Wednesday, May 10, 2023



Fractured states (AI)

The USA is an amazing country in many ways, but it’s also one full of contradictions, some very ironic, strange, or embarrassing. The descriptor United itself isn’t always befitting, note for example governors and mayors warring with each other over the transfer of migrants; or the widely varied and confusing set of anti-abortion laws--6 weeks, 10 weeks, 15 weeks, etc.

Land of the free?

The land of the free is also the nation with the highest incarceration rate in the world (630 people per 100,000)

Lady Liberty with Sir Penitentiary (AI)

Healthcare and wealth gaps

One of the wealthiest nations in the world with very advanced medical technology, the USA’s citizens in their millions often struggle to afford healthcare and lack health insurance. In a high income region like California’s Bay Area, unhoused people are a serious challenge. Mental health in the USA is also poor, as is the supply of social workers.

Well-off & poor together on the street (Shutterstock/UfaBizPhoto)

The melting pot with clashing ingredients

We are a nation of immigrants and multiple cultures, yet the country is as fractured along racial, ethnic, and cultural lines as a smashed teapot.

BLM protests (Shutterstock/Vic Hinterlang)

Gun control and freedom

Gun enthusiasts cling to the second amendment as the right to bear arms, but the easy availability of firearms also endangers the lives of many, including children. Citizens have the right to live without fear of being shot. Individual and mass shootings occur at horrifying rate.

Education and inequality

The USA has some of the world’s most prestigious universities, from which many of our Nobel scientists have emerged. But accessibility of these institutions to the socially disadvantaged is highly limited by lack of funds. At lower levels of education, richly endowed private grade and high schools are accessible by only a few.

Obesity and food insecurity

The U.S. struggles with high obesity rates, yet it also faces significant issues of food insecurity and hunger. The contrast between overconsumption and scarcity within the same country is painfully ironic. There are neighborhoods that have no fresh produce for sale at all. Some kids in deprived areas have never seen a whole tomato or other fruit/vegetables before.

Bleak neighborhood street (AI)

Democracy and voter turnout

The US is one of the world’s oldest functioning democracies, yet it often has lower voter turnout rates compared to many other democracies.

Voting line in Sparks, NV, 2020 (Shutterstock)

Environment and consumption

The U.S. has some of the most beautiful and diverse natural landscapes in the world, and many Americans deeply value environmental conservation. Yet, the U.S. also has one of the highest per capita rates of consumption and waste generation, which contributes to environmental degradation and climate change.




  1. Hi Kwei, very interesting blog – in a scary and slightly depressing sense of the word 'interesting'. Much like the old curse, we do indeed live in interesting times. I worry about the way so-called civilisation is going.

  2. And just to put a finer point on your summary of our national nightmare of a country divided, Kwei, there's Wednesday night's "CNN's Town Hall with Donald J. Trump."