Friday, July 04, 2008

Greatest Country on Earth?

On one point, we all agree. Republican, Democrat, Green, Libertarian - today is a day for waving flags and proclaiming that America is the greatest country on earth. Indeed, it may be the only self-evident truth we all cling to, as life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness have proven to be rooted in a dangerously 9/10 innocence.

On this Fourth of July, my mind turns to the unfortunate. How do the people of other countries get through their days, knowing that they are stuck in nations that are deficient in the greatness category? It must be debilitating to wake up in Belgium, knowing that you and your neighbors - your entire life - may be good, may even be great, but are somehow less than the greatest.

Does it depress Indians to know that their country is less than the greatest?

Do New Zealanders look around their sheep-flecked islands and think "Not a bad place, but it's not America, is it?"

Citizens of Chad, even in their happiest moments of national pride, must recognize that they are a pale shadow of the greatness that is America, right?

Since America is so obviously the greatest nation on earth, what pathetic shreds of dignity are left over for the rest of the world?

23 Comments:

Blogger meesha.v said...

Old Soviet Joke: Father and son worms are sitting in a pile of crap and the son asks:"Father, is it true that some worms get to live in apples?". Father says "Yes, Son". "Is it true that some worms live in the ocean?" "Yes, son". "Is it true that some worms live in delicious vegetables?" "Yes". "So how come we are stuck here in this pile of shit?" Father replied "Remember,son, this is our Motherland"

7/04/2008 4:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

See Bob Herbert's column today.

7/05/2008 11:23 AM  
Anonymous ray ray said...

the only current superpower (though China will be there soon) and the torchbearer for democracy...Yeah, I think we are the greatest. God forbid people to be free and make decisions for themsleves.

7/05/2008 10:59 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Ray Ray -

Being a military super-power is no source of greatness, if we do not have the strength or discipline to avoid using it to inject ourselves into inhumane quagmires.

As for the torchbearer for Democracy, we have a president who was selected by the Supreme Court, and rank below 16 other countries on the Democracy index.

You might want to consider calling Sweden the greatest country on earth, if it's Democracy you're after. If not, as you point out, you might fine yourself calling China the greatest country on earth if Bush does more damage to our military.

The real point, though, is that people who think the US is the "greatest country on earth" probably believe that the one with the mug is the "greatest boss on earth", that the guy with the t-shirt is the "greatest dad on earth" and that the circus is the "greatest show on earth". A declaration of "greatest" coupled with a sincere yearning for a superlative doesn't really cut it, though.

7/06/2008 9:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I guess saving the Western world once, the entire world once, and ending the Soviet reign isnt enough. Do you know how many people dies in those? before we entered? How about providing more food and relief than any other nation, or when other countries cannot stand up for what is right, putting our people in harms way for the better of the world.

Dan you brought in the military as being a precursor for super-power(b/c IM guessing you had a deep seeded disdain for them---but you will never admit it). Many people on the far left dont like the military and thats why most Americans cant stand the far left.

You are just another in a long list of American apologists. The fact that you post about a silly statement involving the adjective 'greatest...' shows your true colors. Imagine a BoSox fan posting something similar, apologizng for others of the RedSox Nation sicne they think they are 'greatest'. Dan would be there to post "but what anout the Royals fans"

B/c yo used Independence Day for this post, I guess you can chalk up using the anti-America card. Now you can get back to your anti-republican, anit-capitalism, anti-walmart, anti-coporate America BS you usually post about.

Finally, your supreme court line is classic. Since you have called yourself a smart man, I assume this was a joke.

7/06/2008 2:34 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Anonymous -

Wow, you bring a lot of baggage with you, don't you. I'll try to be clear for you, since subtlety didn't do the trick.

I am a very proud American. I would be a very proud Pole, a very proud Turk, a very proud Mongolian, a very proud South African, and I suspect you would be, too, if you were born in one of those countries. The difference between you and me is that you would be foolish enough to claim that each of those countries is "the greatest", while I would be smart enough to say, in each instance, "well, wait a minute . . .".

Our shared success in the World Wars, you must agree, is hardly solely attributable to us alone, and it could be argued that our delay in entering both (certainly the first) was a bit of a problem.

As for foreign aid, that's a very complex issue - we are NOT the greatest givers, despite some confusion by those who fall for our own propaganda. Read up on it - but don't spread the nonsense any further until you do, okay?

One of our inarguable strengths is our literacy rate - if you resort to reading, you will see I did not bring the military into this discussion first. My support of our nation's military is questionable only by those who do not read carefully. (As a side question, though, does that mean that, in your opinion, America was not great until after WWII, when it became one of two superpowers?)

Speaking of literacy, do you know the meaning of the word "apologist"? Do you think you used it correctly?

I don't attack your patriotism - though I do point out a few holes in your literacy and in your sense of perspective. America is a great country, and I am quite aware that I am fortunate, at least in the material sense, to have been born here.

7/06/2008 3:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's where you're wrong. If I were living in another country, I would be unpatriotic until I could sneak into America, the greatest country on earth.

Illegals are the truest patriots.

7/06/2008 4:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

See http://www.winsteadskc.com/history.php

"Anyone", he [Trillin] says, "who doesn't think his hometown has the best hamburger place in the world is a sissy."

Same thing for pride in one's country could be said.

7/06/2008 10:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As the late George Carlin once said, pride in something over which you have no control is fucking stupid. It's like being proud to be blue eyed or proud of being tall.

7/07/2008 4:25 PM  
Blogger craig said...

