Hot Dogs Stuffed with Freedom: Is America Still Number One?


Source: 1 800 Politics

Beginning at a very young age, it is instilled in us that we are proud Americans. We’re always told that America is the best country in the history of the world with the best army, best government, best citizens, etc. But recently, when looking online for more of these reasons, all that was found were satirical articles of hot dogs stuffed with freedom and fat jokes about our citizens. Which begs the question; are we still number one?

A recent Huffington Post article called “15 Ways the United States is the Best (At Being the Worst)” lists just that. The U.S. is one of only four countries in the world that has not mandated paid leave for mothers of newborns (the others being Lesotho, Swaziland and New Guinea). America is also the only “advanced economy” that doesn’t require companies to give workers paid vacation. France has the highest amount of paid vacation days with 30, with the UK (28), Germany (24), Italy (20), Australia (20), Switzerland (20), Canada (10), and Japan (10) trailing behind. We spend the most per student on education, but we’re still 17th in education, with students in Latvia, Chile, and Brazil making gains in academics three times faster than American students, while those in Portugal, Germany, Poland, Hong Kong, Liechtenstein, Slovenia, Colombia, and Lithuania are improving at twice the rate.

This topic was also brought up in Aaron Sorkin’s new hit political drama, “The Newsroom”.  The main character, a news anchor played by actor Jeff Daniels, spouts off an interesting dialogue in the very first episode. “There is absolutely no evidence to support the statement that we’re the greatest country in the world. We’re 7th in literacy, 27th in math, 22nd in science, 49th in life expectancy, 178th in infant mortality, 3rd in median household income, #4 in labor force and #4 in exports. We lead the world in only three categories. Number of incarcerated citizens per capita, number of adults who believe angels are real and defense spending, where we spend more than the next 26 countries combined, 25 of whom are allies.”

Yes, Aaron Sorkin, at least we still are first in a few things. Our military budget is 4 times that of the next highest budget, with the U.S. shelling out $682 billion and China at $166 billion, while we also export more weapons than any other country in the world (30%). The U.S. also has the highest number of guns (88.8 guns per 100 people), and we consume the most calories on an average day (3770 calories per day), almost twice that of Haiti (1850 calories per day).

Maybe if America could step back and see herself for what she is, we wouldn’t try to invade other countries or solve their troubles. If we see ourselves as equals, not only within our own country but also our whole world, maybe there could be a chance for real change.

“So it is the human condition that to wish for the greatness of one’s fatherland is to wish evil to one’s neighbors. The citizen of the universe would be the man who wishes his country never to be either greater or smaller, richer or poorer.” –Voltaire