Best in the World

Patrick - Westlake, Ohio
Entered on January 8, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30

Best in the World

Throughout the history of mankind, there have been many nations and cultures that lay claim to being the greatest in the world. Many of those were noble and benevolent societies such as ancient Babylon which gave us the first written laws in Hammurabi’s code, and Ancient Greece which gave us Democracy. Others such as Rome and ancient China, valued inventiveness and creativity and with these strove to perfect engineering and governance of great extended empires. In today’s world many could possibly say that these cultures were sometimes barbaric and nowhere near being a utopia but for their times they were the best thing going. Our country is a lot like these former great states, many will not agree and will claim that this country has done more harm than good, but I don’t believe this, as a matter of fact I believe that our country, my country, The United States of America is the best country in the world today. From its humble beginnings a little more than two hundred years ago, The United States has taken the best from these past cultures and yet continues to provide safe haven and a nourishing yet stimulating environment for its people as well as being a bastion of democracy to the world.

I am extremely proud and lucky to say I live in the United States and that I am an American. The United States, while present on the world stage only for a short while in comparison to many other nations, alone remains the sole super power from those of the past century. To me, this country stands as a symbol of liberty, freedom, and justice for all, while doing its best to enable these rights for the rest of the world as well. This country might have its faults, and I do agree that yes it has them; but this country has far more positive aspects of character than negative ones.

The United States protects the rights of its citizen’s, and ensures many freedoms to the people, which are clearly stated for all to see in the Bill of Rights. Everyone in this country enjoys these rights and freedoms, and if they say they don’t they are more than being a little dishonest since they have the right to actually say this. All ethnic and religious groups are appreciated and embraced here. These groups are welcomed, not abused and more noticeably, not forced to convert from or discontinue the practice of their beliefs. However I do believe that this freedom can be abused when some groups try to usurp the guiding principles laid down by our founding fathers. The laws must apply to all people equally and all must abide by these laws. In the course of five centuries, millions have flocked to these shores to seek a safe haven, to create a life and to build a home. Today many still come to these shores for the very same reason that my ancestors did 400 years ago, to escape oppression and tyranny and a chance at the American way. The United States provides a haven for all peoples, regardless of race or beliefs; all are welcomed, protected and afforded the same opportunities.

I believe, contrary to what has been reported in some media, that Americans benefit from the most advanced medical system in the world. The rest of the world boggles at the fact that most every major hospital in the USA has a CAT scan and MRI prepped and ready to go, no waiting months or years for a necessary procedure; no year-end curtailment of care due to the exhaustion of the year’s funding. Yet our hospitals are used by people from all over the world who come to take advantage of what we take for granted. Not only do we provide heath and medical care for ourselves but we take it to where it is needed most. We are always among the first and sometimes the only to bring health and humanitarian aid to countries that suffer natural disasters or catastrophes. The United States government has provided twice the amount of foreign aid (nearly $22 billion in 2007) as the next closest contributor to the needy countries of the world whose governments are mostly unfriendly to ours. On a personal level, Americans donated around $300 billion last year to various charities both home and abroad and this figure does not take into account the time and energy spent by individual Americans on these causes.

The American educational system while, for many reasons both social and economic, is not the best in the world at the K-12 level, offers a collegiate educational system that is second to none. A little more than 650,000 students from around the world flock to our more than 4000 private and public universities and colleges.

This country has shown that it can endure the worst of internal struggles, struggles that have torn many other countries and civilizations apart. Struggles like the American Civil war could and would have torn a lesser nation apart but the United States was able to rebuild and cooperate to put the pieces of a broken union back together in a way that took a third rate world power to super power in less than 30 years. Even though we as a country are again going through hard times and some say that the sun is setting on the “American Empire,” I say that because no other nation gives its people the opportunities and freedoms to follow their dreams as we are here, our best times are ahead. And this is what I believe.