My opinion is yes, America is still the greatest country in the world. Statistical data aside, the U.S. offers many opportunities to live a fulfilling and prosperous life. Besides occupational opportunities, America offers plenty of leisure activities to help provide a well-rounded lifestyle. It also offers democracy, which allows the People to elect their leaders. Democracy is the cornerstone of the foundation of our government and must be protected for America to retain its identity in this ever-changing world. Political freedom is the spirit of democracy and is meant to protect and promote the People’s rights, welfare, and interests (Unknown, 2018). Great is defined as being considerably above the normal or average (Dictionary.com, 2017) and it is upon this definition the following points rest.
- Land of Opportunity – America is the greatest country in the world because of opportunity. America earned the nickname Land of Opportunity because people are mainly limited by their own imagination when deciding what they can do here. A fast-food employee can take the necessary steps to transition to a company CEO if they are motivated enough.
- Justice and Equality – America may not have always promoted equality, but modern times showcase the great strides made to correct this egregious mindset. America’s judicial system attempts to ensure justice is provided fairly and without bias. The system may not be perfect, but the mindset of innocent until proven guilty presents the best opportunity for fair and impartial treatment. American laws are the culmination of growth and understanding as times change and only when it is determined what is just and unjust can justice and injustice be properly related to what is fair or unfair (Adler, 2002).
- America, like every country, has had its share of growing pains and atrocities. As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. noted, the racial inequality of segregation caused much avoidable suffering and unjust treatment in the court system (King Jr., 1963). Some of the things that make America not the best country in the world have been from atrocious acts of mistreatment of humans. No country is without blame in this area, but the thought of this mentality being condoned in what is supposed to be a free country throws a dark stain on America’s image and calls into question the sincerity of America’s claims of tolerance and diversity acceptance, even today.
- Racial tensions aren’t the only blemish on the America’s social fabric, and as technology advances, the country seems to be weakening from the inside out. More and more people are turning to electronic sources of entertainment and social interaction which results in a decline in personal social skills needed to physically interact with each other. Putnam noted that the Internet and other virtual means of collaboration are causing a civic vacancy due to lack of personal engagement (Bella, Madsen, Sullivan, Swidler, Tipton, 1996). This is creating a nation of zombies more focused on the screens in front of their faces than real world around them. Of course, this is not only an American problem, it is a global epidemic that is contributing to the loss of the feeling of civic responsibilities.
America is still a great country and an economic powerhouse. Despite its learning stumbles, it is a shining example of capitalism and the application of the democratic method. The U.S. may not statistically top many of the lists societies use to gauge “greatness”, however, the constant stream of immigrants of all nationalities seeking entrance into our borders suggests many countries see America as a place they would rather be than in their own country. The U.S. still offers many opportunities to thrive beyond expectation and live a fruitful, engaging, and fulfilling life despite the issues/conflicts inherent in any democratic government setting.
Adler, M. J. (2002, January 8). Six Great Ideas. From Cyberspacei.com: http://cyberspacei.com/greatbooks/h2/6gi/gi_024.htm
Bellah, R. N., Madsen, R., Sullivan, W. M., Swidler, A., & Tipton, S. M. (1996, May 08). Individualism and the crisis of civic membership. The Christian Century, 113, 510. Retrieved from: https://www.religion-online.org/article/individualism-and-the-crisis-of-civic-membership/
Dictionary.com. (2017, April 26). Great. From Dictionary.com: http://www.dictionary.com/browse/greatness
King Jr., M. L. (1963, April 16). Letter from a Birmingham jail [King, Jr]. From African Studies Center – University of Pennsylvania: http://www.africa.upenn.edu/Articles_Gen/Letter_Birmingham.html
Unknown. (2018, April 26). Week 1: The USA and the World. From Cyberactive.bellevue.edu: https://cyberactive.bellevue.edu/webapps/blackboard/content/listContent.jsp?course_id=_478003_1&content_id=_9665260_1