In the year 1776, on July 4th, the United States of America declared its independence in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, by the Second Continental Congress. Since that day, the United States has grown and developed into what it is today, and—with the exception of April 12, 1861 to May 9, 1865—it has remained a united country.
Because of the actions in 1776, I have been able to write about my disagreements with particular political decisions. I have been able to say that the government of the United States needs improvement. I have been able to debate with people who have beliefs that are in opposition to mine. More importantly, I am doing all of this in a safe environment. My life is not in danger for saying any of this.
The HBO show called The Newsroom begins with a large rant about how the United States is no longer the greatest country in the world. The main character, Will McAvoy, gives a long list of reasons why it isn’t. McAvoy says this:
“We’re 7th in literacy, 27th in math, 22nd in science, 49th in life expectancy, 178th in infant mortality, 3rd in median household income, number 4 in labor force and number 4 in exports. We lead the world in only three categories: number of incarcerated citizens per capita, number of adults who believe angels are real and defense spending, where we spend more than the next 26 countries combined, 25 of whom are allies.”
He goes on to tell the college sophomore who asked the question, “when you ask what makes us the greatest country in the world, I don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about!”
However, McAvoy ends his rant with a rallying call to action, “First step in solving any problem is recognizing there is one. America is not the greatest country in the world anymore.”
Also, at the end of the first season, McAvoy hires the newly graduated college student as an intern after making her ask the question again. This time his answer is simple: “You do.”
McAvoy’s last comment is something I agree wholeheartedly with.
Every young person in the United States has the ability to improve his or her country. Every young person around the world has the ability to improve the world.
Through little events, such as informed voting and peaceful protests, the future can be shifted from one outcome to another.
Mark Twain said, “Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it.”
The United States is a country that gives us the opportunity to vote people in and out of office. So, when your government does not deserve your support, vote in those who do.