When it comes to the topic/concept of “America”, most people think of the land of “opportunity” and “prosperity”. A land where everyone has a chance to make it big. A clip from the show “The Newsroom” addresses the idea of America being the “best” country in the world as being a falsehood that used to be true, but now simply isn’t. Will McAvoy makes the point that America boasts about the freedom it grants to its citizens as if it was solely America’s. He then looks to “ Japan, Canada, Germany, and Spain etc. and argues that plenty of other countries (180 of them specifically) also grant the “freedom” seen in America” (1). He continues by providing several statistics such as “ America ranking forty-ninth in life expectancy, 178th in infant mortality, but the 1st in incarcerated citizens per capita” (1) to show America’s faults. While some people may argue otherwise, I happen to agree with the statement of “America is not the greatest country in the world.” While he fails to bring up the perspectives of people such as immigrants and the one percent, the amount of evidence that McAvoy brings to the table in this clip convinces that America really isn’t the best country in the world anymore.
Similarly, The Way North shares the same opinion of America not being the greatest country in the world. Will McAvoy defines America as a shell of what it used to be, while The Way North argues that America projects this fake image of a country better than it really is. Antonio H. Hernandez from The Way North states, “ People say this is a land of opportunity, but a lot of the time there are no opportunities, no jobs. An American with papers has more opportunities than an American without.” (2) It supports the first source by explaining that the prosperity in this country is only available to certain groups of people, unlike what America tends to promote. The information found in The Way North reinforce the complexity of America’s roads to wealth and support system. Basically, this project adds on to the list of faults that Will McAvoy was pointing out in “The Newsroom”.
In my opinion, America means a collective group of people from all places around the world seeking the equal protection and prosperity that was guaranteed to them. My experience as an immigrant helps me see “America” as a melting pot of cultures that clash and evolve with each other. I honestly agree with these sources a hundred times over because they align with my experience being an immigrant in America. My mother and other relatives can all at least somewhat relate or agree with the points being made in these sources. American Literature can be defined as literature that’s relevant/ related to the conflicts and experiences that can be seen in American culture and history. For example, the text from There There, by Tommy Orange highlights the history between Native Americans and Europeans that have affected the Native American experience even up to now in the 21st century.
(1) YouTube, YouTube, www.youtube.com/watch?v=VMqcLUqYqrs.
(2) “The Way North.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 18 May 2014, www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/us/the-way-north.html?_r=0#p/39.