The greatest country in the world?

Jimmy Youngblut

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Even though America makes mistakes, other countries make just as many.

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Even though America makes mistakes, other countries make just as many.

As an American, there are days when I feel like a part of the greatest country in the world. But, if I’m honest, there are times when I’m forced take a step back and question whether or not America is the greatest country in the world and regretfully, I’m compelled to admit that the answer is a resounding no.

As kids, we’re trained that we need to pledge allegiance to the country which is sheltering us from the monster of the outside world, when in reality it is America that is slowly becoming the monster. We are force fed patriotic propaganda on a national scale to the point of justifying wars and conflicts that we have no business in by simply saying “It’s America’s job.” We lead the world in defense spending, and we spend more money than the next twenty six countries combined. Yet twenty five of those countries are allies to the United States, and no country even comes close to being able to challenge the military of the United States. It just seems to me that we’re becoming “the land of the free,” by holding a gun to everyone in the world and calling it protection. Spending money on defense is logical and makes sense. But when you are spending more then the next twenty six countries combined it either means that you’re courting war or you are paranoid of every other nation in the world, both of which are not satisfactory.

Throughout the media thousands of films or television shows are created that place Americans on a pedestal that we might not deserve. Countless movies illustrate that “America is the Best,” whitewashing our role in world history. If you need examples, look no further than Indiana Jones, Captain America, Saving Private Ryan, Zero Dark Thirty, Batman, Rocky, Rudy, Battle Los Angeles, Independence Day, just to name a few. Yet how often is there a film or a television show that shows how America might have messed up, or how our actions were not justified? The answer is, there are very few, if any. And that’s our own fault because television companies can only create television shows that they believe audiences will enjoy and because our extreme patriotism conditions us to watch them.

Another reason that we are not the greatest country in the world is because of our ego. People in our country are constantly ridiculed for speaking out truths about our country. Instead of respecting both of the opinions and facts of people we discredit them by merely arguing “that doesn’t happen in America.” It’s as if we are back in the times of the 18th century with the institution Sedition Act that prohibited any negative comments towards the government. Our national ego is extremely prevalent in society and we are constantly reminded of it by the overwhelming presence of flags, everywhere. It’s as if people think they’re prone to forgetting that they live in America without having flags every two blocks.

The final problem is we like being the best. We love to show our “American Pride”. Don’t get me wrong, it’s fine to be proud of your country, but we just aren’t taking responsibility anymore. Perhaps it’s just me, but I’m of the opinion that we beat our chest too much, and that we spend too much on weapons that we don’t need. However scary it may seem to admit, the first step in fixing this problem is acknowledging that there is one.

Knowledge is power, and perhaps the key to fixing this problem is becoming aware. Awareness and knowledge to the Global perspective, and what is best for every person. In the end it states in our very own Declaration “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness,”  America needs to work on upholding those values at home and abroad before we can call ourselves great again.