Noel Dickover replied to the topic “America is Not Number One Anymore…” in the forum Communications, Citizen Engagement, Customer Service 8 years, 11 months ago
Elizabeth stated, “I think most people, wherever they live, think their country is #1“. I’ve had the opportunity to travel to like 15 different countries in the last few years, most of them developing, and at least from my experience, this statement is absolutely not the case. People in many countries – most I’ve visited, have serious concerns about various issues in their countries, and regularly compared their country unfavorably to many others. In fact, I have never run across anyone expressing that they have the best country in the world. Yes, many are proud of their people and where they live, but this is very different, I think. I wouldn’t be surprised if folks in the US are among the very few in the world to regularly state this view (I have not been to Norway, Sweden or Finland, which usually rank fairly high in the quality of life stats).
And really, its a strange position to take. Why do we revel in being the best country on earth? I will say there are some terrific aspects about our culture that I am extremely proud of, having seen differences elsewhere. For most Americans, nobody has ever asked us who our father was on a job interview, for instance (in part this the ethnic mixing bowl phenomena – because we have last names from everywhere, we really have no idea where people came from). This is not the case everywhere, even in many free countries in Europe. For instance, if you are of Roma decent living in Europe, good luck on getting hired – they recognize your last name and will ask to make sure. Anyone who hangs out with the silicon valley tech crowd for any length of time gets truly blown away by the absolutely free spirited culture of innovation that pervades there.
I do agree the trend is toward the US becoming more integrated into a community of nations. As this happens, the “We are the best country on earth” sentiment should recede. The bigger issue though is whether our political process can ever recover enough to actually address these crippling problems that are bringing all these scores downward. Most of us believe the problems are solvable. But perhaps the institutional structure of our system really has destroyed our representative democracy (Gerrymandering – I’m looking at you!). Without true representative democracy, its impossible to tackle big problems.
Just as problematic is our kicking out of talented foreigners who come here to study. Welcoming and integrating people from all over the world is how we got #1 in the first place (a large percentage of small businesses in the US are started by foreign born naturalized US citizens, for instance). I really don’t understand why everyone who comes to study here abroad and gets a degree (especially in math and science) isn’t immediately offered a green card.
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