Here it is. The Fourth of July. Independence Day. Truly a big, festive, great day in the history of our country, the United States of America. Our birthday. We are 243 years old, in fact.
So how are we doing?
I heard someone say the other day, that the United States is the greatest country on earth. I didn’t argue. I knew better. In fact, when I mentioned that it “depended on who you were asking,” and the person scoffed. I didn’t say another word about it.
This morning, I was wondering though, if I had been wrong. Maybe the USA is still at the top of the tops of the heaps. Maybe America really is the biggest Top in the Circus.
Unfortunately, I found, we are not.
In Education, we are 17th. This according to the report, The Learning Curve, developed by the Economist Intelligence Unit. Seventeen. Finland ranks first.
In Healthcare, things get worse. The US ranked 27th in the world, behind a big bunch of top-ranking Nordic countries. Those including Finland, Iceland, Denmark, and the Netherlands. This from study from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington.
All of this was published at The Business Insider.
Finally, the Environment. We are a very sad 27th. These statistics were published at The Environmental Performance Index. The top five are Switzerland, France, Denmark, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.
Then, there were the best OVERALL rankings for countries. This study came from U.S. News and World Reports. https://www.usnews.com/news/best-countries/overall-rankings
The United States wasn’t even in the Top Five. We were ranked 8th according to the metrics of the study. Number One was Switzerland.
But. We definitely have the strongest military in the world. We are locked and loaded. China and Russian are second and third.
All brawn. No brains.
Apparently, that is what’s important to this country. Our Military. Other countries can afford thing like excellent public education, and universal healthcare — quality healthcare — because their money goes to these things. Environmental Concerns. Infrastructure. They budget for these things.
Yet. We are a free country. Freedom Reigns. Independence Day, as I mentioned. In theory, as individuals, we can be whoever we want to be. We are all the same in our most basic right to be humans. The Declaration of Independence says so. Cleary. And here it is.
“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.”
Created equal. Unless of course, in many situations, you might be Female, or Black, or Jewish, or Homosexual, or even these days, Pregnant. It depends on the place, and the time, really.
I say all of this, and I sound a bit downtrodden. I didn’t intend this when I started writing. The statistics sort of pushed me in that direction.
I am a huge fan of the United States. I would rather live here, than anywhere else on earth. We do a lot of things right.
The thing that I loved the most is that we were a beacon for freedom. We were the role model. We showed compassion for those who have looked for a better way. We stood for truth, liberty, justice. The pursuit of happiness, because we all had the equal right. There was an American Dream, of coming here. Living here. Making your way. Being you.
I fear this too, is slipping away.
It may not be entirely our fault. The world is forever changing. We need to change with it. I just hope, in following the good groundworks of our forefathers, and foremothers, that we can continue to strengthen the values that this country was built on.
Because, truly, those values are the greatest on earth.
Somehow, we need to get back to this. To act on goodness and inclusion. Equality. Freedom.
Just like the flag says.
Happy Fourth. May freedom be yours. Always.
“I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.”
― Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre
“The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud.”
― Coco Chanel
“Freedom lies in being bold.”
― Robert Frost