Great post from Paul Waldman
, pointing out not only that there isn't huge income mobility in America, but also that America isn't the only place that people of modest means can make it big:
There are lots of places where somebody can come from modest circumstances and achieve wealth and/or power. South African president Jacob Zuma's father was a cop, and his mother was a maid; he grew up without any formal schooling. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper's father was an accountant. Evo Morales was a subsistence farmer who turned to growing coca, and now he's the president of Bolivia. Now those are some bootstraps! And you know who else pulled himself up from modest circumstances? Saddam Hussein, that's who.
Why is it necessary to assert that every good thing about America can only be found in America? We should continue to be enormously proud of the fact that we were the first democracy, but sometimes we act as though America is the only place in the world that isn't still ruled by a king. Are we so insecure about ourselves and our nation that we have to be constantly told that we're the most terrific country that ever was or ever will be, and there's nobody else even remotely like us?
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