I bet that headline got your attention.
And, if the headline didn’t, the picture probably did.
But how can I say the United States of America is the worst country in the world when there are dozens of poor, devastated countries with hungry, sick, oppressed people? When there are countries run by tin-pot dictators whose only devotion is to their own power and to their own self-enrichment?
In fact, according to the Human Development Index (HDI) compiled by the United Nations, the five worst countries to live in are Niger, the Central African Republic, South Sudan, Chad and Burundi (otherwise characterized by Donald Trump as “shit-hole” countries). Following the top five (or bottom five, depending on your perspective) are these countries, all with an HDI under 0.55.
The United States is not on the list; it is considered, based on its HDI, the fourth most livable country in the world following Norway, Australia and Canada.
So, you ask, how can I say we, in the United States, live in the worst country in the world?
Because I’m not using the HDI. I’m watching what’s going on in the United States right now. I’m reporting about what’s going on in the United States right now. I’m basing my evaluation on a set of principles and characteristics that define the United States of America. A definition that has labeled us “the leader of the free world;” “the country with longest continuous democracy in the world;” the country Ronald Reagan characterized as the “shining city on a hill;” the country called “the beacon of hope for the world;” the country summed up by two words, “American Exceptionalism.”
American Exceptionalism. In other words, a country that is different, superior, not ordinary but extraordinary. A country that knows better and knows how. Except when it isn’t extraordinary and when it doesn’t know better or know how.
So, here in no particular order, not alphabetically, not chronologically, and not based on the degree of disgracefulness or outrageousness, is why I believe we live in the worst country in the world.
Inspectors General Disgrace
We live in the worst country in the world because in four days, Trump has fired one inspector general tied to his impeachment, castigated another he felt was overly critical of the coronavirus response and sidelined a third meant to safeguard against wasteful spending of the coronavirus funds. https://apnews.com/4440aa5a4c2216feb45ad06fb60e9ae1
As the Associated Press reports, “The actions have sent shock waves across the close-knit network of watchdog officials in government, creating open conflict between a president reflexively resistant to outside criticism and an oversight community tasked with rooting out fraud, misconduct and abuse.
“The most recent act threatens to upend scrutiny of the $2.2 trillion coronavirus rescue effort now underway, setting the stage for a major clash among Trump, government watchdogs and Democrats in Congress who are demanding oversight of the vast funds being pumped into the American economy.
“’We’re seeing since Friday a wrecking ball across the IG community,’ said Danielle Brian, executive director of the Project on Government Oversight, a government watchdog group.“
Wisconsin Election Outrage
We live in the worst country in the world because Wisconsin’s election proceeded as scheduled on Tuesday, after conservative majorities on the federal and state supreme courts blocked Democratic efforts to extend balloting for days or weeks to reduce public gatherings during the coronavirus pandemic. https://www.thenation.com/article/politics/scotus-wisconsin-election/.
The result of those court orders, wrote Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in a dissent joined by Justices Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor, “will result in massive disenfranchisement. Either they (voters) will have to brave the polls, endangering their own and others’ safety. Or they will lose their right to vote, through no fault of their own. That is a matter of utmost importance — to the constitutional rights of Wisconsin’s citizens, the integrity of the State’s election process, and in this most extraordinary time, the health of the Nation.”
Trump’s Vote-by-Mail Lie
We live in the worst country in the world because Donald Trump again urged Republicans on Wednesday to oppose efforts to expand voting by mail, falsely suggesting it would lead to widespread voter fraud. “Republicans should fight very hard when it comes to state wide mail-in voting,” Trump tweeted Wednesday morning. “Democrats are clamoring for it. Tremendous potential for voter fraud, and for whatever reason, doesn’t work out well for Republicans.” https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/apr/08/trump-mail-in-voting-2020-election
Last week, he dismissed Democratic efforts in Congress making it easier to vote in the coronavirus era. Trump said the move would make it so “you’d never have a Republican elected in this country again”.
During his White House briefing on Tuesday, Trump defended the fact that he voted by mail in Florida’s March primary, saying it was acceptable for him to do it because he was out of the state.
“I’m allowed to,” he said. “There’s a big difference between somebody that’s out of state and does a ballot and everything is sealed, certified and everything else.”
USS Theodore Roosevelt Indignation
We live in the worst country in the world because the Acting Navy Secretary (tell me, are there more “acting” Cabinet members than confirmed ones?) flew 8,000 miles to tell the crew of the USS Theodore Roosevelt that their Captain was “stupid and naive.” Their Captain, the only person in the entire chain of command who was sticking up for them; their Captain whose letter forced the Navy, finally, to take action to deter the coronavirus outbreak ravaging his ship; their Captain who was fired for his trouble; their Captain, the person they loved and revered. And adding to their indignation, their Captain who Trump is vowing to look into to see if he was “just having a bad day!”
And if that’s not enough, another reason we live in the worst country in the world was reported in another exclusive on the subject by the San Francisco Chronicle: “As the Navy races to contain a coronavirus outbreak on the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt, sailors left onboard to maintain and disinfect the ship are doing so with minimal protective equipment, fashioning homemade masks out of T-shirts at the direction of the Pentagon.”
The same Pentagon that fired their Captain for standing up for their safety and their health. https://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/article/Coronavirus-cleanup-crews-on-infected-Navy-ship-15185784.php?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_content=briefing&utm_campaign=sfc_baybriefing_am#
We live in the worst country in the world because many of our citizens believe it’s OK to take advantage of this pandemic by disrupting their fellow citizens trying to maintain their lives virtually.