"It's like being proud to be blue eyed or proud of being tall."

Hey, I take that personally.

Carlin did have a point.
But that doesn't make Dan's unpatriotic rant any more accurate.

7/07/2008 5:51 PM  
Anonymous ray ray said...

Dan, what would Mongols, or Poles or South Afrikans or any else use as support to say they are the "greatest country?" I have no problem with anyone saying it but what would they say? Once you have applied that simple deduction to all nations, who exactly would compare to our history?

Also why didnt you address the 'Bush stole the election' flub? Too embarassed to read your own writing?

Finally, anon 2:34 was me

7/07/2008 10:27 PM  
Anonymous ray ray said...

Dan, what would Mongols, or Poles or South Afrikans or any else use as support to say they are the "greatest country?" I have no problem with anyone saying it but what would they say? Once you have applied that simple deduction to all nations, who exactly would compare to our history?

Also why didnt you address the 'Bush stole the election' flub? Too embarassed to read your own writing?

Finally, anon 2:34 was me

7/07/2008 10:27 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Anonymous 2:34 and Ray Ray -

What makes you think I'm embarrassed by my writing, when it's you who posts anonymously? The truth is that the Supreme Court cut short the recount in Florida, violating states' rights. The truth is that Gore actually won Florida.

I have demonstrated your error in claiming we are the torchbearer for democracy (#16), that military might makes a country the greatest, and that we are the best givers in the world.

As for why Poles, Turks, etc., might claim they are the greatest, how the heck should I know? I'm merely pointing out that they would be no more accurate than you are in claiming the superlative.

America is a great country, as I've said above. It's just a shame that so many people like you feel the need to gild the lily.

7/07/2008 10:45 PM  
Anonymous ray ray said...

Dan, since you are a self descibed 'smart guy;, what say you about this:

http://www.nytimes.com/2001/11/12/politics/12VOTE.html?ex=1215662400&en=a301cf8cac0d2e80&ei=5070

7/07/2008 11:22 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

"But the consortium, looking at a broader group of rejected ballots than those covered in the court decisions, 175,010 in all, found that Mr. Gore might have won if the courts had ordered a full statewide recount of all the rejected ballots. This also assumes that county canvassing boards would have reached the same conclusions about the disputed ballots that the consortium's independent observers did. The findings indicate that Mr. Gore might have eked out a victory if he had pursued in court a course like the one he publicly advocated when he called on the state to "count all the votes.""

7/07/2008 11:28 PM  
Anonymous ray ray said...

Dan, you said "As for the torchbearer for Democracy, we have a president who was selected by the Supreme Court".

This article says the exact opposite.

Spin, Spin, Spin..."Might...Might...Might"


LOL

7/07/2008 11:38 PM  
Anonymous Luke said...

"The truth is that Gore actually won Florida."

"Mr. Gore might have won" and "Mr. Gore might have eked out a victory".

Dan actually posted the statements quoted above. Some people might find Dan to be honest.

Don't worry Dan, there is one thing we can count on. America is not proud of you.

A man that lacks integrity is no man at all.

7/07/2008 11:42 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Ray Ray -

The simple fact is that the Supreme Court did substitute its judgment for the voters. The fact that we are arguing about what the real result would have been affirms the fact that the "real" result was not what mattered in putting Bush into office. For all we knew when the Supreme Court stopped the counting, it could have been a large margin for Bush, or a large margin for Gore. But, when the Supreme Court selected Bush, it stopped mattering. That's why I'm right, not because it so happens that Gore really won.

7/07/2008 11:44 PM  
Anonymous ray ray said...

we must be reading different articles

7/07/2008 11:48 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Ray Ray -

You've raised an interesting point. According to the Wikipedia article on the recount, and the NYT article if you read it carefully, Gore got the most votes in Florida, though he might not have sought the correct remedy.

Regardless of the real vote, though, the real vote completely lost its relevance when the Supreme Court substituted its judgment for the ballots. Even if every uncounted vote had been a Bush vote, it would not have mattered - all that mattered was the Supreme Court stopping the recount. Similarly, if every uncounted vote had been a Gore vote, it would not have mattered.

Talking about who really won in Florida is an interesting but pointless exercise, isn't it? Even if I could prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that Gore won Florida by 3 million votes, it would not matter, because the Supreme Court, as I stated above, selected the president.

Even setting the Gore/Bush episode aside, we are #16 in Democracy, not number one.

7/07/2008 11:58 PM  
Anonymous ray ray said...

except the article says the opposite: "Contrary to what many partisans of former Vice President Al Gore have charged, the United States Supreme Court did not award an election to Mr. Bush that otherwise would have been won by Mr. Gore"

Spin, Spun, Done

7/08/2008 12:07 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

Ray -

But if you read the article, you see that they mean that the recount which Florida was conducting would not have uncovered the Gore victory. Plus, if you read carefully, the NYT makes the same point I do, though from a slightly different interpretation of the recount.

They are saying the S. Ct. awarded Bush a presidency he would have won, had the recount continued. Either way, though, the S. Ct. awarded Bush the presidency, NOT the votes of Floridians.

7/08/2008 5:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love the US. It is the greatest country on earth but from someone who has lived in different countries around the world I think that acting like people wake up thinking about how they can be better than the US is a real stretch.

If anything unfortunately over the last eight years people have been waking up thinking about how they can not be like the US. It's time we put Obama in office and restore our credibility around the world. Our reputation as the greatest is seriously at risk.

7/10/2008 9:38 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home