Danny has got it right. America is not what it used to be. The place boomed after 1945 and continued until probably the mid -80s. But they say my generation had it best (born in 1958). There was no draft, no wars from the mid-70s to about 1990 and economically things weren’t bad. A friend sent me something on Facebook depicting a guy probably born when I was, in 1958. The guy‘s high school picture looks like that of guys my age. The caption reads, „Young people of this generation complain of having to pay for their own college. I paid for mine with my Summer job.“ Then next to that it reads „Adjusted for inflation, college tuition was $400 a year in 1982. Today it’s $16000 at the same school.“ Then it reads, „When I got my first job at age 20, I only made $15,000“. Next to that the caption: „Adjusted for inflation, $15000 is the equivalent of $47950 today.
No. The US is not what if used to be.
In the US most everyone can get an education. Even if you are poor, you can still have access to basic education here- you can still have some upward social mobility. I have been in many other countries where this is just not possible. Besides formal education, being back in the US I am very impressed with our public library system where anyone can walk in and have the opportunity to self educate themselves and have access to computers, language classes, etc. Americans also don't have the rigid societal constraints that I have seen elsewhere. People here are much more free to think how they want and do what they want without being suffocated by the pressure to conform. Perhaps a college dropout like Steve Jobs wouldn't have been able to do what he did in some other countries.
I think there are so many things that Americans take for granted. Just the fact that I can come here on italki or go out in the street and criticize my government without any fear is a beautiful thing. Hell, every night our TV talk show personalities can criticize the president without worrying about being put in jail! Our journalists are not being imprisoned. For the most part people in this country can open up a business without fear of being extorted by drug cartels or the mafia. Although there is corruption here, it is not even comparable to what I have witnessed in other places. In the US people also take 24 hour electricity for granted, as well as clean water. Where I live I can drink the water from my tap!
I agree with you SHL, things may not be the same here as they were in the past, but I can assure you that the US is not the hellhole country you have perceived it to be.