During online learning at schools: https://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/20200406/coronavirus-florida-hecklers-are-disrupting-palm-beach-countyrsquos-virtual-classrooms?utm_source=SFMC&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=The
Excerpts from the Palm Beach Post article:
One middle school has halted all live classes, blaming “a significant number of issues with graphic pornography, sexual content and profanity.”
Mischief-makers are taking advantage of vulnerabilities in the (Palm Beach) county school district’s online-teaching platform to disrupt live classes with shouted racial slurs, foul language and sexually explicit images.
New York City’s public school system told teachers last week to stop using Zoom after a flood of heckling incidents in recent weeks. Teachers in Miami- Dade County have complained about similar problems, The Miami Herald reported.
Palm Beach County public school teachers are using a different platform, Google Meet, for online classes. But it has not spared many from disruptions.
And during virtual religious services and seminars: https://www.adl.org/blog/what-is-zoombombing-and-who-is-behind-it
April 1: A weekly Talmud class led by a rabbi at a synagogue near Detroit, Michigan, was interrupted by someone wearing paramilitary apparel and playing “Nazi music.” A second Zoombomber joined the call a few minutes later and pointed a rifle and handgun into the camera. Later, a third person joined and disrupted the call.
March 31: Antisemitic memes—including one alleging “the Holocaust never happened”—were shared by Zoombombers during Yeshiva University President Ari Berman’s remarks to the student body, according to a report by Jewish Journal.
March 31: An online Torah study session hosted by a synagogue in Massachusetts was Zoombombed with hateful language and epithets.
March 31: During a discussion hosted by a Jewish women’s group, a Zoombomber used the screen sharing feature to show their web browser, which was open to a Google image search of “KKK.” They then shared graphic drawings and said the n-word.
On March 30, multiple people joined a virtual game night hosted by ChiTribe—an organization that connects young Jewish people in Chicago—and took control of the screen, sharing graphic images and shouting offensive and antisemitic profanities.
March 30: A large Jewish nonprofit organization was hosting a call with over 100 people on when multiple people joined and loudly said “death to the Jews” and “Heil Hitler.” The n-word was also used many times and pornographic images were shared on the screen.
March 27: A synagogue in Maryland reported that their Shabbat services were interrupted by antisemitic slurs, including “Heil Hitler” and “Jewish scum.” The Zoombombers, one of whom had a swastika tattoo, also shared other antisemitic statements and one exposed his genitals to the group.
March 27: A synagogue in Connecticut reported being Zoombombed with antisemitic messages during their Shabbat services.
Trump Hawking Hydroxychloroquine Mishigas (Yiddish for “craziness”)
We live in the worst country in the world because the President of the United States, a second-rate “snake oil salesman,” is repeatedly pushing an anti-malaria drug as a potential treatment for COVID-19, with no evidence of it’s efficacy, no regard for it’s potential side effects, no concern that the people who actually rely on the drug for the illnesses, like lupus, for which it was intended, may not be able to access it because supplies may be depleted in a mad, presidential sanctioned, rush for a coronavirus “cure.” And all this despite persistent warnings from the nation’s top infectious disease expert that there is no “strong” evidence yet the medication could help rein in the ongoing pandemic.
“What do you have to lose?” Trump asked several times during a briefing at the White House, later saying: “I want them to try it, and it may work and it may not work. But if it doesn’t work, there is nothing lost by doing it. What I want is to save lives, but I don’t want it to be in a lab for a year and a half.” https://www.huffpost.com/entry/trump-malaria-drug-fauci_n_5e8a7766c5b6e7d76c661562
But why is Trump constantly promoting this unproven drug. As a diversion? To show he’s doing something when he’s not? Because he’s pathologically reckless? Could there be another reason?
How about this from the Huff Post: “Donald Trump Has Stake In Hydroxychloroquine Drugmaker: Report.” https://www.yahoo.com/huffpost/donald-trump-stake-company-hydroxychloroquine-112913777.html?soc_src=community&soc_trk=fb
Maybe true. Maybe not. Just saying
Some Final Reasons For Why We Live In The Worst Country in the World
And, finally, we live in the worst country in the world because we have elected governors like Ron DeSantis of Florida, Brian Kemp of Georgia, Tate Reeves of Mississippi, Henry McMaster of South Carolina, Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas; Lt. governors like Dan Patrick of Texas; senators like Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul of Kentucky, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, Marco Rubio and Rick Scott of Florida; and congressmen like Kevin McCarthy and Devin Nunes of California, Steve King of Iowa, Louie Gohmert of Texas; and the list could go on and on.
So, is America the worst country in the world? Or is all this simply hyperbole on my part? Despite the evidence I’ve submitted (and a lot more I didn’t), I know we’re not living in the worst country in the world. It only feels that way. It feels that way because we can do so much better; it feels that way because we can be so much better; it feels that way because we know we should be the BEST country in the world. And, sadly, we’re not even coming close.
Maybe Trump was right after all. Maybe we need to break out those MAGA hats (blue version only). Maybe after the decimation of this country over the three plus years of the Trump presidency, it is actually time to MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!
Note: As I was about to press “Publish,” I read the story about a South Carolina restaurant caught reselling frozen Costco pizzas to their take-out patrons…at a 700% MARKUP! Worst country in the world? Indeed.