Saturday, December 3, 2016

The Biggest Problem Americans Face With Their Country

I ran into this post (see picture above), and of course, it struck a nerve, because I have long felt that this was largely true of Americans in general (with some exceptions, of course). Americans have a reputation for being very ignorant of anything outside of their borders, and frankly, even of being ignorant of too much within their own borders. 

This really hit home for me when, maybe around a decade ago, during one of many visits to Canada, I saw a t-shirt with a makeshift test about how much the observer knew about Canada. Don't remember everything that was on it, although the gist was that if you scored 8-10, you were a Canadian. If you scored 5-7 or so, you did fairly well, but needed to study up a bit. If you scored 2-4, you really needed to do some serious studying. Then, at the very bottom, there was the score of 0-1, and after that, it said, "Oh. You're American."

Okay, that may have been an exaggeration (frankly, I'm not so sure), but it illustrated a larger point about how Americans almost seem to have a willful ignorance about so much of the rest of the world. And whether you want to believe it or not, the fact of the matter is that way too many Americans to dismiss as a fluke seem to feel that nothing beyond the country's borders is even worth bothering to acknowledge, let alone to try and understand. 

I've said this before, but it bears repeating: this is not only spot on, but this is far and away the biggest problem and limitation that Americans presently are guilty of. We as a country could really benefit by looking at the examples of what goes on in the rest of the world. But when we insist that we are "exceptional" and above all others, we lose this valuable information, and lose the possibilities that come with it. That is how we have become the only industrialized nation in the world that fails to provide it's people with affordable, universal health care, and how we spend more money on our military than the next ten countries combined, and how we have more prisoners in our for profit prison system than any other country in the world, and how we are the only country in the world with a "leader" and an incoming administration that goes to extraordinary lengths to deny basic science, and so on and so forth. But, 'Murica! 

Way too many Americans believe this, as well. Don't believe it? How far can you go on your daily journeys without seeing the American flag, and being reminded of where we are? How many times do you see bumper stickers or hear the sentiment that this is the greatest country in the world or, nowadays, America First? And have you ever asked other Americans if they can identify other countries on a world map? Some of them can't even identify their own country, and I'm not talking about children, either.

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