It’s time for Americans to come to grips with the fact that America isn’t so great. For too long, too many have claimed that even uttering such a statement was borderline treasonous and made you part of the “blame America first,” crowd. Acknowledging your shortcomings is not only admirable, it is the first step towards improvement. If we are going to continue to walk around merely spouting slogans about ‘Merica, while it wastes away before our eyes, history will record correctly that we have only ourselves to blame.
America is a good nation that, at times, has been great and can be again; but we have a lot of work to do, starting with no longer being afraid to admit that at some really important things, we suck…a lot. And with that admission also comes the acceptance that other countries and their people are better than us at some things. Eeek! The horror. Check your xenophobia before reading further, please.
Ironically, the same people who refuse to allow you to speak ill of America in any way are also always the ones who walk around decrying the “snowflakes,” of our society and demand that kids need to be hit more often and told that they’re not special. But don’t you dare point out one thing that their precious nation isn’t the best at, lest you want to be told “if it’s so bad, why don’t you get the hell out?!?!” The ultimate American response; in a nation founded on free speech, if you exercise that right to criticize the country, you’re told to shut-up and leave. Brilliant.
Covid-19 is shining a black light on the semen filled Las Vegas hotel room that is the current condition of the United States of America; and it’s all our fault. We caused this mess through decades of arrogance, apathy, ignorance, and corruption, and we are getting exactly what we deserve.
It is not Donald Trump’s fault that America has vastly more deaths than any nation on Earth as a result of Covid, and that the virus continues to spread rapidly and kill 1,000 Americans per day on average. It is not Barack Obama’s fault that we weren’t prepared for this pandemic by failing to build up the stockpile of PPE’s in the wake of Swine Flu a decade ago. Governor Newsom of California and Governor Desantis of Florida couldn’t be more polar opposites in every way politically, and both states are the epicenters of endless Covid. It’s not their faults, either. It’s ours; all of ours, collectively. And until we look in the mirror and admit it, we will not only not get anything close to our lives back, but we’ll also merely resume the continued and endless march towards the literal end of the USA.
As an aside, none of that previous paragraph is an endorsement of any of those clowns mentioned by name, nor an endorsement or condemnation of either political party. One of the first things Americans must stop doing is looking to their elected leaders for…well…anything; guidance, money, answers, leadership, problem solving, lessons in adult behavior, jobs, accountability, ethics, morals, values of any kind, consistency, empathy, objectivity, action, compassion, solutions, intelligence, coherence, follow-through, and even comity to name a few.
Around the world, Europe and Asia in particular, countries are experiencing second and third waves of Covid outbreaks; and yet, they are also maintaining stunningly lower hospitalization and death rates than the United States. While it is fun for some of us to point out that massive outbreaks in Asia, in particular, clearly prove the foolishness of claiming that masks are the answers, it also dreadfully misses the point.
Worldwide, we’re all essentially going to get the virus eventually. The trick is surviving it, and America is showing the world how not to do that. As follows:
WORST TESTING EVER: The alleged greatest nation on earth has the absolute worst Covid testing system. American health officials anecdotally claim the tests are wrong as much as 40% of the time. Never mind that it takes between 3-8 hours in most places to even get a test and then 3-12 days to get a result. In South Korea, they get tested within minutes and get results within hours.
NO CONTACT TRACING AND NO WILLINGNESS TO DO IT ANYWAY: Countries like South Korea are able to almost instantaneously let people know if they’re infected, allowing for rapid contact tracing and the ability to isolate people who have been exposed, thus limiting their ability to spread the virus quicker and unknowingly to high risk individuals. This process keeps hospitals from being overloaded and allows for the slow spread of herd immunity. Meanwhile, in America, we can’t even know for almost two weeks in some cases if someone tests positive, and even if we do, the willingness of most to quarantine themselves is sketchy at best. To say that Americans are, by nature, not very compliant is to suggest that Kim Kardhasian is only slightly vapid. In fact, for months now the trend is for symptomatic Americans or those knowingly exposed to the virus, refusing to be tested, lest they be told to stay home and/or miss work.
