I consider the Team America song obligatory.
The whole concept drives me bananas. And to get it out of the way: I love this country. Faults and all. I emigrated here from Russia at age 10. If I wasn’t here, I’d be living in Putin’s Russia, and I am so grateful for all the accidents of my circumstance that led me here. Primarily my dad being an academic who was wanted here. The other option was Israel. I’m Jewish and have very many conflicted feels about Israel, and I’d much rather live in the US. Sure, I’d love me some universal health care and not having all my taxes go to a huge military budget, but other countries are hardly perfect. I’ve taken on identity as an American to the point where I rant about how “we committed genocide against the Native Americans!” even though I’m hardly part of the “we” that did that! But hey, if I reap the benefits, I take on the faults.
That’s the rub - no country is perfect. It’s fine to love your country and be happy you live there, but I find it utterly idiotic to consider it the best country in the world. There is no one single best country in the world! Even saying the industrialized world is somehow universally better to live in than everywhere else is stupid. Some people would prefer to live in their countries just fine.
It’s such an immature attitude. There are two areas I can vaguely relate to it. When I was a teenager and got a crush on someone, I thought he was the most amazing guy in the world. The smartest, the hottest, the funniest, the coolest. Now that I’ve grown up, I realize intellectually that my husband is the most amazing guy in the world for me. And someone else’s husband is the most amazing guy in the world for that person. But no one actually wins that award.
And when I was in college, I was convinced my university was the best one ever. Actually, even by that point, I was aware that everyone at every school was very “patriotic” toward wherever they went. I’m still kind of nuts and “bleed green” and irrationally despise our big rival, but I get that the latter is irrational and they have a better engineering program.
At the height of 9/11 patriotism, I had some foreign internet friends who got very offended when people posted “God bless America” all over on the anniversary of it. This bothered me; “God bless America” does not mean “God damn everyone else.” Just expressing some togetherness after a tragedy here.
But now I’m wondering whether to some people, it does. What got me thinking about it today in particular was that article about Turning Point on the MP. I think these kinds of people really, truly believe America is the best country in the world. Do they really think everyone else in the entire world is just that seriously missing out? That if they all moved to the US they’d suddenly realize how amazing it all is? Do they realize how ridiculous and immature that is? It makes no sense with a moment’s rational thought. And people demand the US president must believe in American exceptionalism. Because everyone loves the guy who thinks he’s better than anyone in the room?
Just letting go of this nonsense would already make us a better country.