The Greatest Country
By Georgie Bright Kunkel
When I hear our president or anyone else spout about our country being the greatest country in the world, I become nauseous. I was brought up to share and not to engage in braggadocio behavior. I can hardly sing the national anthem without shuddering when everyone sings about the bombs bursting in air. I always have wondered what being the greatest country means anyway. If it means being the richest, then owing more than any other country puts us out of the running for that prize. Being far down the list of countries in providing early childhood and college education for citizens wouldn’t qualify this country for plaudits. And as to most affordable health care, that honor is already taken.
Claiming to be the greatest is a thorn in the side of those who have much less power in our society. Guns and bombs appear to be the great leveler in a violent society which hasn’t yet realized that we no longer live in the old west. We are in a profit making system which does not feed and clothe and house the poor. So those who can only envy the display of goodies on TV, resort to ways of venting their anger by using guns or explosives to make a statement to those in power.
Don’t get me wrong, there are few other countries where I would prefer to live. After traveling about the world, I came back home, tossing my downsized travel bag onto the bed and welcoming my familiar surroundings once again. When I was in Italy far from the beaten track I was asked how I liked our U.S. president. I think I scowled as I answered, “I didn’t vote for him.” The one who asked me that question was one of the most handsome young men that I had ever seen. Wow, what they say about handsome Italians is true. I loved walking in and out past the reception desk of our hotel just so I could get a glimpse of his smiling presence. After all, I had left my husband home since he couldn’t travel anymore and when I glimpsed this handsome face it made me homesick.
Now fast forward to more recent times. Does daydreaming about my husband now that I am dating make me a bigamist? No it doesn’t but it is great material for the comedy stage. I have evolved in my comedy style from pretending to be Minnie Pearl to complaining about not having a date and then on to dating a fellow who is slightly younger than I am. After all, I don’t think there are many men my age still alive.
You now know that I am not for bragging about this country being the greatest but I really don’t mind bragging about being the oldest. I was probably the oldest to be filmed on the Seattle Antiques Road Show airing this coming May. But I stop at owning or ever using a gun. And I certainly am glad that I got my American tourist urge out of my system in my younger years. Someday if our economy crashes even further and we can no longer play Rich American Tourist we won’t be so welcome overseas. This country of ours is on shaky ground for competing for the title of greatest country in the world. So until we figure out how to make changes that will benefit all levels of society, let’s stop bragging and start leveling the playing field for everyone.
Georgie Bright Kunkel is a freelance writer who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 206-935-8663.