Elliot Gerson gives an honest look at the current state of America in a fantastic article this morning. It’s an intricate work about all the various ways we’re failing in the world today. America is not the greatest country in the world anymore and the more we believe that falsehood, the more we’ll fail. My favorite selections from the article include:
The new xenophobia
Imagine if a politician were to say, “France has a better health care system than we do.” I can almost guarantee that politician would suffer electoral defeat — even though the statement, in most objective respects, is true. The U.S. is, for too many, the only country that matters; experiences anywhere else are irrelevant. Remember, we have many members of Congress who boast they have no passport.
Forgetting our own
One of the strongest indications of American democratic dysfunction is pervasive and expanding poverty. It is not just its existence in the richest country on earth that is shameful, but its utter absence from political discourse. Most of the poor don’t vote; they have largely given up hope. And what national politician talks about poverty? Can you name any?
The media also are complicit in the dysfunction. Not only has the kind of responsible journalism that once characterized much of the American press not yet found a new and a sustainable model of profitability, but political dysfunction is profitable for the irresponsible press — the shock jocks and the vitriol slingers. Yes, the Internet, and blogs, can be wonderful alternatives, but they also facilitate prefiltered news and can spread outrageous falsehoods.
A broken system
We don’t even discuss aspects of our governance that appear glaringly undemocratic from foreign shores. Just one major example: California’s 37 million people have the same representation as Wyoming’s 560,000. That particular problem is only going to get worse given U.S. demographic trends; the Senate could end up as democratically unrepresentative as was Britain’s House of Lords before reform.
This article was a great read. One that I hope sparks some interest for people to have a more global worldview.