Understanding the USA: 15 Reasons America Isn’t as Terrible as You Think

While the US may often be subject to criticism globally, it undoubtedly has numerous positive aspects and admirable qualities. An internet survey recently asked, “What’s the best thing about the US?” and here are the 15 best responses.

Entertainment

Entertainment
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“Want to go to a show? The US has you covered regardless of how niche your taste is.”

“I love that this also varies by city. You can find various shows or events, but cities tend to have their specialties.”

National Parks

National Parks
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“Teddy Roosevelt wanted the magic preserved for generations.”

“I’d rather be in the mountains thinking about God than in church thinking about the mountains.”

Wide Open Space

Wide Open Space
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“Seriously. Go west, and you can get to places that are so remote and beautiful, with big blue skies during the day and Star filled nights.”

“My college town was in the middle of nowhere. Just rolling plains for tens of miles. It was so serene for me. My brain loves cities and their efficiency, but my soul needs nature.”

Friendliness

Friendliness
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“When I visit my parents in Germany, the friendliest person to me is the immigrant dude who sells kebab outside an Edeka.”

“Same here. I love Germany, but people here could be more interested in talking to people outside of their established social circles. Every time I return to the States, I chat with every person I interact with, just because it’s so nice to have a friendly conversation with a stranger. And I’m a pretty introverted person.”

NASA

NASA
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“While the Soviet Union got an early lead, and other countries get their fair share of accolades these days, nobody comes close to NASA when it comes to expanding our knowledge of the Universe. Nothing about this country is as universally respected or beloved as NASA, except for Dolly Parton.”

“Even beyond that is how their research finds itself in consumer products. Cordless drills, memory foam, flat-screen TVs (and many more) are traced to NASA research.”

Jazz

Jazz
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“I only recently started getting into Jazz, and why aren’t more people aware of what a wonderful contribution it is to our history and the world?”

“I love zoning out at work listening to jazz. So peaceful and relaxing.”

BBQ

BBQ
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“All of our regional cuisines are pretty on point… BBQ has several major regional varieties (Kansas City, Memphis, Texas, and Carolina). Then there’s the PNW and New England with the seafood, chowder, and lobster.”

“BBQ on the coast and in the Midwest are very different (in little ways), but both are so good. If you try food like BBQ or seafood or anything, you have to try it in another part of the country. It’s very different.”

Being an Engineer

Being an Engineer
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“We pay our engineers better than any other country. If you can get a relatively inexpensive degree in engineering, then you can swing middle class no problem.”

“Then you can tell everyone “I’m an engineer…” while over-analyzing an easy problem. I love it.”

Variety of Grocery Products

Variety of Grocery Products
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“Back in the 80s, I was childhood friends with a family who were newly immigrated from Russia, and their mom took hours and hours to grocery shop because there were so many things!”

“Even the Politburo doesn’t have this choice. Not even Mr. Gorbachev.” -Boris Yeltsin, 1989, on an unscheduled visit to a grocery store in Texas.”

The Community College System

The Community College System
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“After two years in the community college, I transferred to a university and received a double bachelor’s degree. That type of second chance isn’t available in many countries.”

“Community college was one of the most formative experiences of my life. California does an excellent job making it easy to know which classes transfer for which degrees.”

The Food

The Food
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“I can eat basically any ethnicity’s food without leaving my city! Bonus points, if the place looks sketchy and your chances of getting robbed are high…..the food will be amazing.”

“The dirtier and more broken down it is, the more you know the food will be the bomb. Some hole-in-the-wall place that looks like an abandoned house will sell you the tastiest Southern food ever.”

Public Libraries

Public Libraries
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“A lot of libraries in the states organize events and let you organize clubs and have all kinds of resources for all kinds of people. Not to mention subscriptions for ebooks and other digital content. Being abroad has really made me stop taking this for granted.”

“Yes! Public Libraries are an institution that gets its due reverence.”

Sport/Fitness Culture

Sport_Fitness Culture
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“Did you grow up playing just soccer? No, your parents probably made you do some combination of softball/baseball, football, basketball, soccer, hockey, lacrosse, track/cross country, or some other niche sports I can’t imagine. And that’s how many of us made, and still do, make friends.”

Socioeconomic Mobility

Socioeconomic Mobility
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“No, not everyone manages it, but many do. My husband and I came from impoverished families and now make good salaries, have a large historical home, two cars, little debt, and a good quality of life. In many countries, we couldn’t have gotten where we are.”

“I think the perception of social mobility is a huge thing in the US, for sure, even if it may not be as easy as it’s portrayed in pop culture.”

The Pursuit of Personal Growth and Progress

The Pursuit of Personal Growth and Progress
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“Although there may be exceptions, Americans generally have a deep sense of potential and an unwavering determination to improve themselves – at least, that’s been my observation.”

“Yes, I have noticed that Americans are generally more growth and progress motivated than most other cultures. This obviously isn’t always the case, but it’s a general culture that I’ve noticed.”

5th Amendment

5th Amendment
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“The 5th Amendment has saved me on more than a few occasions. We technically have that in my home country (Vietnam), but the police beat you until you talk.”

“For real, most people think it’s only for tobacco executives. But I have used this when being interrogated by the police for a crime I didn’t commit. They let me go after a few hours because I didn’t talk.”

The Americans With Disabilities Act

The Americans With Disabilities Act
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“A paraplegic person can wheel themselves into pretty much any commercial building in the country and be confident that there will be ramps in all the right places and a restroom they can use. If there aren’t, powerful legal tools exist to make it happen.”

“It’s also pretty cleverly written. Instead of saying, “Any building with stairs needs an elevator,” they base it on things like square footage, etc., creating fewer workarounds to avoid. Most gripes about ADA complexity are because it doesn’t leave a million and one loopholes to avoid compliance.”

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