Today is July 4th, 2020. It is Independence Day. Today, we celebrate the independence and birth of our country.
I think it’s quite interesting, the story of our beginnings and history only to look at the climate of our origins today. The past 244 years have proven to be the tumultuous ride that nobody expected. We’ve seen wars, poverty, oppression, turmoil, triumph, and everything else that falls under some random category or moment.
We’ve been the forefront in many aspects of the world’s personality, the very fabric of what has shaped society in both positive and negative lights. A myriad of good and bad cascades and plagues the commonwealth for which the United States stands. Contributing to the world stage has proven to be a task taken by some of the greatest political minds in history.
With an unfortunate look back, the United States began the principles of federalism. The ideals of a government that regulates consent through elective government that seeks to serve an overall general good while protecting and promoting the fundamental laws of equality (albeit over time, given that the original founders saw equality differently than we do today) was formed and regulated by the United States. Alexis de Tocqueville, a French political scientist, said that federalism was, “a great discovery in modern political science.” Federalism helped shape the idea of government standards.
Another aspect of the United States that helped propel the world forward was the status and consent given to the governed. Our founding fathers shunned away from all aspects of a monarchy, instead putting the power into the hands of the people. Rather than being born into your proverbial power, every single person had a chance to help shape, reform, and propel the country forward. A young boy from Tampico, Illinois could grow up and become president. A young man from Honolulu, Hawaii could grow up and be the first black president. Our founders put forth the probability that men and women could govern themselves through acts done in an overall federal government, rather than be governed by a singular king or queen.
Even though this particular subject is still heavily debated throughout our country today, the United States set precedents in the governing power and free will of women. Feminism began in the United States far before it began in any other country. The convention held at Seneca Falls began the true testament to women’s resolve as it tested the very confines of the Declaration of Independence and how everybody is created equal, not just all men. Unfortunately, it would be many years after that convention in 1848 before women would receive the proper rights afforded them, but this particular assembly propelled other countries around the world to do the same.
Another heavily debated topic in today’s climate is the idea behind the education system. The United States began the idea that all of its citizens should be educated, literate, and upstanding members of society from an intellectual standpoint. Before the United States, an education was generally reserved for the upper class, those that could afford a pricey aspect of living. Poverty raged in unprecedented ways because of the divide between the educated and the impoverished. The public school system, as broken and underfunded as it is now, began with the United States and opened the eyes of the world to the ideas of an educated society for all.
I am not a religious person, but America was able to finally break the mold of unifying the government with religion and allowing free worship of whichever divine being any person wishes. The age old idea that religion and the government are a conjoined chain was broken by the United States when the country decided it was up to each individual to believe and worship as he or she sees fit. While this is another strongly debated topic throughout our country, this divide definitely strengthened the core of free will and change around the world.
Through as much turmoil as it has provided, diversity in the United States paved the way for many free and democratic countries around the world. America is a metaphorical melting pot of different races, beliefs, genders, and ideals. Our country, founded by white men, has evolved into an entity governed and inhabited by people all of kinds. Our government, still predominantly white, does have inclusion of people from all walks of ancestry. Large companies are run by men and women of different races and backgrounds. An American is an ideal, not a race or color.
The previously discussed aspects of the United States’ contribution to the world stage are not limited. We’ve also been forerunners in technology, charity, voluntary giving, and economical prosperity. But what about the flip side of the argument? Where has America gone wrong? In what way are we inferior to much of the world?
First, the United States officially ranks 27th in healthcare and education. Yes, you read that right, 27th. Twenty six other countries have better education and healthcare than the United States.
Our education is an erupting volcano due to underfunded schools, overworked educators, and a college education that costs more than anywhere else in the world. Countries such as the United Kingdom and Sweden offer free college tuition to help better citizens in their pursuits of lifelong financial stability and happiness. America, on the other hand, charges more money than it’s usually worth for people to find financial intellectualism.
Now let’s look at countries with universal or low cost healthcare. The list is far too long to put in a single blog post, so I’ll instead share this wonderful link with you all.
Not in America, though. It is apparently far beyond the capability of our country to offer universal healthcare to its citizens. Instead, you have people like myself that is currently not covered, so I almost fear even getting sick in that it might bankrupt me. Many people are afraid to ride in an ambulance or even visit an emergency room in fear of losing every penny they have saved. Women fear getting pregnant as it the costs of childbirth have become astronomical. A country founded on the idea of prosperity and living the dream does nothing more than laugh at its citizens behind closed doors.
We are plagued by more issues than just ranking low in education and healthcare. We have more inmates per capita than any other country in the world. We rank 115th in linguistic diversity We rank 14th for national happiness and satisfaction. We rank 17th in economic freedom. We rank 17th in literacy. We rank 26th in math.
America has fallen behind in social progress. Fifty years ago, we had protests and marches for our black community, and here we are again, a country ravaged by racial disparity and social dissonance. Our LGBTQ+ community faces massive prejudice, our president even recently abolishing rights given to trans individuals in their healthcare. Our white community can march on state buildings with assault rifles because they want their haircuts and cheeseburgers, but our people of all colors cannot march down streets demanding justice and change for black people across the country.
In Germany, you will not find a single statue of Hitler outside of a museum. Nobody waves the Nazi flag. Nobody celebrates the holocaust. Instead, Germany remembers their dark history. They study it. They do not idolize it. They do not provide any kind of adoration to that part of their past.
Yet in America, some of us cry outrage over taking down statues of men that supported and fought for the slavery of black people. People proudly wave a flag steeped in racial prejudice and disparity.
The entirety of Europe is slowly starting to reopen their countries because they listened to science and stayed home. They wore masks. They washed their hands. Yet in America, our numbers are climbing quickly. We are slowly starting a domino chain reaction that could break the country. We’re already struggling through an economic crisis, and now the pandemic is going to rage through this country with an unprecedented fervor.
All because our president failed us and people just HAD TO HAVE THEIR DAMN CHEESEBURGER AND HAIRCUT.
We can’t wear masks. We can’t avoid going to bars. We celebrate a holiday and every family has to get together and have full cookouts with the entire extended family. We keep going to public swimming pools and enclosed spaces to eat. God forbid we take a responsible stand and help prevent this pandemic any further. That would infringe on our rights. Almost every other country in the world has seen a decline in numbers and proper safety measures put into place. Not America.
But America is founded on freedom, so screw that, we can take care of ourselves…except we can’t.
The United States has provided the world with a bounty of positive effects that have resonated throughout. Much of the world has been shaped and reformed by what America has provided through political science, technological advance, and social progression.
Unfortunately, we’ve also fallen behind in almost every single category as we continue to struggle. America is no longer number one. In fact, I would argue that America has become a third world country, albeit not in the economical or life expectancy sense. Instead, our country is so far behind that it’s almost as if we’ve moved backward instead of forward.
I’m saddened that we have come so far only to shoot back into a colloquial and antiquated style of living.
Stay home on the 4th of July. Don’t gather with your friends and family. Stay safe and healthy. Celebrate our heritage and the birth of our country by being responsible.
I am proud to be an American, but I am confused beyond reason as to what that pride represents.