Wednesday, February 23, 2005

America is far from #1

For many years, the chant from the crowd has echoed, 'We're #1...'. Now, after a published article I found in some of my day to day reading, it is laid out in terms easy enough for the typical 7 out of 10 Americans to understand, we are clearly not number one. I like to think that I am the exception to the rule for many of the items I pulled to list below and some of the items are so absurd, they are funny. It just proved we are far, far away from number one...

The United States is 49th in the world in literacy (the New York Times, Dec. 12, 2004).

The United States ranked 28th out of 40 countries in mathematical literacy (NYT, Dec. 12, 2004).

Twenty percent of Americans think the sun orbits the earth. Seventeen percent believe the earth revolves around the sun once a day (The Week, Jan. 7, 2005).

"The U.S. and South Africa are the only two developed countries in the world that do not provide health care for all their citizens" (The European Dream, p.80). Excuse me, but since when is South Africa a "developed" country? Anyway, that's the company we're keeping.

"Of the 20 most developed countries in the world, the U.S. was dead last in the growth rate of total compensation to its workforce in the 1980s.... In the 1990s, the U.S. average compensation growth rate grew only slightly, at an annual rate of about 0.1 percent" (The European Dream, p.39). Yet Americans work longer hours per year than any other industrialized country, and get less vacation time.

Bush: 62,027,582 votes. Kerry: 59,026,003 votes. Number of eligible voters who didn't show up: 79,279,000 (NYT, Dec. 26, 2004). That's more than a third. Way more. If more than a third of Iraqis don't show for their election, no country in the world will think that election legitimate.


The final statement by the author says it all in two succinct sentences...

No. 1? In most important categories we're not even in the Top 10 anymore. Not even close.

The USA is "No. 1" in nothing but weaponry, consumer spending, debt, and delusion.

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