THE WORLD WAS READY, WE WEREN’T: Asia has been preparing for a pandemic of this proportion for three decades. Europe began ramping up in the early part of this century and has maintained their readiness. In addition to stockpiling needed supplies and endlessly training their healthcare professionals, they also educated their populations and prepared them for what would need to be done. While it is hard for most of us to imagine under the current conditions, it is undeniable that had America spent two decades enlightening its population, perhaps more of us would have been less resistant to the idea that being contacted by a health official was the equivalent of the brown shirts marching us off to Auschwitz. After all, this is a country that eventually wrapped its’ head around wearing seatbelts, sneezing into our elbows, and informing anyone we’d been intimate with that we had tested positive for an STD. Americans are stubborn and skeptical, but they aren’t callous and cold to the point that they can’t be reasoned with.
Don’t get me wrong; even the most prepared still made missteps…and that should further highlight just how miserably unprepared America was. Italy reacted far too slowly to their outbreak and failed to isolate and protect their vulnerable and disproportionally large elderly population. But when Italy shut down, that nation was a ghost town. Images from everywhere ranging from Rome to Modena to Milan were eerie; and nothing like America when it “shutdown.” Somehow, our shutdown still allowed for about 40% of our population to come and go and deemed places such as Home Depot as essential (which predictably became packed immediately with people buying endless supplies of “keep me busy while I am at home so I can do projects” items). In Florence and Venice, you could throw a bowling ball down the street and it would roll endlessly, never strike a vehicle, or person, and no one would hear it. They complied; and once they did, they actually flattened their curve and emerged from the hell that America has never escaped.
THE BIG ONE; LITERALLY: Here is the ugliest truth of them all; amongst first world nations, America is the undisputed heavyweight champion in one area for sure; being heavyweights. It isn’t merely that our obesity rate is now 42%; it’s so much more impressive than that. We lead or tie almost every industrialized nation in diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, cancer, kidney disease, and COPD. If that list sounds familiar, it’s because that’s also the list of underlying conditions that puts anyone, of any age, at the highest risk when it comes to Covid-19. Two recent studies estimated that between 40%-60% of all Americans have at least one of these underlying conditions, and that’s based only on what we know; never mind all of the people walking around with high blood pressure and the onset of heart disease that aren’t even aware of it. By comparison, In Japan, only 9% of the nation has such underlying conditions. That may explain their absurdly low death count of just over 1,000 in a nation of 127 million people. (https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/12/health/coronavirus-midlife-conditions.html https://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/about-40-percent-u-s-adults-are-risk-severe-covid-n1234698)
Were it “only” that, I could make a viable argument that, in and of itself, this is exactly why I have decided to live with the virus. I like the fact that America is gluttonous and somewhat free still, and if the price of that alone is to occasionally absorb a very painful thinning of a herd that may include friends or family of mine, so be it. But it’s not just that at all.
All of the above is only Covid related. For 30 years, America has been allowing its infrastructure to crumble, has ignored its ever-plummeting miserable standing in the world vis a vis education, has done nothing to curb drug use, (including fostering and feeding an opiate epidemic), and has stood idly by as a mental health epidemic has swept the nation, leading to 60 million Americans currently using anti-depressants. Throw in having the highest per-capita rate of gun deaths in wealthy countries and you’ve got quite the ugly baby. Oh, and don’t forget that whole issue of systemic racism that we seem to constantly ignore, shun, and deny.
People who travel the globe laugh at the assertion that America is the greatest nation on Earth. One of the more recent phenomena within the United States Armed Forces are the endless troops who come home and start sentences by saying “Ummmm…have you seen the buildings, transportation, air travel, and general state of China, Singapore, Dubai. Abu Dhabi, Qatar, Taiwan, Malta, Australia, and Switzerland, just to name a few?”
For years, Americans have been telling millennials to travel to third world countries to see people with real problems. Maybe those same Americans should travel as well and see how lame the USA is by comparison when it comes to nation building. We’ve spent $4 trillion dollars “nation building” Iraq and Afghanistan this century, and pretty soon, Baghdad International Airport will be leaps and bounds better than JFK, LAX, and Ohare. And that’s the rub; it’s not that we lack the money, ingenuity, or ability to literally be the greatest nation on Earth, we lack the will and desire. We take what we have for granted and ignorantly believe that we’re the best and always will be…as the world slowly passes us by and leaves us in the dust.
In the vault of stupid rules society repeats blithely as though they make sense are things like “never discuss religion and politics,” “you’re going to catch a cold from the rain,” “always choose kindness over honesty,” and “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” Those are all idiotic, but few are as lame as “you can’t tell someone their baby is ugly.” America needs to look in the mirror and recognize how ugly a baby it is. If we don’t, not only will we never get asked to the prom, we’ll wind up bell ringers of the cathedral. (And if you don’t get that reference, you’re part of the damn problem).