Being the season of politics and campaigning, we are being bombarded by declarations of America’s greatness. It’s like if a politician doesn’t tear up just saying the words, ‘god bless America’ he/she is shunned forever. “Not only did they not mention god, but they didn’t say we are the best! And where was the flag pin?!”

Why are we so obsessed with convincing ourselves that we are the best? Why do we ignore all facts and statistics when we claim that we are the best?

I decided I would do a little research and look at America by the numbers:

  • 31st in K-12 education
  • 25th in math
  • 37th in life expectancy
  • #1 in obesity
  • 37th in overall health care
  • #1 in gun related injuries (not death), #1 in gun ownership
  • #5 in wealth inequality
  • 34th in infant mortality
  • #5 in divorce
  • 1 in 6 americans are hungry
  • 48.8 Americans live in food-insecure households
  • #22nd in Gender Equality

We’re #1! We’re #1!

I don’t mean to sound unpatriotic, I am grateful for the opportunities I have been given. But let’s get real. The stats above don’t ‘shout’ the best. What exactly makes us ‘the best’? Our military? Our freedom? (Yeah, if you are a 40+ year old white straight christian male).

There is a fine line between pride in your country and being dangerously ethno-centric! There is literally a country song with the words, “we’ll stick a boot in your ass ’cause that’s the American way.” USA! USA! And we can’t believe other countries don’t like us. “They hate us for our freedom”.

You may be wondering, what exactly is the problem with all of this behavior?

If we consistently preach that we are the best, we never try to learn from others. If we think that we are #1 across the board, we will ignorantly follow status quo while others are passing us up. If we falsely believe that our health care is #1, we are letting infants die while we ignore the latest improvements. Companies that don’t evolve- fail. Countries that don’t evolve- will fail.

I have heard many a right leaning politician or pundit say things like, ‘uh oh, what is this Europe?’ Would that be so bad? France is #1 in Health care. European countries are ranked higher than the US in education. Now I am not saying we should try to be France, but I am saying we need to stop acting like we are some how superior to the rest of the world.

It would be political suicide, but I would love to hear a politician say that we have a lot to learn from the rest of the world. Why don’t we investigate or study the best policies and proceedures from the world and see what we can learn? Would that be so bad?

Or nevermind……’Merica!