Full disclosure: I am a huge fan of Aaron Sorkin. You could take a stick from a camp fire, use the charred end to write an “S” on a rock, and if you told me that if it stood for “Sorkin” I would pay $5 to see it. It is my opinion that Scene 1 of Act 1 of Episode 1 of Season 1 of The Newsroom is one of Sorkin’s best writing. Through the Newsroom’s lead character, Will McAvoy, evening anchor for the fictional cable news network, Atlantis Cable News (ACN), Sorkin confronts us with a stark, non-partisan, data supported dilemma: The US is no longer the greatest country in the world–we used to be, but no longer–we took a wrong turn somewhere.
You can watch the ~8 minute clip here.
So, what’s the data supporting the claim that America is no longer the greatest country in the world?
Well, it is not the fact that we are free. Lots of countries have freedom. Canada has freedom. Japan has freedom. The U.K., France, Italy, Germany, Spain, Australia. Belgium has freedom! Some 207 sovereign states in the world and like 180 of them have freedom.
And it’s not that we lead the world on any of the most fundamental measures of quality of life. We’re 7th in literacy, 22nd in science, 3rd in median household income, number 4 in labor force, and number 4 in exports.
In fact, we lead the world in only 3 categories: the number of incarcerated citizens per capita, the number of adults who believe angels are real, and defense spending, where we spend more than the next twenty-six countries combined, 25 of whom are allies.
There simply isn’t any empirical data to support the contention that America, today, is the best country in the world.
We sure used to be.
We stood up for what was right. We fought for moral reasons. We passed laws, struck down laws for moral reasons. We waged wars on poverty, not poor people. We sacrificed. We cared about our neighbors. We put our money where our mouths were and we never beat our chest. We built great big things, made ungodly technological advances, explored the universe, cured diseases, and we cultivated the world’s greatest artists and the world’s greatest economy. We reached for the stars. We acted like men. We aspired to intelligence. We didn’t belittle it. It didn’t make us feel inferior. We didn’t identify ourselves by who we voted for in the last election and we didn’t… We didn’t scare so easy.
The first step in solving any problem is recognizing there is one. America is not the greatest country in the world anymore.
Standing up for what’s right. Fighting for moral reasons; passing and striking down laws for moral reasons. Waging war on poverty, not on poor people. Sacrifice. Caring about our neighbors. Putting our money where our mouth is. Never beating our chest. Building great things. Making ungodly technological advances. Exploring the universe. Curing diseases. Cultivating the world’s greatest artists and the world’s greatest economy. Reaching for the stars. Acting like men. Not identifying ourselves by who we voted for in the last election. And not scaring so easily.
This kind of America–this is what The Continental Party is about.
The Continental Party name is derived from our country’s founding body, the Continental Congress. The name is meant to connote a reasoned approach to resolving problems, charting the commensurate course, and formulating the policies necessary to navigate that course–where conclusions and decisions are based on intellect, reason, respectful discourse, and coherent integrity, not ideology or situational ethics.
The symbol of the Continental Party is the sun that is engraved on the back of the chair in which George Washington sat as he presided over the Constitutional Convention.
There was some question as to whether it was a rising sun or a setting sun. That question was settled by Ben Franklin at the signing of the United States Constitution (17 September 1787); he was heard to identify it as a rising sun indicative of our country’s new future. As captured in the Journal of the Constitutional Convention:
Whilst the last members were signing it Doctor Franklin looking towards the President’s Chair, at the back of which a rising sun happened to be painted, observed to a few members near him, that Painters had found it difficult to distinguish in their art a rising from a setting sun. “I have,” said he, “often and often in the course of the Session, and the vicissitudes of my hopes and fears as to its issue, looked at that behind the President without being able to tell whether it was rising or setting: But now at length I have the happiness to know that it is a rising and not a setting Sun.