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Apparently the folks at The New York Almighty Times decided this week would be a good time to show everybody how cosmopolitan they are. And, from their position in Gotham, how they have a better interpretation of this country than the yokels eating barbecue and drinking beer over the holiday.

As those of us in flyover country were getting ready to have a fifth on the Fourth, the "newspaper of record" put out a video opinion piece earlier this week, maybe even an editorial, with this message:

"How great America is really depends on how rich you are."

That's what the opinion piece was about. That's an actual quote. If it hasn't been taken down by the time you read this, you can find it on The New York Times' website.

Before we go any further, let's stipulate something for the record, fellow patriots: This may be one of those rah-rah editorials (see below), but we know this nation isn't perfect. It wasn't perfect from the beginning.

Slavery is the original sin of this nation, and will always cast a shadow, even in another 243 years. We still have a year to go before the United States celebrates the 100th anniversary of giving women the right to vote. Urban blight, racism, drug abuse, etc. As long as the United States is inhabited by human beings, the United States will be imperfect.

But back to the just-in-time-for-Independence-Day opinion video in The Times. We think it was meant as a video column, not a video editorial, but we never discovered who the first-person narrator was, and only 2 or 3 seconds at the end were devoted to the credits. But that's shop talk.

From the very start of the video, those of us who believe in American exceptionalism were mocked. That narrative, said the narrator, was sold to "tiny patriots," as footage of young kids in school, wearing 1950s attire, held hands over hearts, apparently saying the Pledge of Allegiance. Well.

America is the "richest country" in the well-off club, our friend announced, but also the poorest. America has a "whopping" 18 percent poverty rate, he said, "closer to Mexico than western Europe."

But is America poor Mexico poor? Does America poor have any resemblance to India poor, or Afghanistan poor? There are many living in so-called poverty in this country that have television sets, cell phones and roofs over their heads. And electricity to run all the appliances. They may qualify for food stamps, and get their groceries courtesy of American taxpayers, but they also have cars to get them to the store.

There are valid reasons to believe in American exceptionalism. One of them is this: Being poor in America is nothing like being poor elsewhere.

(How did the video measure poverty? Answer: Dunno. It never said.)

The narrator, in his quest to prove America is "just okay," notes that Americans are fatter than other nations, too.

But used to be, when folks were poor, they were skinny. Because they couldn't afford food. That's still how it is over most of the globe. Yes, there is plenty of obesity to go around in this country, but much of it is found among the poor here. We can imagine what somebody living 100 years ago in America would say to that. Or living today in India.

More from our friend in the opinion video:

"But we have freedom in America!" he says, his voice dripping with sarcasm. "And everyone's jealous! Or something."

No, not or something. They really are. Which is why folks keep trying to get to this country, legally, illegally or in-between. They sometimes die trying to get over the border. We saw something like that happen at the southern border this week when a man and his daughter drown crossing a river. How many people died last year trying to get to El Salvador?

"Turns out a lot of countries have freedoms."

Yes, and they're mostly western democracies. And which country leads the western democracies? And which country would come to the rescue of the western democracies if a more tyrannical country threatened them? Hint: It wouldn't be Denmark.

"So what, besides our economy and military, are we actually No. 1?"

Wait. Besides our economy and military? If a body is going to measure the nations of the world, those would be good places to start.

"It's gotten to a point," our friend continues, "where you can confuse America for a developing country, as elections are tampered with, water can't be drunk from taps, citizens don't trust uniformed officers, infrastructure is crumbling, and where a duel system is emerging when public services are for sale to the highest bidder."

Gosh, this sounds like an Elizabeth Warren commercial.

America can be confused with a developing country? Besides Flint, Mich., where can't water be drunk from taps? Dude, we've got so much potable water in this country that we flush it. And when a Flint, Mich., does happen, the country rallies and fixes it. We're not drinking from the Brahmaputra here.

Infrastructure could use improvement. But name a country in which it can't. The rich can afford private security here. Name a country in which they can't.

The conclusion of the video: "America may have once been the greatest, but today America, we're just okay."

But which country is better?

The narrator, whoever he was, never said.

F orget about landing on the moon and World War I and II for a minute. The United States has led the information revolution in this generation. And changed what drives the worldwide economy. From smartphones to modern agriculture, from private space exploration to new drugs, from video games to the movies.

People from around the world come to our hospitals to fight their diseases. They send their kids to school here. According to the U.S. News and World Report's listing of top colleges in the world, the United States has eight of the Top 10. And 16 of the Top 20. And 20 of the Top 30.

No other nation is even close to the number of Nobel Prizes won. The American Navy keeps the sea lanes open for the world's commerce. Americans top the lists for charitable giving.

The next time the German economy goes into recession, Americans might not even know it. Germans most certainly feel it when the United States goes into recession.

And that's just the stuff that can be measured. But there is another reason why some of us believe that America is more than just okay. It can be illustrated by asking a question:

If a hurricane or earthquake destroyed Caracas tomorrow, or Havana, or Ankara, or London, which country would lead the global effort to rebuild that city--and pay for most of it?

