America is great. But not for the reasons you usually hear
In America’s political atmosphere today, there is a lot of talk about what makes America great. Unfortunately, we repeat a lot of old tropes that don’t hold much weight in 2016.
Aside from the things people commonly cite as making America great — freedom, our military, sports — there are plenty of things that make America a great country that have gotten less attention than they deserve. Here are five.
Many people have cited diversity as being what makes America great, but recently it seems our love of diversity has been left behind. Racial tensions have sparked protests and push-back from both sides. International terrorism has made life difficult for well-intentioned, law-abiding Muslims. Political allegiances have created divisions like never before.
But what would our country be without diversity? Even our founders, though almost entirely white, were diverse. Swedes, Irish, English, Russians, Dutch, Germans, French and Spanish helped colonize this land, cultures and languages so different from each other it’s hard to imagine them working as a unit.
Diversity is good for the economy, good for our kids, good for tolerance and understanding. In a November report, the Census Bureau said that from 2009 to 2013, 60.3 million American residents spoke a language other than English at home. There are more than 350 languages spoke in the United States.
These numbers should remind us that we are a great nation of many peoples, and because of our diversity we are a nation that is accessible to all kinds of cultures from around the world.
It’s tough to imagine the world without the internet, but if you’d like to, you can just imagine the world without the United States military. After all, it was the U.S. military that invented the Internet, and since then the tool has been used to connect and inform people all across the globe.
Throw in companies like Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, Cisco, IBM and Microsoft, and you’d be hard-pressed to make an argument that any country has helped accelerate the global economy and the world of tech more than the United States.
3. Batting 1.000 on Presidents
This year’s Presidential race has a few very controversial candidates. Hillary Clinton has been entrenched in the email and Benghazi scandals since her campaign began, and now people are making a target out of former President Bill Clinton. Donald Trump has been lambasted for his inflammatory comments about Muslims, Hispanics and African-Americans. Bernie Sanders is a self-proclaimed advocate for socialism, channeling an economic and political agenda that draws venom from the American public.
But one thing is nearly certain: no matter who wins the Presidential election, that candidate will enter their political office peacefully. There has never been an election of a President has that sparked a civil uprising or war. No matter how much people in the United States are losing faith in their government, they do trust the system that elects their public officials: and whoever gets elected will be accepted without violence.
4. Pop culture
Love it or hate it, American pop culture has spread all over the world. Love for American television, film, music, fashion and art can be found in nearly every country, which has helped make English one of the most spoken languages in the world.
In 2013, viewers from more than 225 countries tuned in to watch the Oscars. Movies like Batman: The Dark Night Rises have grossed hundreds of millions of dollars outside of the United States. In 2012, a Pew pollfound that “solid majorities in all eight European Union nations surveyed saying they like American movies, music, and television.”
Even more, Pew’s research found that of the 20 countries they surveyed “only four” had a majority that said they didn’t like American pop culture. In countries like China, the educated are more likely to have a stake in American culture, and 74 percent of those with a college degree enjoy American pop culture.
In a country where individuality and freedom are preached endlessly, there is one measurement of creativity that we could point that scores points for America: trademarks.
With 305,400 trademarks filed, America is second across the globe, only to China, which has an astounding 974,845. But China’s population of 1.35 billion people dwarfs America’s 318.9 million. In fact, adjusted for population, America has .00095 trademarks per person compared to China’s .00072 trademarks per person. Not bad.
That kind of entrepreneurship has even seeped into pop culture, where you can find aspiring inventors and company founders on shows like Shark Tank.
By A Plus’ Isaac Saul