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Sports: Some sports that originated or evolved in the United States, particularly baseball, basketball and American football, have achieved a worldwide audience; the Super Bowl, the annual championship game of the National Football League, is one of the most-watched broadcasts in the world, with viewership far outnumbering the total American population. Baseball is extremely popular in Latin American nations and Southeast Asia, and football has had some success in expanding to Europe (NFL Europe). However, few "foreign" sports like hockey have caught on in America; attempts to create professional soccer (football) leagues have struggled, and cricket and rugby are not played at any professional level.

The United States hosts some of the premier events in other sports such as golf (including The Masters), tennis (U.S. Open), and auto racing (particularly the Indianapolis 500). It has also hosted the World Cup in 1994, and has hosted eight Olympiads, more than any other nation.

Challenges for the United States

Law and an Aging Society

The United States suffers from an accumulation of law, as have other aging societies such as the Roman Empire in the third century C.E. Sometimes antiquated laws remain in effect that complicate or even contradict newer laws, creating several layers of law over time. The principles of justice that legitimated the nation at the time of its founding are sometimes obscured by more recent laws designed to shift money or wealth from one person or group to another, causing allegations of injustice. Laws have also been passed, designed to protect individual rights that complicate trials by imposing procedures and rules of evidence that shield a jury from truth and create more work for lawyers, making trials more lucrative. Rules and procedures have been devised by Congress to pass legislation secretly or obfuscate it, through committees or omnibus legislation containing irrelevant "pork." These procedures reduce transparency and the accountability of members of Congress. In a similar manner, the Supreme Court has ruled on laws and amendments, developing a body of interpretation that becomes enforceable and thus reduces the realm of individual or state freedom on those issues. Over time, the creation of Cabinet posts with a weighty bureaucracy, executive orders, the promulgation of doctrine in foreign policy, and homeland security measures have aged the executive branch into a complicated and expensive arm of the government that places a tax burden on citizens and reduces their freedom. These agencies often work at cross-purposes, unnecessarily duplicate the efforts of one another, or remain in existence after they are no longer needed. These combined effects of aging reduce the legitimacy of government in the eyes of those who suffer injustice or a lack of freedom as a result of them. These problems caused the Roman Empire to eventually become a police state; and the United States must work hard to make the laws and the machinery of its government reflect the principles of justice for which it stands in order to remain legitimate in the eyes of its citizens and the world at large.

Economic Challenges

Moving from a population in which 80 percent were subsistence farmers to one in which 60 percent were industrial workers brought a Great Depression and hardship as the society was forced to adjust to industrial development. A similar shift began in the 1960s and is being completed with outsourcing, robotic production processes, and economies of scale that reduce the amount of industrial labor needed to a small percentage of the U.S. population. Today, with over 75 percent of jobs in the service sector, Americans must find ways to provide useful goods or services to others without relying on either farmland or a job as an industrial laborer. This requires an appropriate shift in education and entrepreneurship.

The U.S. economy also suffers from its disproportional involvement in production of military hardware dating back to the war economy of World War II. A development that President Eisenhower called the military-industrial complex involved collusion between the military and industry to direct significant portions of the federal budget toward new military technology regardless of proven national need. Today the United States suffers some of the same problems faced by the Soviet Union just before its collapse. The heavy weight of a military economy tempts the nation toward empire in foreign policy, making new enemies as a self-fulfilling prophecy, and causing a spiral that at some point may become unsustainable. Other nations, notably in Europe and Asia, are developing peace-time economies based on goods and services used by citizens in daily life, giving them long-term economic advantages over the United States amid predictions that China will overtake the United States as the leading economic power of the twenty-first century.

A significant challenge for the United States is its national debt. It has not gone down, in absolute terms, in any single year since the Eisenhower administration in 1960. Since then, under both democratic and republican governments, social programs and military spending caused the national debt to balloon to over $125,000 per family in 2005. Lack of national fiscal control is a cultural and moral problem as well as an economic challenge.

