It's a question I've been asking myself for a while. I know what my answer is. Here is the character Will McAvoy on the new HBO show Newsroom giving his.
Am I saying America is a bad country? Of course not. I love living here. But I'm not naive enough to believe that my life couldn't be just as good somewhere else. When I was in Germany earlier this year, watching people go on with their lives just the way we all do here, something dawned on me. So many of the people I meet here who are so convinced that there is no place better on Earth than the USA, are people who haven't been anywhere. So they don't have anything to compare it to. They rip countries like the UK and Germany and France, yet they haven't stepped one foot in these nations, to see just how similar their lives are to those who live there. They have these bizarre ideas that we are the only free country in the world. I'm the first to admit that I adore my home state of Louisiana, and I wouldn't want to be from anywhere else. But my God, they have the 2nd highest rate of uninsured people, and the governor has made it clear that he wants to keep it that way by not implementing the Affordable Care Act. How can I say they are the best state? I can't because it's not true.
And what makes a place the best? Lowest unemployment? Highest life span? Best education? Best military? Best economy? Best food? Those are all different places. Why can't we take ideas from those who have the best in whatever and use them here? Not to have the arbitrary title, but because we should aspire to greatness to enhance our own lives!
People talk a lot about American exceptionalism. But really, the exceptional quality about Americans and America that jumps out at me is exceptional stubbornness. You're so young USA, look to the older countries around you and learn some lessons. You'll be better for it.