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33 Strange Facts About America That Most Americans Would Be Shocked To Learn

33 SignDid you know that about one-fourth of the entire global prison population is in the United States?  Did you know that Apple has more money than the U.S. Treasury?  Did you know that if you have no debt and also have 10 dollars in your wallet that you are wealthier than 25 percent of all Americans?  Did you know that by the time an American child reaches the age of 18, that child will have seen approximately 40,000 murders on television?  There are some things that are great about the United States, and there are definitely some things that are not so great.  Once upon a time we were the most loved and most respected nation on the entire planet, but those days are long gone.  We have wrecked our economy, we have lost our values and we have fumbled away our future.  But if you look close enough, you can still see many of the things that once made this country a shining beacon to the rest of the world.  This article includes some weird facts, some fun facts, but also some very troubling facts.  It has been said that a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down, and hopefully as people enjoy reading the fun facts in this article they will also take note of the more serious facts.  If we are ever going to change course as a nation, we need to come to grips with just how far we have fallen.  The following are 33 strange facts about America that most Americans would be shocked to learn…

#1 The amount of cement that China used from 2011 to 2013 was greater than the total amount of cement that the United States used during the entire 20th century.

#2 In more than half of all U.S. states, the highest paid public employee in the state is a football coach.

#3 It costs the U.S. government 1.8 cents to mint a penny and 9.4 cents to mint a nickel.

#4 Almost half of all Americans (47 percent) do not put a single penny out of their paychecks into savings.

#5 In 2014, police in the United States killed 1,100 people.  During that same year, police in Canada killed 14 people, police in China killed 12 people and police in Germany didn’t kill anyone at all.

#6 The state of Alaska is 429 times larger than the state of Rhode Island is.  But Rhode Island has a significantly larger population than Alaska does.

#7 Alaska has a longer coastline than all of the other 49 U.S. states put together.

#8 The city of Juneau, Alaska is about 3,000 square miles in size.  It is actually larger than the entire state of Delaware.

#9 When LBJ’s “War on Poverty” began, less than 10 percent of all U.S. children were growing up in single parent households.  Today, that number has skyrocketed to 33 percent.

#10 In 1950, less than 5 percent of all babies in America were born to unmarried parents.  Today, that number is over 40 percent.

#11 The poverty rate for households that are led by a married couple is 6.8 percent.  For households that are led by a female single parent, the poverty rate is 37.1 percent.

#12 In 2013, women earned 60 percent of all bachelor’s degrees that were awarded that year in the United States.

#13 According to the CDC, 34.6 percent of all men in the U.S. are obese at this point.

#14 The average supermarket in the United States wastes about 3,000 pounds of food each year.

#15 Right now, more than 200 million people around the planet are officially considered to be unemployed.  Meanwhile, approximately 20 percent of the garbage that goes into our landfills is food.

#16 There is a city in Bangladesh called Dhaka where workers are paid just one dollar for every 1,000 bricks that they carry.  Meanwhile, the “inactivity rate” for men in their prime working years in the United States is hovering near record high levels.

#17 According to one recent survey, 81 percent of Russians now have a negative view of the United States.  That is much higher than at the end of the Cold War era.

#18 Montana has three times as many cows as it does people.

#19 The grizzly bear is the official state animal of California.  But no grizzly bears have been seen there since 1922.

#20 One recent survey discovered that “a steady job” is the number one thing that American women are looking for in a husband, and another survey discovered that 75 percent of women would have a serious problem dating an unemployed man.

#21 According to a study conducted by economist Carl Benedikt Frey and engineer Michael Osborne, 47 percent of the jobs in the United States could soon be lost to computers, robots and other forms of technology.

#22 The only place in the United States where coffee is grown commercially is in Hawaii.

#23 The original name of the city of Atlanta was “Terminus“.

#24 The state with the most millionaires per capita is Maryland.

#25 There are more than 4 million adult websites on the Internet, and they get more traffic than Netflix, Amazon and Twitter combined.

#26 86 percent of men include “having children” in their definition of success.  For women, that number is only 73 percent.

#27 One survey of 50-year-old men in the U.S. found that only 12 percent of them said that they were “very happy”.

#28 The United States has 845 motor vehicles for every 1,000 people.  Japan only has 593 for every 1,000 people, and Germany only has 540 for every 1,000 people.

#29 The average American spends more than 10 hours a day using an electronic device.

