America Isn't The Greatest Country Anymore
This weekend I had my first opportunity to watch "Newsroom," an HBO series, and I was struck by the opening sequence of the show as Jeff Daniels, aka Will McAvoy, discusses why America WAS the greatest country in the world - but no longer is. Here are the stats as he breaks them down:
The U.S. is:
- 7th in literacy
- 27th in math
- 22nd in science
- 49th in life expectancy
- 178th in infant mortality
- 3rd in median household income
- 4th in labor force
- 4th in exports
But here are some other stats where the U.S. ranks as well:
- 19th is State success
- 3rd in oil production
- 12th in prosperity
- 22nd in freedom of the press
- 2nd in child poverty
- 30th in nocturnal safety
- 3rd in "liking" the United Sates (behind Japan and Kenya)
- 11th in "happiness"
- 22nd in freedom from corruption
- 24th in "perceived" honesty
- 39th in income inequality
- 4th in employees "faking" illness
- 3rd in human development
- 10th in economic freedom
- 17th in credit "worthiness"
- 4th in global competitiveness
- 47th in infant survival
- 38th in trade freedom
- 8th in researchers
- 12th in thriving population
- 34th in the Children's index
- 61st in monetary freedom
- and, most depressingly, 50th in erection length.
You get the idea. The rise of economic strength was built on the backs of hard working Americans who built stuff from skyscrapers to railroads. We farmed, we produced and we raised families. The pride of "built in America" was the flag that we waved.
America just voted for a continuation of dependency. Dependency on government for handouts from food stamps to welfare. Dependency on the graciousness of our neighbors to continue loaning us money to support excess spending. America has become a debtor nation and the cancer of debt has eroded our economic prosperity.
Can America be great again? Absolutely. America has an indomitable spirit and a will to succeed unmatched my any on this planet. It just requires a spark to bring us together as a country to make the sacrifices necessary to return America to its former greatness. However, it requires great leaders that will fight for moral values, stand up for what is right, strike down the wrong laws for the right reasons, fight for those in poverty, care about our neighbors and put our money where our mouth is.
Yet it is great leadership that has been missing. Each leader has followed the same path of profligate spending and reckless disregard of the long term economic drain for short term economic gains. The country needs a leader that is willing to take the risks of failure to achieve success. A leader that is willing to fall to earth while reaching for the stars. A leader willing to accept the responsibility for his successes as well as his failures. Our Forefathers were great leaders. We have forgotten what great leadership meant. We have opted for mediocrity and self-indulgence and we have reaped the harvest that we have sewn.
It's not too late for America. Will McAvoy is right: "The first step in solving any problem is recognizing that there is one. America is not the greatest country in the world anymore." We must acknowledge the problem. We must choose to begin the long road to recovery by becoming an informed and educated electorate. We must begin making the right choices, sacrifices and demanding the same from our leadership. I have hope.
Warning: Video has strong language