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Looking to do better

To the editor:

Lately, some folks are beating the old line, if you don’t like this country you can leave.

Sadly, these people seem to forget that Americans are actually allowed to criticize their government:

“Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

Sometimes, even if we don’t like to hear criticism, it can help things improve. When we know better, we do better.

Facts:

America’s rankings in the world prove the old adage that America is the greatest country in the world doesn’t hold true today. We are 14th in happiness, 18th in social progress and rule of law. We are 43rd out of 180 countries in press freedom. We spend three times as much per capita on health care expenditures than other countries with comparable income, and we have saddled students with $1.3 trillion in student loan debt. In 1990 the United States was sixth in the world in education, and in 2018 we were 27th. We are the only country in the world not in the Paris Climate Agreement.

These numbers are just a few of our rankings. You might be asking yourself what are we No. 1 in? Let me tell you.

We are No. 1 in incarceration, obesity, people on antidepressants, overall crime, military spending and we have the biggest national debt the world has ever seen.

The education ranking is the most worrisome — it shows that Americans aren’t valuing education. When you have a population who looks down on education, includes science-deniers and flat-earthers and who are led by a president who traffics in conspiracy theories, it will take a huge shift in attitudes to change the educational downward spiral. It’s not a lesson to be ignored.

Now that we know better hopefully we can do better.

Barbara Davis

Wintersville

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