Thanks to the conservative era in the United States, the U.S. has still not adopted key policies found in other developed countries
The United States of America is unique to say the least. It is a historically progressive country currently caught in a decades old conservative era. It is in part, thanks to this era that we find ourselves lagging behind the developed world in education, equal rights and the moral high ground.
We are already fourteen years into the new millennium, and there are still certain policies the United States has yet to adopt that should have become national law by now. They are holes in American society that have been filled in every other country that partakes in western culture.
The following five policies America must adopt are already enjoyed by the developed world:
While the metric system is the official system of weights and measures of the United States Government, it has never really mandated its use. Metrication remains largely voluntary. The U.S. is the only country in the world to not adopt it.
The metric system is taught in American schools to some degree. Most sciences for example, like physics and chemistry, are taught using the metric system, but that wood you use in shop class is still measured in inches.
The average American therefore forgets about it as quickly as it is learned. If I went for a 500m walk in 30°C weather, how many Americans would think I took a long walk in a sweater?
The problem lies in the constant conversion. If Americans were only taught the metric system, like the rest of the world, there would be far less confusion. Kids would not get turned off by math or science if they had only one system of weights and measures. Perhaps we would start to see America resurgent in those two areas.
Another reason to fully adopt its use is business. Globalization has forced many American companies to adopt the metric system in order to stay competitive and do business with the rest of the world. Wouldn’t it be better if all Americans weren’t disadvantaged by an American imperial system of measure left over from medieval times?
Death to the Death Penalty
It never ceases to amaze me that the most religious country in the western developed world is still the only country that had not abolished the death penalty. Jesus said to turn the other cheek, but America still insists on an eye for an eye.
In 2012, the U.S. ranked number five on the list of most executions behind China, Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia. More people were executed in America than Afghanistan, Yemen and the Sudan.
The United States loves to claim the moral high ground when waging war, but they don’t realize that the execution of its citizens is seen as inhumane by the international community. Particularly when the execution goes awry.
There is no such thing as a perfect justice system. Even though some conservatives may try and tell you different, the American Justice System is of course no exception. You cannot justify taking someone else’s life with a flawed system of justice. No one should have to pay the ultimate price should members of his/her peers get it wrong.
America is a hard working country, no doubt. Of course many don’t have a choice. Americans have the only workers in an advanced economy to have no statutory right to paid vacations.
Workers in the European Union are guaranteed between 20-30 vacation days a year, while workers in Canada and Japan are guaranteed 10. American workers are entitled to nothing, zero, zilch. Even members of the American workforce who are allowed to take paid vacations prefer not to. 41 percent of them in fact, often out of fear of losing their job to someone else.
The United States is also the only country in the developed world that does not promise paid maternity leave. While most countries offer women anything from three months to a full year of paid leave when having a baby, the U.S. gives nothing. The United States actually guarantees only three months period, unpaid.
Some people, predominantly conservatives, may point to this hole in American society as the reason behind America’s greatness. But how great can it truly be if you work year after year without the benefit of spending those extra days with your family, particularly when it is just getting started.
Gays Marrying Gays
Gay marriage has come a long way in the past 15-20 years, but some countries have taken to it slower than others. As most of the western world ran to embraced gay marriage rights or gay partnerships (civil unions), the United States is still tip-toeing in the right direction.
There are still more States in America that have banned same-sex marriage than those who have approved it, but the numbers are still moving in a favorable direction thanks to open minded State Supreme Courts.
Despite the positive path, gay marriage and/or civil unions are likely to remain a pipe-dream in certain states without a federal law in place. If same-sex marriage is to remain governed at the state level, I fear the LGBT community will suffer in many regions of the country for years and decades to come.
I’m sure a lot of Americans aren’t concerning themselves with universal healthcare so much these days after the bitter fight over the Affordable Care Act. But the fact remains that the United States is still the only developed country without universal healthcare.
While Obamacare was a vast improvement over the status-quo, it is not by any stretch of the imagination universal healthcare. Obamacare is a profit based system that still leaves millions of Americans without health insurance, especially those found in states that did not expand Medicaid.
Compared to other national healthcare systems of the developed world, it falls well short on just about everything from cost to how many people are covered. Obamacare should be seen for what it is; a big Band-Aid on a very big problem. Despite its apparent success, Americans should not settle for it. The rest of the world wouldn’t.
If the United States wants to keep up with the rest of the world on education, human rights and moral issues, the people must force its politicians to wake up and join the 21st century. Emulate the solutions that other countries have implemented over the years so that we can tackle the bigger problems that face us all now, together.