Every year, US News and World Report teams up with the Wharton School and an international consulting outfit calling itself BAV Group to produce a ranking of the world’s nations, based on various indices judged crucial to quality of life: affordability, job market, economic stability, family friendliness, income equality, political stability, public safety, the public education system, and the public health system. Every year, Canada is at or near the top of the list, which, overall, seems to send a bit of message about what sort of political and economic systems make for a nice place to live. This year’s rankings:
Hmm. Seems altogether lousy with those accursed democratic socialists, doesn’t it? Where are the Americans? Down around 17th place. Another list is produced annually, ranking “best overall” based on additional factors such as national power and cultural influence, and this time the US does crack the top 10, placing 8th, but damned if that roster isn’t clogged with bloody Europeans and their Canadian pals too.
What gives? Surely, no country is better at anything, by any metric, than the good old US of A, right?
The hottest topic this election season in America is the Democratic Party’s supposed “lurch to the far left”, which is decried by all Republicans as “socialist”, which is to say “evil”, and moaned about even by those conservatives who’ve quit the party and wish fervently to see Trump shown the door. Oh my God! The Dems want a public health care option!! Horrors! The Dems want to grant student debt relief, and put public money into fighting climate change, and education, and who knows what else!! Death would be preferable! Anyway, how in the name of God can all that be paid for?
Well, the same way everybody else pays for it, dumbass conservatives. The same way you pay for your ridiculous, interminable wars while cutting taxes on the rich to the tune of trillions in revenue. The same way you can dig 14 billion semolians out of your wallet for an aircraft carrier that doesn’t even work – think about that one, numbnuts. The US Navy can’t even buy a working aircraft carrier any more, but oh well, let’s build three more just like it and see how it turns out. No, by all means, keep wallowing in your greatness, your exceptionalist status as the City on a Hill, and run around hollering USA! USA! at the top of your lungs.
The thing is, though, that you’re not number one at anything, except maybe blowing things up with precision-guided munitions, you still do that pretty well. Otherwise, you pretty much suck at most of the things that make life bearable in a civil society, and if the GOP gets its way you’ll only get worse.
Meanwhile, those of us out here in the world aren’t buying it any longer. Some of us are sad, some merely mystified at all your ludicrous chest thumping. From where we sit the Democrats’ purported swerve toward the radical leftist fringe looks more like a few halting steps towards the common sense middle ground, but hey, you guys know best about everything, right? Anyway, you can sell it, because your population is so appallingly, painfully ignorant that they can’t even find the country where I live on a map (it’s that huge space right above you, which no, is not a US State or protectorate like Puerto Rico – the one down below is Mexico, also independent, and the place where all those rapists and hispanic gang-bangers come from).
Say, if you want to have some fun, type “stupid things Americans believe” into Google. It’s really hard to pick an absolute favourite among the wealth of widely-held moronic notions, but among the most delightful are that about 20% of Americans think the Sun goes around the Earth, and more people can name the Three Stooges than the three branches of government. It’s also fun that the flat-Earthers are gaining traction, though not as fast as the anti-vaxxers, who get a leg up with the vocal help of some spectacularly idiotic celebrity dum-dums. It’s probably no surprise at this point that roughly 3/4 of the population can’t find Israel, Iran, Iraq, or Afghanistan on a map, and that a solid majority pointed to Australia when asked to locate North Korea. Much more hilarious is that a plurality of those surveyed couldn’t find New York State on a map, either. Really, look it up, there’s thousands of lists out there, covering all manner of American misconceptions and outright imbecilic ideas, with very little overlap. Hours of fun.
Republicans, you can stop worrying; the gen. pop. is more than dumb enough to give Trump four more years, even if the election is fair and you let the minorities vote, which you won’t. It’s practically in the bag.
Meanwhile, up here in socialist Canada – “Soviet Canuckistan” to Fox News – we’ll take quiet satisfaction in our status among nations, but we won’t brag about it much to outsiders. We don’t really go in for that. Actually, it’s more in our nature to look worriedly at what’s going on south of the border and wonder whether the contagion will spread north, infecting our own body politic to the point that we squander all we’ve achieved. It’s possible. Here in Ontario, our largest province, we’ve elected as Premier a rocks-in-his-head cretin almost as stupid and corrupt as Donald, and another one quite like him is vying for Prime Minister, which is scary. I’m certainly scared.
For now, though, we’re number one, or maybe three, depending on what list you consult, and that’s nice to know, today of all days. Happy Canada Day, everybody. Remember what you’ve got, and hold fast to it. You’ve seen what can happen.