Saturday, August 28, 2010

Stop Saying "America is Number 1"! It's Killing Us!

I'm so sick of everyone walking around saying "America is Number One!" "We're number 1" "this is the BEST country on Earth".  Not that I don't love it.  I do.  I love this country.

BUT.

When all our kids hear is that they're the best; they're number one, it means they don't need to try harder.  They don't need to do better.  They're already at the top.

We're not.

By any measure America has fallen behind other countries in education, health care, safety and security, shit, even Internet service.  We are only number one in all the wrong places like obesity, Diabetes, Crime and deaths from car accidents.  You are statistically more likely to contract a deadly infection in a U.S. hospital than to die from a highway car accident.  That's a solid, indisputable fact.  Look it up yourself.

In our grandparents youth, they did NOT go around saying that America was number one.  I've spoken to more elderly folks than I will ever be able to count.  They all say the same thing: They were always told they were not the best and to try harder.  They were told to work hard, study hard, innovate, in order to make America better.  The best.  That's how they accomplished so many incredible things like the space program, Hoover Dam, the interstate highway systems, sky scrapers, aircraft, ships, trains and submarines.  They didn't get motivated to think up those things by patting themselves on the back and saying "We're already the best.  Why try harder?"  That's just stupid.

So stop.  Think about what we are telling our kids.  Tell them we are NOT number 1.  We need to try harder to get back to the top.  And even when we do get back there, don't rest on that.  Keep trying.

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