Brown: America Isn’t All That Bad


(Courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

By Jackson Brown, Opinion Writer


As the American body politic becomes more polarized, disdain for America grows. According to a YouGov poll, patriotism has unsurprisingly declined significantly in recent years. The country has many issues to resolve to make its citizens’ lives better. But that doesn’t mean the good in the country shouldn’t be celebrated.

Throughout its history, America has done some amazing things at home and abroad. From the D-Day invasion to the Civil Rights Movement, America stands to improve well-being and continues pursuing that goal — and that good hasn’t stopped. Modern issues such as the response to the pandemic, the income gap and elections show that while there may be flaws in the country, America still does good for its citizens.

The U.S. COVID-19 Response

Of the current criticisms of the United States, the country’s pandemic response may top the chart. From the start, America’s pandemic preparedness was suboptimal. It all started with poor rhetoric from former President Donald Trump, who consistently downplayed the virus as “no worse than the flu.” Of course, anecdotal evidence shows that if the pandemic had been taken seriously from the start, great damage could have been mitigated.

Along with this, America’s institutional structure did not do itself any favors. The lack of control from the central government gives states a lot of power — for better or for worse. For example, while the federal government may have encouraged mask mandates during points in the pandemic, states like Florida never followed suit. These factors, along with others, sent the U.S. into a spiral at the beginning of the pandemic.

But the U.S. rebounded as it typically does, starting with the vaccine. First approved in December 2020, the Pfizer vaccine became the first COVID-19 vaccine on the market. While scientists at the WHO predicted a vaccine would hit the market near the middle of 2021, U.S. investments of around $20 billion in research and clinical trials aided an earlier arrival.

After the scientific miracle of the vaccine came the challenge of distributing it. By and large, the U.S. has been successful in that area. By mid-March of 2021, the U.S. administered more than 100 million vaccines. This feat was accomplished with minimal vaccine waste, too. Many believe U.S. vaccine wastage was below 1%, while countries like France possibly wasted up to 25% of some vaccines. The U.S. certainly flopped with initial pandemic handling, but its response in the later days has saved countless lives in the U.S.

U.S. Income Disparity

Another common criticism of the U.S. is its income gap. According to the GINI index, the U.S. ranks fourth in income inequality worldwide and it only seems to get worse. As of 2018, those in the upper-income bracket held more aggregate income than those in the middle class.

Nobody except the rich likes to see the rich get richer, but is it necessarily a terrible aspect of America? It might not be.

Consider the late Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. In 2011, they held an aggregate net worth of over $75 million. That seems like a lot of money for two guys. But consider what their innovations provided to the world. Chances are that you’re reading this piece on a device first imagined by them and their teams.

Their companies also provide lots of jobs. Much of the aforementioned net worth goes into the expansion of the companies that already employ more than 2 million people at Apple alone. More jobs and more expansion like this creates an upward push on wages, which is possibly why median income has risen steadily for nearly 10 years.

Elections in the U.S.

Coming off a couple of the most hectic elections in the U.S. in recent history, many worry about our election integrity. Everything from foreign meddlers to potentially oppressive voting laws to ballot counting issues continues enraging members of both parties. These problems should undoubtedly be addressed, but it’s worth noting just how impressive American democracy is.

Every four years, more than 100 million Americans turn out to give their opinion on who should lead the nation. In a competition of that size, hiccups have and will certainly occur. The Capitol Riot of 2021 exemplifies such incidents.

But since the founding of the constitutional system, a peaceful transition of power has never failed to occur. That’s not something to be taken for granted. While American elections have some concerning issues, Americans can rest assured that their elections are some of the most advanced in the world.

America’s Not a Terrible Place

America has its flaws, and obviously many more than the three I pointed out. But that shouldn’t take away from the good that the country still does. Vaccines, job growth, functioning democracy and so much more result from the efforts of Americans, and we can all do our part in making each of those even better.

So, continue to fight for justice. Continue to fight for a better America for all. That’s what makes America a great country. There’s no problem in acknowledging that America is not always so bad.


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