Can You Say Why America is the Greatest Country in the World?
This is a clip taken from the premiere episode of the American television political drama series "The Newsroom" created and principally written by Aaron Sorkin. It premiered on HBO on June 24, 2012. The clip features Jeff Daniels answering the question, "Can you say why America is the greatest country in the world?" with a very thought provoking answer.
“Can you say why America is the greatest country in the world?
It’s not the greatest country in the world. That’s my answer… [turns to a panelist] Sharon, the NEA is a loser. Yeah, it accounts for a penny out of our paycheck, but he gets to hit you with it anytime he wants. It doesn’t cost money, it costs votes. It costs airtime and column inches. You know why people don’t like liberals? Because they lose. If liberals are so fucking smart, how come they lose so goddamn always? [turns to another panelist] And with a straight face, you’re gonna tell students that America is so star-spangled awesome that we’re the only ones in the world who have freedom? Canada has freedom. Japan has freedom. The UK, France, Italy, Germany, Spain, Australia, Belgium has freedom! So, 207 sovereign states in the world, like 180 of them have freedom. [turns to the student who asked the question] And yeah, you… sorority girl. Just in case you accidentally wander into a voting booth one day, there’s some things you should know. One of them is: there’s absolutely no evidence to support the statement that we’re the greatest country in the world. We’re 7th in literacy, 27th in math, 22nd in science, 49th in life expectancy, 178th in infant mortality, 3rd in median household income, number 4 in labor force and number 4 in exports. We lead the world in only three categories: number of incarcerated citizens per capita, number of adults who believe angels are real and defense spending, where we spend more than the next 26 countries combined, 25 of whom are allies. Now, none of this is the fault of a 20-year-old college student, but you, nonetheless, are, without a doubt, a member of the worst period generation period ever period, so when you ask what makes us the greatest country in the world, I don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about! Yosemite?!
It sure used to be… We stood up for what was right. We fought for moral reason. We passed laws, struck down laws, for moral reason. We waged wars on poverty, not on 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, 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 scare so easy. We were able to be all these things and do all these things because we were informed… by great men, men who were revered. First step in solving any problem is recognizing there is one. America is not the greatest country in the world anymore.”
― Aaron Sorkin, The Newsroom Script Episode 1