Re: The greatest country in the world?

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.

Lucas Latterell, Staff Writer

I recently read an article by my good friend Jimmy Youngblut in which he comes to the conclusion that the good ole’ US of A isn’t exactly the greatest country on Earth. He brings up some good points, for example he points out how overly massive and wasteful our country’s defense budget is, but overall his points on the military and the media fall short.

With regards to our military, all our spending isn’t for nothing. China, the country with the second largest military budget in the world, spends about the cost of two iPhones equipping each of their personnel. China doesn’t mess around with their military, and neither should we; the U.S. needs this level of defense spending to keep ahead and remain competitive. So yes, we do spend quite a bit money on the military, but besides the necessity of staying ahead of countries like China, most of that money goes towards improving our service members lives, even if we can’t afford to pay them all that much.

I also don’t comprehend Jimmy’s point in mentioning the lack of movies that condemn America’s actions. While I do agree that there aren’t many films that focus on mistakes of our country’s past, movies are meant as a medium of entertainment, and atrocities aren’t very entertaining. But even so, there are productions that show exactly what Jimmy claims movies never show. The hit movie “Fury” shows multiple scenes where German soldiers are abused, beaten, and executed by American soldiers completely outside of the bounds of the Geneva Convention. I don’t think that we watch these movies because, as Jimmy Youngblut said, “our extreme patriotism conditions us to watch them.” War movies, which Jimmy lists a lot of, are mainly just action rides that appeal to people’s curiosity of adrenaline and combat.

And even if there was a massive amount of war movies assaulting our movie theaters and cinemas, then that still wouldn’t be a suitable metric to measure America’s greatness or the patriotism of people who live here. Big, blockbuster movies are produced by Hollywood, not a place especially known for it’s commitment to realism and the truth.

But actual movies that depict war aren’t aimed at trying to paint America as a bad guy, or glorify war, they attempt to portray the actuality of war––how good people die for no reason, how kids who are not old enough to buy a beer back home are tasked with hunting down and killing other human beings, and how many of those who survive are physically and emotionally scarred. Many movies like The Deer Hunter, Full Metal Jacket, and even Forrest Gump show the reality that war is hell. That being said, even mainstream hits like American Sniper and Fury portray this reality as well, so it’s fundamentally, factually wrong to say that movies are hell bent on trying to reinforce the idea that America is always right.

I also take issue with those who try to paint America as evil because of our past actions. Even though America has screwed up with numerous human rights violations like slavery, institutionalized racism, or stealing the Native American homeland, I challenge you to find a major country that hasn’t committed crimes similar to these as well. America has done these things, but we acknowledge them and learn from our past, and honor those who fought to make our nation better, like MLK, Frederick Douglass, or other American heroes. The fact that we are able to change flawed policies is one of the many things that makes our nation great.

Sure America has tons of problems, perhaps more than other nations, but those problems result from our large and diverse population, and I see no problem with that. America is far from perfect, but no nation ever will be perfect. America is no more a nation than it is an idea, an idea that all men are created equal, that that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. The fact that our country still strives to embody these ideals is why America will continue to be a model for the rest of the world.