and factoring the war on women, our racist police, and lack of a living wage. The bloody horror...the horror...the absolute horror of America...the tragedy...the evil...the hatred...whaaaaahh..whaaaahh!!!This is not even a little bit true. We have an aristocracy. We just don't codify it into law. Most industrialized nations (if not all of them) have more economic mobility than we do. Rags to riches is not only possible and celebrated in many other nations, it is more likely. In addition, other nations are doing a much better job of keeping people from having to start in rags in the first place.
That we have an aristocracy and are in denial about it is probably the greatest flaw of this country. It is certainly one of the big things keeping us from greatness.
No, we really didn't. A century ago we glorified the KKK as national heroes. 72 years ago we stripped 100,000 American citizens of their rights and liberty without any due process. 50 years ago, we still had segregation. 41 years ago, we finally got the idea that a husband forcing himself on his wife was actually rape. 11 years ago, homosexuals could be jailed for having sex with each other.
We won a big war in the 40s and we had an economic boom for a couple of decades after that. We weren't great. We just had a good period. Greatness is something you have to earn every single day, and we have yet to even come close.
I think that we could be the greatest, if we could face our shortcomings and do the hard work to solve them. But I don't think we will. We like our myths and illusions too much. We like to think that we're the best, and we like to think that we had some kind of golden age. We like to lionize the WW2 generation, but we seem to forget that they were racist, sexist, homophobic, and religious bigots on a scale that would be completely intolerable today. We like the myth of the land of opportunity, even though we have some of the most concentrated and immobile wealth in the entire world. We are enamored with our own stories, and they blind us. Greatness is not something that we had in the past. It's not something we have now. It's something that we have to work really hard every day to earn in the future.
Don't ever think that Americans who criticize this country do so out of hate. It's not hate. It's disappointment. This country could be so much better and when it fails to do so, it's tragic. But we're not trapped. We can improve. We could be the greatest.