Every citizen in every country on Earth likes to believe their nation is the best on the planet, and Americans too ignorant to comprehend they live in a veritable fascist banana republic are no different. It is likely that in no region of the country is belief that America is exceptional more prevalent than in the Southern region of the United States, but as study after report after reams of data continue demonstrating, the South is the most third world-like poverty-ridden area of the nation due to Republican leadership championing low wages, lack of access to healthcare, poor educational opportunities, and dependence on god and guns to pacify third world Southerners. However, the rest of the country can hardly be congratulating themselves for living in a “different” America, because the nation as a whole is rapidly sinking into disrepair and second-rate status. That is the conclusion of new findings by the Global Competitiveness Report with the release of their Social Progress Index (SPI) that shows not only is America not number one, it is lagging behind fourteen other developed nations due to fascist Republican economic policies favoring the rich and corporations.
To be fair to ignorant Americans whose egos are offended by another report showing their beloved ‘real America’ is real pathetic, the nation does hold the top spot in several categories near and dear to religious conservatives’ fascist hearts. America is number one for spending more on its military, has the most citizens incarcerated, and has the highest rate of gun related deaths among developed countries because it also has the highest rate of gun ownership and law enforcement officers. America is also at the top of the list of countries with the highest number of citizens believing in demons, angels, and creation, and leads every developed country in despising science, facts, education, and intelligence. In fact America, as a religiously fanatic nation, is approaching parity with the Islamic Republic of Iran and the religious right is working diligently with Republicans to transform America into an oppressive fascist theocracy to rival the Supreme Council in Iran, but that kind of talk will soon get one in serious trouble as forbidden speech in Christian America. As of last year, as the richest nation in the history of the world America vied for the top spot in child poverty trailing Romania for the number one distinction by a mere percentage point, but as Republicans continue cutting safety nets and child assistance programs they will soon be capable of officially celebrating America being number one in hungry children.
Some Americans do not need to be reminded that America is at the tail end of a three decade slide into a second-rate country and it is likely they also know the past thirty years of Republican economic policies are responsible for this country being rated as number 16 among the world’s developed countries. They are also aware that Republicans have made sure that 95% of all economic gains have been funneled directly to the richest 1% percent over the course of the last decade taking the nation back nearly one-hundred years in terms of wealth inequality, and created a tax code to starve the government of revenues to invest in public infrastructure. In fact, author Chris Hedges accurately explained in “World As It Is” that “Our anemic democracy will be replaced with a robust national police state. The elite will withdraw into heavily guarded gated communities where they will have access to security, goods, and services that cannot be afforded by the rest of us. Tens of millions of people, brutally controlled, will live in perpetual poverty.” Republicans are driving the nation to that certain eventuality and “real Americans” are cheering them on and keeping them in office because nothing says real America in 2014 like perpetual poverty.
Instead of rating a nation according to its GDP (America is number 2), the SPI measures data such as suicides, ecosystem sustainability, property rights, access to healthcare and education, gender equality, attitudes toward immigrants and minorities, nutrition, infrastructure and more measures related to social decency. The Harvard professor who developed the Global Competitiveness Report and the SPI, Michael E. Porter, examined social and environmental indicators that “matter to real people” to measure “the livability of each country.” He said, “We all need clean water. We all want to feel safe and live without fear. People everywhere want to get an education and improve their lives,” but it is those things Republicans’ thirty year economic policies have made more difficult, if not impossible, to realize with their devotion to the rich and corporations and blatant hostility to 99% of the population.
Some of the unsurprising rankings proving America has been in a downward spiral as a nation anyone other than racist, religious, and poverty-loving Southern conservatives believe is “exceptional” are; 70th in health, 69th in ecosystem sustainability, 39th in basic education, 34th in access to water and sanitation, and 31st in personal safety. Even in the ranking of happiness, America is a pathetic number 17 behind Mexico that is nowhere near America as far as wealth, but then again all the wealth in America is highly concentrated in the top 0.1% and only getting worse. Even though America is the technological leader in the world, the executive director of the SPI remarked, “It’s astonishing that for a country that has Silicon Valley, lack of access to information is a red flag” in referring to America’s 23rd ranking in Internet access that is only one of the SPI areas of shame President Obama has addressed only to be rebuffed by Republicans more concerned with procuring wealth for the rich and corporations.
In fact, every area that second-rate America lags behind the rest of the developed world President Obama has fought ferociously to improve whether it is healthcare, better wages, education funding, personal safety, and a cleaner environment. And the President has not fought for those areas to raise America’s ranking as a nation in some report, but to better the lives of all Americans; something that is anathema to Republicans more concerned with dragging the entire nation down to third world status they successfully imposed on the Southern United States to enrich their funding mechanism. It is noteworthy that the top nations in the world rankings all have universal healthcare, spend much, much more on education, have universal union representation, better working conditions, mandatory 4-week paid vacations, the highest quality roads and infrastructure, much higher minimum wages, longer life spans, much lower infant mortality rates, fewer incarcerations, fewer guns, and much less religious oppression than America and the people are happier by leaps and bounds regardless of higher tax rates.
America was a world leader until the 1980s when Republicans and their man-god Reagan convinced a monumentally ignorant population that government was Satan’s tool and handing the nation’s wealth to the uber-rich was the path to prosperity and the golden key to heaven’s gates. Despite a rapid thirty year descent into second rate status due to GOP economic policies, Republicans are still selling government as an affront to real Americans’ god almighty, and resistance to handing everything to the rich and corporations as greedy, ungodly, and biblically un-American. One wonders what it will take for Americans to come to the realization that the entire nation under thirty years of Republican economics is soon going to join the South and become the world’s richest third world nation. Shame has not worked; because after learning America’s infrastructure is worse (25th) than every developed and many developing nations, child poverty is second in the world, America is cruel and inhumane to its poor, and wealth inequality is at 1920s levels, one more report showing America is second rate will not move Americans to action. It can really only mean the residents of the richest nation in the world are second rate if this country’s pathetic conditions are acceptable and what conservative ‘real Americans’ love to call exceptional because their Republican champions created this pathetic and rapidly declining fascist banana republic.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.