by James Hufferd, Ph.D., Coordinator
911 Truth Grassroots Organization
All of us hear it every day, always have, from all the media and from our parrot neighbors: “This country is (some add ‘by far’) the greatest country in the history of the world.” In the media, and probably, as an echo, for most of our neighbors, that assertion goes unquestioned, just a fact. And, by some measures, the statement long has been, and undoubtedly remains, true. It’s true, for instance, that the gross economic productivity of the U.S. is unmatched.
Not wanting to sound negative all the time (nobody wants that), I’ve thought long and hard about what else I can add to the list of positive ways in which the U.S. unequivocally leads the world or excels beyond anybody else. Frankly, it’s hard to come up with such. Corn maybe? Astroturf? It used to be said that a new immigrant arriving in the U.S. with 2 cents in her/his pocket (or no pocket) could uniquely succeed here economically and, given a few years, become patriarch or matriarch of a large, prospering multi-generational family, given a little luck and lots of hard work. But, is that generally true now? It’s not even certain that those crossing the border with thighs the size of cantaloupes could do it nowadays.
How about the vital statistics? Let’s see. Wellbeing and contentment of regular citizens? Crime rates and personal security? Longevity? Healthcare? Education? Nope. Look them up.
But, what about democracy and the political clout of ordinary citizens? As an overwhelmingly influential group? Open your eyes and ears! Justice? Rights and freedoms? These are being peeled away in sheets and closed in on more with each passing day. Morality? Ethics? Criminy Christmas! And don’t forget 9/11!
How about generosity? “Aha!” you say. “The gross amount of its foreign aid is a category in which the United States leads!” But a large majority of that is military aid, and comes in the form of grants, with the stipulation that the funds must be spent on our (U.S.) homicidal products.
As a grudging sop to those who still defend, or at least give lip service to, the still potent myth of “American Exceptionalism”, which entails this certainly remarkable country’s self-arrogated “moral” right to override every other nation’s right to freely choose its own path, and insist on monetary and/or every other compliance or annihilation at the point of a gun or credible threat of fates even worse, there seems to be a single point of affirmation. Living in the U.S. probably is the most comfortable option for most Americans – especially those Americans who exalt the U.S.A. above all the rest. Just as is, undoubtedly, true for most Canadians, Frenchmen, Chinese, or Papua-New Guineans living in their own country. North, South, East, or West, home is best for most in that sense. And each country certainly has its points. We have, in the millions, our entailed home ownership and our personal vehicles. On the other hand, I saw hordes of Japanese tourists all over everywhere during my recent spectacular tour of Iceland!
I have traveled a bit myself, and lived in urban Brazil twice, and have found that the average Brazilian, though perhaps oppressed (as if we North Americans are not), has about the same degree of personal freedom. There is a story from the Soviet era of an average Russian at last managing to achieve his dream of making it to his imagined heaven, New York. Disappointed, he writes home on arrival, “This place is full of foreigners!”
So, why are we always told, with a seemingly straight face every time, day after day, generation after generating, that the U.S. is unequivocally this earth’s greatest country ever, with the unequivocal right and obligation to all to recalibrate the rest of the earth in its image? (And that those who naturally resist are our “enemies”?) Because, that’s what all the purveyors of that unfortunately outrageously, wildly inaccurate myth desperately want us to believe. It’s the leading tenet of their religion (and source of wealth).
Just as this is our country, right or wrong. And it certainly is endowed and privileged to a superior (though not unique) extent in many ways, for our enjoyment and improvement. But, don’t forget that now, narrative is truth, at least in practice. Personally, I love the self-serving narrative, because I was raised on it. But the facts say otherwise. Money in the control of an elite will generally triumph, nevertheless. Unless… we, the people persistently enough demand across-the-board correction and quantum improvement. That’s the only way it can happen.