USA, USA, we’re number 16!

usausausaSeriously, Americans have lived with the belief that our country is “Number Uno” for so long we’ve come to believe our own propaganda. There have been, and hopefully always will be, aspects of life in which we excel above other nations. But it serves no good to deny or ignore how we really rank in the world.

Conservatives love to remark that our health system is the world’s best, that our system of higher education can’t be beat, that Americans are the brightest, healthiest, bravest, cleanest, moralist, purest, prettiest, freest, people on earth. Well, yes and no. Like all nations we have had our moments to shine and our moments to wish that never happened.

With all this in mind it’s interesting to look at the true position of America in the world. There exist something called the Social Progress Index that ranks, among other things, how socially progressive nations are. It would include such factors as how tolerant of differences we are, how easy it is to move up the social ladder, how much opportunity exists, are basic human needs being met, etc.

Well, America is not at the top when compared to other nations with a high GDP per capita income. You want to live where all these factors are strongest? Well, move to New Zealand because it and fifteen other nations are ahead of the United States. We rank sixteenth.

This isn’t to say that we can’t be number one in more areas. But it certainly can’t happen if we refuse to accept reality and if we continue to permit the far-right to label those who do as being somehow unpatriotic. No problem or deficiency gets fixed before it is recognized as being a problem.

So, here’s the awful truth (even if it isn’t all that awful). Now, how about acknowledging it and let’s get to work on making this a better place to live. USA, USA!!!

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