America is Great: Despite What Celebrities Say
Is America a bad place to live? A new Gallup poll shows that increasing numbers of Americans would probably say yes. Patriotism amongst Republicans and Independents hit all-time lows at 58 percent and 34 percent respectively, and patriotism among Democrats was even lower at 26 percent. With so many Americans unhappy with their country, the logical conclusion must be that life in America is pretty bad, right? Wrong.
Life in America is fantastic compared to nearly any other country in the world, but this sort of anti-American foolishness has become increasingly popular over the past few years. This 4th of July the unpatriotic hate got so bad that NPR broke their 33-year long tradition of reading the Declaration of Independence on Independence Day. Instead, they decided to have a discussion regarding equality in America. Also, a host of celebrities took their anti-American views to social media, posting things about how sexist and regressive they think America is.
These people live in a bubble. If they would stop watching the 24-hour news cycle and instead look at what goes on around the world, they would come to realize that they are blessed to be in the United States. When Americans feel unhappy with their country, they should compare their lives with the lives of others across the world. A few recent examples of what people in other countries have to deal with illustrates this point well.
For the past two years, fighting in the Tigray region of Ethiopia has disturbed millions of lives. What began as a conflict between political parties has escalated into a civil war with thousands of people dying and over 2 million people being forced to leave their homes. The fighting has slowed, but concerns over food insecurity and the possibility of widespread famine remain. That is what real hardship looks like.
Over in Central Africa the situation is much worse. For 30 years people living in the Eastern regions of the Democratic Republic of Congo have been forced to endure horrid conditions as violence raged largely unimpeded. The Second Congo War of the late 1990s reportedly claimed the lives of millions and since then, fighting has never totally stopped. Tensions are flaring up again and about 5.5 million people have been internally displaced due to fighting in the region during the past year. Sadly, there does not seem to be an end to the conflict in sight.
The list of violent African conflicts that millions of people have to deal with on a daily basis is long, but most Americans have no idea they are occurring. Six coup attempts in West Africa in the last two years, increasing Islamic terrorism throughout the Sahel region, race-based rioting in South Africa, fighting between Al-Shabaab and the Somali government, the South Sudanese Civil War, and the targeting of Nigerian Christians by radical groups are just some of the things that make life in the world’s poorest countries difficult.
None of this is to say that the problems faced in America are not important. But in the comparative-perspective, life in America is wonderful and not recognizing that shows a shocking amount of ungratefulness. Life in America is full of freedoms that we take for granted every day. In the United States you can say what you want, worship how you want, vote for who you want, and enjoy much more autonomy than billions of people across the globe. Unpatriotic Americans seem to think that enjoying these freedoms is the normal experience of humans throughout history. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Americans should be grateful for the lives that they have. Are they perfect? No. Does the United States have problems that it needs to address? Yes. But we need to recognize that in America we are afforded freedoms and liberties that most of the people who have ever lived did not get to enjoy. So let’s stop hating ourselves and teaching others that America is bad. Instead, let’s work to make America a better place while remaining grateful for the lives we get to enjoy here.
This article first appeared in Townhall.