British Invasion: One last thing


Ed Gove '14, Opinion Editor, Online Editor

This is it. The last British Invasion column that I will write. So I thought that I would finish my year here in much the same way I started it: in quiet good taste.

Just kidding! I’m going to do what I do every week and waste the next few minutes of your life by reading nonsense that I have written. Or rather, I’m going to waste the next two hours of my life writing something that I hope you will read, thereby wasting your life.

It’s quite sad that I am leaving Le Moyne. Although I have only been here for a year, I have met a lot of people. And I feel I couldn’t let this opportunity pass without mentioning some names: James Cochran, Kasia Janusz. I have met some fantastic people this year, but you guys are, without doubt, also some of the people that I have met.

I have been here since August and written what feels like a hundred articles on your national flaws, but come next August, life at Le Moyne will carry peacefully on without me. And that is just tragic because you’ll still have all those flaws and there’ll be no one to point it out, which is in itself a tragedy.

So I thought I’d wrap up my year by writing about you, the American people. This is sort of like talking behind someone’s back; except instead you’re writing it down and printing it for everyone to see. It’s like talking behind someone’s back, but with even more grievous social consequences.

If I could leave you all with a message then it would be this: don’t take yourselves so seriously. That’s not even a joke. Or is it…?

It isn’t. I’m dead serious.

This is almost my sole problem with America. I say almost because I have sat down every week and written about all my problems with America and this has not yet been one of them, but they have all been in jest. This one is no joke.

Is America the greatest country in the world?

Did that get your attention? If I say yes then you can relax and carry on in your nice little world where America is this behemoth sitting above every other country in the Forbes’ Greatest Countries list [which isn’t a list I don’t think, I made it up.]

If I say no? Well, if I say that America is not the greatest country in the world then I obviously hate America and want to bring down your country with communism, killer bees, or something else that you don’t really understand but fear anyway. But that is just not true.

Is the United Kingdom the greatest country in the world? Well, it’s not the largest. It’s not the most powerful. We’re not the least corrupt. It does not have the strongest economy. It doesn’t have the happiest people. Sure, we have the safest roads in Europe. We invented a ton of sports. We make fast cars. We have that accent. But the United Kingdom is not the greatest country in the world. And neither are you.

There’s a drama on HBO called “The Newsroom”. It’s a masterpiece of a show, written by Aaron Sorkin. In the very first episode the lead character is asked “What makes America the greatest country in the world?” And the answer: America is not the greatest country in the world. Not any more.

An American wrote that line. An American loves his country but doesn’t believe that it is the greatest nation in the world. You should YouTube that speech. It’s interesting.

If you think that your country is the greatest in the world, no matter whether you’re American, British, Australian, Russian, Chinese or even French, then you are wrong. Especially if you are French.

America is a great country. I have enjoyed my time here more than I can say, but I have found the habit of many Americans to draw their national pride from the perceived greatness of their nation to be infuriatingly misinformed.

You all just need to relax and realize that, although you’re pretty great, most other places are just as great. New Zealand is the least corrupt nation in the world. Norway is the happiest. Iceland is the world’s most peaceful nation – although that is largely because no one is quite sure where it is.

You have some of the kindest, most interested, most fun people that I have met anywhere in the world. You made The Avengers. You have steaks that could sink warships. You’ve got a whole lot of “great” about you, and that should be enough.

Be proud to be American, but don’t mistake your pride in your country as proof that you are the greatest country in the world. I am proud of my country, but in a lot of ways Britain is not that great. I just love it anyway. You guys should do the same.

You may not be the greatest country in the world, but you are, for sure, the most American.

My congratulations for that, and goodbye.