#30 48 percent of all Americans do not have any emergency supplies in their homes whatsoever.

#31 There are three towns in the United States that have the name “Santa Claus“.

#32 There is actually a town in Michigan called “Hell“.

#33 There are 60,000 miles of blood vessels in your body.  If they were stretched out in a single line, they could go around the planet more than twice.

 

Can America Survive If Americans No Longer Agree On A Core Set Of Shared Values?

Can America Survive If Americans No Longer Agree On A Core Set Of Shared Values? - Photo by DrRandomFactorWhat does America stand for?  That question is a lot more complicated than you might think.  Our Founding Fathers established a Republic that was based on a set of shared values that were embodied in the text of the U.S. Constitution.  But today, many of our politicians openly disregard the Constitution whenever they want and it has become fashionable to mock the U.S. Constitution.  For example, the New York Times recently published a piece by Georgetown University Professor Louis Michael Seidman entitled “Let’s Give Up On The Constitution” in which he publicly called the Constitution “archaic” and “downright evil”.  This is a man that has been teaching constitutional law to the next generation of lawyers at one of the top universities in the nation for nearly 40 years.  Unfortunately, Seidman is not an aberration.  The truth is that law schools all over America are absolutely packed with professors that teach that we should consider the U.S. Constitution a “living, breathing document” that must “evolve” as society evolves.  They also teach that when we find something in the Constitution that does not work for us today that we should just ignore it.  In fact, in his New York Times article Seidman insisted that “constitutional disobedience” is “as old as the Republic”.  But if we can just ignore the U.S. Constitution whenever we want, where does that leave us?  Should we be able to ignore all laws when they are not convenient for us?

Personally, I strongly believe that we should follow the U.S. Constitution, and there are millions of others out there that agree with me.  If we want to amend the Constitution, there is a procedure for doing that, but it is not easy.  Our founders did that to try to ensure that any changes to our Constitution would reflect an overwhelming consensus of the American people.

But today America is more divided than ever before.  We can’t seem to agree on much of anything.  We are at a period in our history when we desperately need to come together, but instead we are constantly at each other’s throats.

Is there anything that truly unites us anymore?

In the old days, if you would have asked people to give you a one word definition of America, many people would have responded by naming important values such as “freedom” and “liberty”.

Sadly, much of the country appears not to even value those things any longer.  One poll found that 51 percent of all Americans believe that “it is necessary to give up some civil liberties in order to make the country safe from terrorism.”  Other surveys have found similar results.

Not only that, we continue to elect control freak politicians from both political parties that appear to be obsessed with constantly eroding our freedoms and liberties.  There are literally millions of ridiculous laws, rules and regulations that govern even the smallest details of our lives, and the government is constantly inventing new ways to watch, track, register, monitor and control all of us.  If you doubt this, please see this article and this article.  If we continue down this path, we are going to end up in a very dark place as a nation.

Well, what about economics?

Aren’t we united by a common economic philosophy?

Sadly, no we are not.

In the old days, Americans overwhelmingly believed in free market capitalism and overwhelmingly rejected socialism, but now that is rapidly changing.

According to a stunning Pew Research Center survey, 49 percent of Americans in the 18 to 29 age bracket have a positive view of socialism while only 46 percent of Americans in that same age bracket have a positive view of capitalism.

So what will the future look like if we continue to see this kind of shift among our young people?

And of course we have not had anything even close to a true free market system in the United States in a very, very long time.  Our economy is dominated by a partnership between the federal government and the monolithic predator corporations that dominate our society.  Individuals and small businesses that try to compete are being absolutely suffocated.  Our Founding Fathers were very suspicious of all large concentrations of power, and they sought to greatly limit the power of both the federal government and of the big corporations.  But today we have gone totally in the other direction.

Well, is there anything else that truly unites America?

What about religion?

Of course it is true that the overwhelming majority of the early colonists were Christian, and even 50 years ago it would have been accurate to say that America was a “Christian nation”, but that is definitely no longer the case today.

The number of Americans with no religious affiliation has absolutely exploded in recent years.  It has grown by a whopping 25 percent over the past five years, and meanwhile the percentage of people that identify themselves as “Christians” in America is dropping like a rock.  In fact, one poll found that the percentage of Protestants in the United States has dropped below 50 percent for the first time ever.  For many more shocking numbers that show the precipitous decline of Christianity in America, please see this article.

So what fundamental principles do most Americans actually agree on?