We'd say that that country would be more than okay. Some of us would even call it exceptional.

Editorial on 07/05/2019

Print Headline: America: Just okay?


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  • limb
    July 5, 2019 at 7:38 a.m.

    Aiming higher isn’t a sin. And it isn’t because we’re flyover material, a 2016 election catch phrase that uses the stuck out lip as sound reasoning.

  • RBolt
    July 5, 2019 at 9 a.m.

    Some anonymous NYT writer hurt the fee-fees of some anonymous ADG writer.

  • jumpedcut
    July 5, 2019 at 9:11 a.m.

    In 100 years, when the paper will do their special "Pages From The Past" on the Democrat-Gazette, surely it will be noted that this here was one of the dumbest editorials they've ever published.

  • adrink
    July 5, 2019 at 9:29 a.m.

    Well done ADG! America is exceptional because because America is good! Christian morals and ethics have provided a foundation for the greatest country ever on the face of the earth. It is the strong and enduring residue of good that underpins America to this day. It is that underpinning of good that has resulted in blessings for all including those who hate Christianity and openly say so, and those who hate Christianity and will not say so. Our children must be taught where good and great comes from. Many will be surprised to learn that it is not the government. Our substantial belief as a nation in Christ as our Lord and Savior is the underpinning of the greatness we have experienced.

  • Seitan
    July 5, 2019 at 9:41 a.m.

    Adrink, America is a work-in-progress. Always has been. Christian morals brought us slavery, eradication of Native Americans, the subjugation of women, and a lot of other bad things. Fortunately, over time, we have risen above many of those things. But we still have a lot to do. A religion isn't going to fix the problems; people of conscience will.

  • Seitan
    July 5, 2019 at 9:46 a.m.

    Also, I love how these anonymous editors continue to bite the hand that feeds them. Without the New York Times, this paper would not have half its stories. Although they tend to rewrite the news to slant rightward. For instance, today's story about Trump and the 4th leaves out the part where he said we "took over the airports" in the Revolutionary War.

  • UoABarefootPhdFICYMCA
    July 5, 2019 at 9:50 a.m.

    left and right wants people to keep putting guns to their heads. left and right.
    left hates people
    the right hates people
    simple as that

  • 23cal
    July 5, 2019 at 9:58 a.m.

    About "From the very start of the video, those of us who believe in American exceptionalism were mocked. "
    Let me tell you about "American Exceptionalism." It is the biggest participation trophy imaginable. All you have to do is to be born here or naturalized, and you magically become "Exceptional." It is the claim to fame of individuals who have done absolutely nothing exceptional, unless being born here is considered "exceptional."
    We all know how much right wingers like the editor just love participation trophies, don't we? You know....despise them until you award yourself one.

    About "So what, besides our economy and military, are we actually No. 1? Wait. Besides our economy and military? If a body is going to measure the nations of the world, those would be good places to start."
    Military: Since China and Russia have the second and third largest military, does that make them exceptional? You can be exceptional without being #1,right? Isn't it wonderful to be slightly more exceptional than China and Russia? The active personnel of the North Korea military is almost three times that of the USA......does that make them "exceptional", or does size have nothing to do with exceptionalism? Size doesn't matter, right?
    Economy: The USA has the largest economy, but we just showed above that largest doesn't confer exceptionalism (see N. Korean military). So, what is your measuring stick? Stability? Under Trump, we are currently ranked #14 in stability, Finland is #1.
    About "Besides Flint, Mich., where can't water be drunk from taps? "
    According to a recent report by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) 15% or more than 70 million people may be affected by health-based contamination, including THMs, HHAs, lead, copper, arsenic and other contaminants.
    Here’s a summary from the NRDC report:
    15% of people in the United States may have dangerous contaminated tap water in their homes
    All 50 states have water systems that violate the Environmental Protection Agency’s Safe Drinking Water Act
    In 2015, there were 80,000 safety violations affecting 77 million people, and few had enforcement action
    Denmark, Iceland, Greenland, and Finland are the top four for cleanest drinking water....does that create Scandinavian Exceptionalism?
    "People from around the world come to our hospitals to fight their diseases. " Well, the rich ones do. But, that was the point of the Times editorial: "How great America is really depends on how rich you are."
    America is a fine country, but many countries have "exceptionalism".The bottom line is the editor is pandering once again to the uber nationalists while pretending his falsehoods make him patriotic. Brenda Looper had a good column the other day on the difference between nationalism and patriotism; apparently editor failed to read it or to comprehend what he read. Pity.

  • Packman
    July 5, 2019 at 10:29 a.m.

    The contempt political and media elites have for us Normals becomes more obvious with each passing day and was only exacerbated when we elected Donald Trump. Personally, they can all kiss my very Normal a$$.
    What really has many of the elites so upset is America is celebrating a day made possible by armed citizens. Want my guns? Nah, you can’t have them. Ever. #independenceday
    Hey seitan - Conscience that kills babies in the womb purely for convenience sake?

  • GeneralMac
    July 5, 2019 at 10:35 a.m.

    GREAT editorial !