Jeremy Truitt

An attempt to understand the world of current events, finance and the economy on a level that allows me to teach it. I'm a journalist. Oh and the occasional post about family, life and kids!

Beyond Politics: Moving Forward. Where Does America Stand?

I’m avoiding politics. Whomever wins today has work ahead of them. I want to take a minute to discuss WHERE the U.S. is in terms of a few metrics, as well as move forward.

First, I digress. Why is voting so important? It’s important because it’s the lifeblood of our democracy. It allows our political engine to operate and move forward. To do this it requires a well-informed people, a well-informed electorate. When thinking about past generations, I’ll quote Will McAvoy in the fictional show The Newsroom (yeah I’m a fan):

“We stood up for what was right. We fought for moral reasons, we waged war on poverty, not poor people. We sacrificed, we cared about our neighbors, we put our money where our mouth was…we cultivated the world’s greatest artists and the world’s greatest economy. We reached for the stars, we inspired to intelligence. We didn’t identify ourselves by who we voted for in the last election…we were able to be all these things because we were informed….by great men. The first step in solving a problem is recognizing that there is one. America is not the greatest country in the world anymore.”–Will McAvoy

That’s a bitter pill to swallow for me. I love this country. I love what we stand for, what we are willing to do to win and to grow and evolve. Where I worry is in the above statement. It’s true. America is not the greatest country in the world anymore. Is this Barack Obama’s fault? Is it George W. Bush’s fault? How about Bill Clinton? I said I wasn’t going into politics so that’s a rhetorical question :).

Regardless, here’s some stats. I collected them to the best of my ability so feel free to fact-check.

  • The U.S. is 7th in high school graduation rates among developed countries. (According to OECD)
  • The U.S. is 14th in college educated citizens among developed countries. (According to OECD)
  • The U.S. is 17th in reading proficiency among developed countries. (According to OECD)
  • The U.S. is 32nd in math proficiency among developed countries. (According to OECD)
  • The U.S. ranks 37th in life expectancy among developed countries. (According to the CIA Factbook)

So….where does the U.S. rank really high? How about this?

  • The U.S. is 1st in incarcerated citizens among developed countries. It incarcerates 754 people per 100,000. (According to the World Prison Population list)
  • The U.S. is 1st in defense spending among developed countries. (According to the DOD)
  • The U.S. is 1st in teen-pregnancy among developed countries. (According to The National Campaign)
  • The U.S. is 1st in sexually transmitted infections among developed countries. (According to The National Campaign)

I don’t mean to take a left turn down negative lane but c’mon. This is NOT a Republican or Democrat problem. This is an American problem. The United States of America used to be the greatest country in the world. I still believe it is in a lot of areas but one can’t simply ignore the facts. The fact is we’re in decline. The fact is, it’s been happening for a long time.

This may seem like a sappy way of appealing to “bi-partisanship” and reaching across the aisle, but it’s more than that. We need to change something and I don’t believe it’s political. I don’t have the answer. I hope someone does. Because my kids depend on it.

Whom I voted for today is nobody’s business, but what I will say is whomever is declared the victor late tonight or early tomorrow morning, it’s time to move on. Lick your wounds if you lost, rejoice if you won and get to work. At the end of the day, what we are teaching our children is where the country will head. Good or bad. So we must yet again unite as a nation and keep moving forward.

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