I try to keep politics off my blog, especially those relating to any side of the partisan debate. I am a self-proclaimed centrist who when asked what my political views are, I simply respond with a simple answer: “apathetic.”
Now, I’m not entirely apathetic because I care. For some goddamn reason I invest my time and effort into figuring out why things are the way they are in the United States and the world in terms of socioeconomic statistics. When the price of a gallon of unleaded gasoline shoots up to $4.02 I instantly try to figure out who is screwing me. It could be the federal government or some oil lords in the Middle East, or both. I’ve always felt it important to look at history as a means of improving the future (which is technically the present). I never understood those who dismissed events in world history because if you don’t know where you came from, how would you know where you are going?
I decided to write this particular post after reading an article about how the United States “performs” in a range of different areas as opposed to the other big nations in the world. The verdict? The U.S. has A LOT of work to do.
Here is an excerpt from the article that states how low the world’s wealthiest nation has sunk:
“Consider just a few wake-up-call facts from a long and dreary list: The United States now ranks lowest or close to lowest among advanced “affluent” nations in connection with inequality (21st out of 21), poverty (21st out of 21), life expectancy (21st out of 21), infant mortality (21st out of 21), mental health (18th out of 20), obesity (18th out of 18), public spending on social programs as a percentage of GDP (19th out of 21), maternity leave (21st out of 21), paid annual leave (20th out of 20), the “material well-being of children” (19th out of 21), and overall environmental performance (21st out of 21).
Add in low scores for student performance in math (17th out of 21), one of the highest school dropout rates (14th out of 16), the second-highest per capita carbon dioxide emissions (2nd out of 21), and the third-highest ecological footprint (3rd out of 20).
Also for the record: We have the worst score on the UN’s gender inequality index (21st out of 21), one of the highest rates of failing to ratify international agreements, the highest military spending as a portion of GDP (1st out of 21), and among the lowest spending on international development and humanitarian assistance as a percentage of GDP.”
Yes, it really is that bad. And if you just look at these statistics, some other things become more clear. For example, look at the mental health numbers and then look at the amount of shootings and acts of terror that have become commonplace in the United States in the past year or two, from the disaster at the Boston Marathon to the mass shooting in Newton, CT. Look at the lack of public spending for social programs that can rehabilitate the nation and offer a new set of values and cognitive thinking.
And then look at statistics like poverty and and life expectancy and realize that people work their asses off to make ends meat, mostly so they don’t end up in poverty in the first place. But all work and no play makes Danny a dull boy. What do you get for working hard? An early death. How’s that for a anticlimactic ending?
Many could read this article and take different things out of it as I have. Some might think of solutions to the obvious problems that have inflicted the core of this once-great nation, and I use the term in past tense to show how far the United States has actually fallen; maybe not in terms of wealth or greed, but in terms of not taking care of its people and displaying an “every man, woman and child for themselves” mentality. The dichotomy between the rich and poor has reached a whole new level of outrage and sadness.
We need a revolution. Not one that contains bludgeoning weapons or mass artillery. No, we need a social revolution where people start asking more questions to get better results. I think we as a nation are at least smart enough to try that.