There is a large section of this globe that was blessed by Geography with diversity, climate, resources, and non-aggressive neighbours. It was acquired by its current human occupiers mainly by conquest, population pressures, and a purchase or two. Until recently it was sufficiently successful for the occupiers to consider themselves so far in advance of other countries that they could hog the name that belongs to two continents, as all those other political enclaves really do not matter much.
The world is in debt to this big country for the many great minds it has reared and that have increased human knowledge in most all pursuits from Agriculture to Zoology. So, what has gone wrong and why is it rated only 28th among nations in categories that count?
Answers can be found within its own borders in scores of good books, magazines, TV commentaries, and the like. We should be well aware of the problems but where are the fixes? Authors are not persecuted for their criticisms so does this imply a benign oligarchy ready to listen to reason or one that is so entrenched that it need not worry about protests that too often run out of steam and fade away?
The old adage "Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely" is only partially true. We are blessed with a fair number of billionaires who have made their fortunes honestly by providing the world with desired goods and who have then donated much of their wealth to better the world they inhabit. Yet dangers persist and are growing.
This country has two political parties. Oh, yes, there is the Green Party headed by two women with a lot of common sense but little money and rarely publicized except, perhaps, by PBS and the like. They have not asked me for a donation but the other two know I exist so ask me frequently. They already have huge war chests but tell me that, without my donation, my world will collapse. Sometimes I cannot resist replying, although I know my criticisms will be ignored but followed by more requests for funds. I tell them that I fully realize my donation is vital but the envelope is empty of money because, in addition to my donation, I am also doing their work for them by spreading it among Amnesty International, Doctors Without Borders, Salvation Army, Red Cross, Greenpeace, Environmental causes, and others - and that I await their thanks for saving them the trouble and postage.
I see no cure in sight that can place this country among the world’s best until money is removed from politics. With the huge sums needed for endless electioneering and intelligence-insulting TV sound bites, House and Senate incumbents spend so much time fund raising that little is left for governing and they become so dependent on the largesse of wealthy donors that they have little free will. They are pressured into ignoring the painful and devastating results of man-made global warming; they passed such nation-defeating legislation as deregulation and tax breaks that have benefited the well-known, and hated, 1%. This is frightening as, in addition to protest groups like the Occupiers, it feeds extremist groups in a nation where access to heavy weaponry is so easy and so rewarding to those who manufacture them that another Syria could be in the making.
Solutions could be sought by chasing off to Europe, especially Scandinavia, or to Australasia, but how about just looking north to a country that escaped recent financial woes with regulations, universal health care, gun controls, and a cheap system of electioneering limited to a maximum of 6 weeks every four years? Yes, you can also find human-made flaws there among the good points that outnumber those in that nation to its south. Its 35 million people cannot compete in foolishness with 314 million who believe that continued growth is the fertilizer for economic well being on a globe that has finite room, clean water, clean air, and arable soil and must adhere to the laws of physics and chemistry as well as economics.
Father Time continues his long and uncaring march and is almost to the point where procrastinating humans will resort to more catastrophic bloodshed for what limited resources are left.
Nature has blessed us with what we consider superior brains. Too frequently, Greed persuades us not to use them. Our civilizations must overcome this fault - or perish.