America’s Better, Or: God Bless Pax Americana
Here’s my first rant. No matter what your political leanings, it will be offensive, and will probably make you hate me. I’m working on not caring. So here we go.
The other day, a friend of mine and I were talking about the economic situation in our country. The discussion quickly diverged to the war in Iraq and how we shouldn’t be there. The next day my friend was glancing over this week’s issue of TIME (my favorite magazine), and made a remark to the effect that America doesn’t have much to be proud about right now. I instantly began mocking her. Let me point out something right here: I am not one of those people who would say, “If you don’t like it here, leave”. I recognize that America is about the only place most of us can be, considering we don’t have the financial means nor the language skills to move to a foreign country. Furthermore, there aren’t many comparable places to go. Europe is about the only place to go but here. I also recognize that it is every American’s God-given right to criticize the government, and we should exercise that right. We cannot trust our leaders to make the right decisions all the time, and as responsible citizens we should be quick to point out issues where our leaders have erred. Also, as responsible citizens, we have a diversity of opinions. Some people say social security should be privatized. Some say social security should be protected. Others just start screaming about killer bees.
The point of America is that we all have different opinions and we all continually work to convince each other whose opinion is correct. Which is why I’m worried about a certain man in a certain office, and I will name neither, suffice to say that Janet Reno formerly occupied this office. (I’m avoiding names and titles because I seriously fear being put on a no-fly list, but you can figure it out) Censorship and limiting the rights of those who criticize the government may arguably be considered security measures, but they are in fact the first steps towards a police state. But this is a subject for another rant, another day. That all being said, it is also my God-given right to mock people who say America sucks right now. I beleive this stems from the fact that things are just too good in America compared to the rest of the world. We are by no means a perfect society, and we still have serious flaws. However we are years ahead of many other nations in equality between gender, race and creed (despite post-9/11 setbacks). In many nations around the world it is in no way illegal to discriminate against a woman for a job. America has the most diverse racial mix, and while there are isolated killings, there is no genocide (compare this to eastern europe and central sub-saharan Africa). We also have little to no problems about religion (againt, despite post 9/11 setbacks). Compare our record on religious tolerance to, say, Africa or India, where they just kill each other depending on religion. So because it’s so much better here than elsewhere, we feel that less-than-perfect situations, or outright shitty ones are cause for saying we have nothing to be proud about in America.
Let’s start with human rights, shall we? Let me read off some of my favorites from the 53 nation member list of the 2003 UN commission on Human Rights (just the ones that crack me up). Algeria, Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Bahrain, Chile, China, Cuba, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Libya, Pakistan, Peru, Russian Federation, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Syria. I only picked the ones I know are laughable. By the way, Libya is the leader of the human rights commission this year. And if you don’t know why some of these countries are laughable, ask me sometime. So let me ask you, are these countries better on human rights than the US? Keep in mind this council kicked the US off at one point a few years back.
Let’s look at regions. Oh sure, Canada’s nice, but you have to live along the border because the rest of it is lots of natural goodness but not much civilization. Plus the socialized healthcare system is falling apart. Mexico. Yeah. Enough said. Central and South America? See my answer to Mexico. I don’t particularly enjoy fighting off drug lords and governments that change presidents 5 times in a year (see Peru, I beleive, though it could be Chile or Argentina, I get them confused). Moving right along, Australia. OK, fine, not bad. Japan’s nice, but it’s crowded and has a complex social system you’d need to spend years trying to figure out. Same applies to most of southeast asia. The southernmost part of that region, such as the Phillipinnes, aren’t exactly stable right now. China’s lovely if you can handle not being able to speak out about the government and only being able to access the Teletubbies site on the internet because everything else is censored. Russia has a rich cultural history (of clinically depressed alcoholism), but most major corporations can’t even do business there because of the rampant crime. And if you’re a hostage in a Chechen rebel terrorist situation, the Russian cops will just shoot you along with the terrorists and call it a day. India has a bit of a crowding problem. The Middle East is just a giant desert. Whoopee. Africa has plenty of untouched natural habitats and a well-preserved cultural heritage, but you might get caught up in a governmental overthrow and get killed, or named president (happens every week). Which brings us to Europe. Beautiful. Wonderful food, wonderful cultures, wonderful languages, not to mention the arts, and people that range from hideous (Britain) to sex-gods and goddesses (Switzerland, Italy). Unfortunately moving to Europe requires learning some kind of language (you can be a tourist there and just know english, but if you’re gonna live there you might wanna know what the street signs say), finding a job, and dealing with a completely different style of goverment (most are quite socialist over there). So next time you wanna say America sucks and you want to leave, consider which European country you really want to go to and why it’s so much better than here.