And I am not talking about things like “American Idol is going downhill” or “Justin Bieber gets too much attention”.

Is there still a core set of shared values that the entire nation can agree upon?

If not, where does that leave us?

Unfortunately, I think that it leaves us in a very difficult place.  The divisiveness that we have seen in Washington D.C. in recent years is just the tip of the iceberg.  We are living in a nation today that is more divided than I can ever remember.  A whole host of opinion polls have shown that anger and frustration in America are rising to very dangerous levels, and instead of focusing on the real reasons for our problems we all tend to point the fingers at one another.

In America today, we have been trained to group ourselves together by certain “categories” and to see those on the other side as “the enemy”.  This is a very dangerous thing.  It keeps the American people from coming together to fix the very serious problems that are facing our country.

The truth is that we are being divided in dozens of different ways today.  The following are just a few of the ways we are currently being divided…

Republican vs. Democrat

Conservative vs. Liberal

Rich vs. Poor

Black vs. White (or insert any other two races or ethnic groups)

North vs. South

Urban vs. Rural

Anti-Gun vs. Pro-Gun

Male vs. Female

Young vs. Old

Traditional vs. “Modern”

Religious vs. Secular

Of course we should never compromise what we believe just for the sake of “unity”.  That is foolishness.  But you can disagree with someone without hating them.

In America today, people will find a reason to hate someone else at the drop of a hat.  Surprisingly large numbers of Americans will hate others because of where they are from, what they look like, what their ethnic background is, what their political affiliation is or what their religious beliefs are.

If America is going to have any kind of a future, we have got to start loving one another.  That does not mean that we all have to agree with one another.  But we do need to start caring about one another and hoping for the best for one another.

For example, I fundamentally disagree with almost every single thing that Barack Obama does.  But I do not hate him.  On the contrary, I pray for him and his family.  I would love to see him experience a 180 degree turnaround and start fighting for the truth.  I believe that love is stronger than hate, and I believe that there is hope for every one of us.

I know that I have had my mind changed on a lot of things throughout my life, and if I could go back there are many things I would do differently.  I am thankful for those that loved me and had patience with me when I was younger.

And that is the kind of grace that we should extend toward others.  Yes, a stand needs to be made when others are promoting evil and trampling on our rights.  But instead of responding to hate with even greater amounts of hate, perhaps it would be better if we responded with even greater amounts of love.

And I am not saying that we always have to be “meek” in our approach.  For example, if I was pushing a shopping cart around the local supermarket and I came upon a young child that was about to guzzle an entire bottle of liquid bleach, I would yell and scream at that child to stop.  Sometimes yelling and screaming is the loving thing to do.  There is nothing wrong with “tough love”.

There are preachers and radio hosts that I know that express what they believe in a very vociferous manner, but it is coming from a good place.  They love their listeners and they love their country and they are just trying to wake people up.  There is nothing wrong with that.

On the flip side, there are others that truly do hate particular categories of people.  For example, I was on a radio show earlier today, and the first half of the interview went great as I explained the problems with our economy, how our cities are degenerating and how the Federal Reserve is at the very heart of our financial problems as a nation.

But then in the second half of the interview, the radio host started blaming one particular ethnic group for all of our problems.  I had not properly researched this particular host and I was horrified.  I told her in a very clear manner that I thought that she was wrong.  I don’t think that she appreciated that very much.

But the truth is that we are never going to fix the very serious problems that are facing this country if we choose to hate one another because of what we look like or who our ancestors were.  We are never going to fix the very serious problems that are facing this country if we choose to remain trapped in the “red vs. blue” paradigm and keep pointing fingers of hatred at one another.  We are never going to fix the very serious problems that are facing this country if we would rather indulge in hatred rather than love.

That doesn’t mean that we don’t fight for what is right.  There are most certainly politicians that need to be voted out of office.  There are most certainly big corporations that need to be exposed.  There are most definitely evil agendas that are being promoted at the highest levels.  Our society is clearly headed in the wrong direction and this country needs a massive wake up call.

But I think that we will get a lot farther if love is our primary motivation.  Without love, we are nothing.  Let us start to love one another as we would like to be loved ourselves.

So what do all of you think about this?  I am sure that there are probably some very strong opinions out there.  Please feel free to post a comment with your thoughts below…

Women Wearing Oakley Sunglasses Under American Flag - Photo by Michael Dorausch

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