sense of the human population, have the technology to see and speak to anyone in the world at any moment. We have the wealth that could provide the essentials for all human beings that currently inhabit the planet as well as those that will ever inhabit the planet in the future. We currently produce enough food that no one should ever go hungry. What humans need to flourish are within our current grasp if we choose to spend our time and money in the correct places. So let’s stop focusing on ourselves so much and worry more about how we will leave this planet for the future and how we can make everyone have better lives for the short time we each have on this pale blue dot.
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DeSilver, Drew. "U.S. Students Improving - Slowly - in Math and Science, but Still Lagging Internationally." Pew Research Center RSS. N.p., 02 Feb. 2015. Web. 13 Nov. 2016.
"Highest to Lowest - Prison Population Total." World Prison Brief. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Nov. 2016.
Hillebrandt, Hauke. "Median GDP per Capita: How Much Does the Typical Person Earn in Different Countries? A Look at Global Inequality." - the Giving What We Can Blog. N.p., 25 May 2016. Web. 13 Nov. 2016.
The Newsroom. Dir. Greg Mottola. Perf. Jeff Daniels and Emily Mortimer. Sunset Gower Studios, 2012. TV Show.
Parramore, Lynn Stuart. "8 Shocking Ways America Leads the World." Alternet. N.p., 29 July 2013. Web. 12 Nov. 2016.
"Rankings." Global Gender Gap Report 2015. World Economic Forum, 18 Nov. 2015. Web. 14 Nov. 2016.
Strauss, Valerie. "Most Literate Nation in the World? Not the U.S., New Ranking Says." Washington Post. The Washington Post, 8 Mar. 2016. Web. 13 Nov. 2016.
"U.S. Defense Spending Compared to Other Countries." Peter G. Peterson Foundation. N.p., 04 Feb. 2015. Web. 13 Nov. 2016.
"World Health Organization's Ranking of the World's Health Systems." Thepatientfactorcom RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Nov. 2016.
Wormald, Benjamin. "America's Changing Religious Landscape." Pew Research Centers Religion Public Life Project RSS. N.p., 12 May 2015. Web. 13 Nov. 2016.