Tuesday, October 19, 2010

We're not No. 1! (Or even No. 2!)

Posted By on Tue, Oct 19, 2010 at 3:55 PM

Americans have big egos, though I realize this isn't new news. We like to think we're the richest, the brightest and the best. But, back in reality land, the truth is that we're not. In fact, we're not even close.

Here are some stats to consider:

America ranks 49th when it comes to life expectancy, according to The Raw Story.

Our country ranked 28th in the world when it comes to infant mortality rates in 1998, according to the Centers for Disease Control. But by 2006, we were experiencing more infant deaths than nearly every other country studied, according to MedicalNewsToday.com. We were ranked just behind Latvia. Latvia! Can you even find that on a map?

Brazil may soon overtake America in wheat production, according to The Washington Post.

America also ranks 13th in "economic freedom," according to the 2010 Index of Economic Freedom.

We rank 22nd when it comes to education spending, according to The Yale Daily News.

We rank 12th worldwide when it comes to high school graduation rates, according to the Christian Science Monitor.

And that's just a few stats. For more surprising stats, check out the Ranking America blog.

Here's my point: We've got to stop blowing smoke up our own asses and start looking realistically at our country's issues. We've got to stop treating politics like a sporting event. We've got to talk to each other, reach compromises and look out for our children's futures.

There's no reason why we can't be No. 1 in every category, but we can't keep telling ourselves and each other that we're the best when we really aren't.

America is full of ingenious, creative people. Together, we can get this country on track. "Together," being the key word.

Here's Bill Maher talking about this very thing four years ago:

Rhiannon "Rhi" Bowman is an independent journalist who contributes snarky commentary on Creative Loafing's CLog blog four days a week in addition to writing for several other local media organizations. To learn more, click the links or follow Rhi on Twitter.

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