This odd notion of American exceptionalism, the “we’re the best” cheering, is usually only embarrassing to the Americans who know it isn’t true, not even close to true, and usually explained to the rest of the world, who also know it isn’t true, as the rah-rah xenophobia common to myopically dumb people wherever they may be.
Then another political season rolls around, and otherwise smart, educated people hustling for votes become cheerleaders to the herds of stupid-beyond-their-means potential voters. (I’m with Plato on this: people need to prove they are smart enough to vote for their leadership before being given such a power.)
Fox News has been about the task of teaching a significant percentage of the dumb among us that facts don’t matter, agenda matters, ideology matters, and facts are nothing more than those pesky notions best used to manipulate those less inclined toward critical thinking to support your selfish agenda. And Fox is pretty good at this. Especially with people who don’t travel outside the country, who don’t read international news and opinion, and only go to movies that give them the opportunity to cheer when “America kicks ass.”
If one has, as I have, traveled widely outside the US, over a period of more than 20 years, it is rather easy to see the contrary facts. Where it matters, the US struggles to get into the top 20; I have lived in some of the countries in the top 10, and the differences are easy to see. Here is a link to a web site that has gathered these facts in one place, in an easy to follow format — for those less capable of fundamental critical thinking.
It wouldn’t matter all that much that most Americans believe they are living in the shining city on the hill, that they are better than everyone else on the planet (although it is embarrassing to those of us who actually travel among everyone else on the planet, who all know better), were it not for how this ignorance plays out in the geopolitical world, how it is manipulated to support rather obvious political agendas.
For regular readers of my blog, this is preaching to the choir. But pass it along to those less inclined toward reason. Otherwise, they are going to vote for those people most likely to manipulate this antiquated notion in order to keep the dumb in their place, and our country in the same old mess.
Categories: Occasional politics