"What concerns me is why so
many Americans want to - choose to - find evil in Denmark’s form of
democratic socialism. I’ve been participating in the roller coaster
commentary threads following Ana Swanson’s interview with Michael Booth in the Washington Post
and I’m sad to see that so many of the comments are harsh and vitriolic
in nature. No amount of evidence or clarification is enough to mollify
some of these commentators. They just get angrier and more irritated
because positive comments are assumed to be lies or to have negative
ulterior motives. You would think that Americans would be curious about
Denmark after both Bernie and Hillary mentioned it in the Democratic
Why so much anger?
Here’s my best educated guess: Most Americans have been brought up to
believe that the USA is the best country in the world and that most
people in other nations wish they could live in it. This means that it
feels unpatriotic to admire someone else’s political system; disloyal –
close to treason - to even consider the possibility that another
socioeconomic system might be superior.
America’s superiority is an assumption I carried with me throughout
my life and I probably brought it with me to Denmark when I was hired to
teach for one year at the national journalism college. The one-year gig
became two and then three and then five until I was granted academic
tenure and permanent residency. By then, I was well acquainted with
Denmark’s democratic socialism and after marrying a Danish national and
realizing that I’d probably be staying forever, I started to consider
myself fortunate. Let me tell you why."
I grew up hearing and believing that the United States is the greatest country in the world. Why, then, would I think tiny Denmark or any other country had a better social system than us? The first crack in this for me was to hear that Cuba had a lower rate of deaths at birth than the US. Huh? How could that be? Then here and there I'd hear other statistics like that. Europeans averaged 4 weeks per year of vacation? Health care does not have the US as # 1 anymore?
Now I am much more open to looking around the world and seeing what works, no matter where the idea comes from.