This gripped me–the opening monologue of a new show, The Newsroom. Hard truths to accept, but what am I — what are you — going to do about it?
I miss the America I learned about in elementary school. The America I heard my Granpa talk about.
Will: “Just in case you accidentally wander into a voting booth one day, there’s some things you should know. One of them is there’s absolutely no evidence to support the statement that we’re the greatest country in the world. We’re seventh in literacy. Twenty-seventh in math. Twenty-second in science. Forty-ninth in life expectancy. A hundred and seventy-eighth in infant mortality. Third in median household income. Number four in labor fource and number four 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 twenty-six countries combined, twenty-five of whom are allies.
Now none of this is the fault of a twenty-year-old college student, but you nonetheless are without a doubt a member of the worst, period, generation, period, ever, period. So when you ask what makes us the greatest country in the world, I dunno what the f$@! you’re talkin’ about. Yosemite?
Sure used to be. We stood up for what was right. We fought for moral reasons. We passed laws, struck down laws, for moral reasons. We waged wars on poverty, not poor people. We sacrificed. We cared about our neighbors. We put our money where our mouths were. And we never beat our chest.
We built great big things, made ungodly technological advances, explored the universe, cured diseases, and we cultivated the world’s greatest artists and the world’s greatest economy. We reached for the stars. Acted like men.
We aspired to intelligence. We didn’t belittle it—it didn’t make us feel inferior.
We didn’t identify ourselves by who we voted for in the last election, and we didn’t, oh, we didn’t scare so easy.
We were able to be all these things and do all these things because we were informed. By great men. Men who were revered.
The first step in solving any problem is recognizing there is one. America is not the greatest country in the world anymore.”