Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Here we go again! "The Greatest Country In The World"

It doesn't matter what event it was.  It may have been a political event.  It may have been a neighborhood bake sale.  It was being taped by a "news" crew. Whatever the speaker was talking about it included the infamous obligatory statement about the United States of America being the greatest country in the world.  Every time I hear that statement I wonder what criterion is that statement based on?

Yes, in the United States there is opportunity to have a relatively financially secure lifestyle.  Plus the opportunity to indulge in and enjoy a variety of leisurely activities.  There is a general opportunity to at least pursue your life passions.

But, there are conditions in the United States that don't seem worthy of being under the umbrella covering of the "greatest country in the world".  Despite the overall abundance of wealth in the United States, 16% of the population live in poverty.  That means that 16% of the population doesn't eat as well as you and I.  That means that some of the fun activities you and I regularly do are beyond the financial reach of those in poverty.  The notion that these 16% are solely responsible for the impoverished conditions they live in has not been proven as being correct.

It is a fact that drug abuse, and the crime rate in many metropolitan areas are out of control.  Does that mean that a 16% poverty level and outbreaks of crime and drugs in select communities are acceptable levels and conditions for a great country?  Does a country's greatness stop if it reaches a 20% poverty level and only 10 metropolitan areas exist with crime above a certain percentage?  In addition, in terms of addressing mental health issues the United States does not stand out as being the poster child country with the best programs to assist those with mental health issues.  Ask the family of those who have relatives murdered by someone with a mental disorder.

So why do people continue to make the statement that the United States is the greatest country in the world?  Have those people physically visited every country in the world?  If so what checklist did they use to rate and rank that country?

I respect the right of people to make "the greatest country" declaration.  But you and I know it's just a patriotic, ill informed, biased statement at best.  Maybe it's a part of our competition gene.  The need to be better than someone else.  Or the "I'm Number One" syndrome.  The greatest country declaration exist because we do not have the ability to think in collective terms.  World goals are drowned by the oceans of selfishness that the world promotes.

In the upcoming Summer Olympic games we will likely see the usual graphics by the media that track the number of gold, silver, and bronze medals won by each country.  The celebration of the individual athlete's accomplishment will be overwhelmed by narcissistic flag waving.  Why are the flags thrust into the athlete's hands anyway?  Why can't the athlete hold up their favorite beverage, package food item, etc. and give those items some commercial time, with appropriate financial compensation? No, instead they have to carry a flag around to promote the superiority of their land.

But on the other hand, if the athlete gets a thrill out of carrying and waving a flag around good for them.  I'll just change channels, go to use the restroom or go jogging and promote my health and wellness.

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