Social Challenges

Issues related to social security, welfare, education, gambling, health insurance, and corporate welfare are issues now in the hands of state governments and the federal government. These issues have been shaped by political pressure and bureaucratic expansion rather than reason or market forces. Social issues were all originally left to families, communities, and religious groups by the founding fathers; today these same issues have become often selfish demands converted to so-called entitlements, which governments have been unable to provide economically or shape efficient and workable policy over. A grave sense of inequity and unfairness is often perceived by some groups in existing policies. The negative effects of slavery still haunt the United States as social and educational inequalities continue in other forms. Motivated by their "bottom line," corporations and many wealthier taxpayers seek to eliminate social services altogether and return them to the private sphere, where failure occurred in the past. Those seeking or dependent on government social services, on the other hand, make demands without regard to their necessity or cost. A genuinely whole and workable view is seldom promoted through the two-party system, which reflects one interest or the other but not a broad view of society as a whole. Genuine facts and figures must be brought together with appropriate responsibility and market forces at all levels. It is a major challenge to the political system as it exists.

Foreign Policy Challenges

The twentieth century saw America's sense of exceptionalism - the Puritan and biblical image of "a light to the nations," channeled into safeguarding democracy abroad, through participation in World War I and World War II, as well as the Cold War. Apparent clarity about America's role in the world, however, was undone in the late twentieth century by a "culture war" between the conservative right and the liberal left. Conservatives held to a vision of America's moral superiority, and its duty to remake the world in its image. Progressives and leftists saw the hubris in such a position, and pointed to America's warts and foibles, epitomized in the expression "ugly American." This conflict began in earnest with the Vietnam War, when many became disillusioned with the apparent corruption of the South Vietnamese regime which America was propping up in the name of anti-Commumism. The debate surfaced again over the role America should play in the United Nations, as many on the right viewed the United States as morally superior to the quarreling and corrupt UN system, while many on the left believed that America should be a partner with the UN in creating a multilateral world order. The dominance of corporate interests and their foreign policy goals, such as safeguarding the nations' need for oil, gave an additional economic dimension to this conflict.

In the twenty-first century this questioning of America's role in the world continued with the perceived misadventure in the Iraq war. Even though the United States had the satisfaction of finding itself the sole superpower following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 (thus seemingly confirming the moral superiority of its democratic system), it is a nation deeply divided over its sense of purpose and place in the world. Hence, its foreign policy has been rendered largely reactive of events, unable to project a positive national image or purpose. Perceived unilateralism and inconsistency in U.S. foreign policy has led to growing suspicion around the world. Overcoming this challenge will require Americans to harness their idealism to the service of humanity recognizing the diversity of global cultures, while resisting the temptation to simplistic military "solutions."

Federal holidays

DateNameRemarks
January 1New Year's DayBeginning of year, marks the traditional end of "holiday season."
January, third MondayMartin Luther King, Jr. DayHonors the late civil rights leader. Few organizations outside federal and state governments grant time off for this holiday, though many colleges and universities observe the day with special events and canceled classes.
February, third MondayPresidents' DayHonors former U.S. presidents, especially Washington and Lincoln, who both share February birthdays. Few organizations outside federal and state governments grant time off for this holiday.
May, last MondayMemorial DayHonors servicemen and women who died in service; also marks the traditional beginning of summer.
July 4Independence DayUsually called the Fourth of July. Celebrates the United States' independence from Great Britain, formally declared on this date in 1776.
September, first MondayLabor DayCelebrates achievements of workers. This holiday is held instead of the traditional worldwide Labor Day, May 1, which actually began in the U.S. Also marks the traditional end of summer.
October, second MondayColumbus DayHonors Christopher Columbus, traditional discoverer of the Americas. Somewhat controversial, and few organizations outside federal and state governments grant time off for this holiday.
November 11Veterans' DayPreviously known as Armistice Day, it honors those who have served in the military. Also marks the end of World War I in 1918. Traditional observation of a moment of silence at 11 a.m. in remembrance of military service members occurs.
November, fourth ThursdayThanksgivingDay of thanks that marks the traditional beginning of the "holiday season." The day before Thanksgiving is traditionally the busiest travel day of the year in the U.S., and the day after is traditionally the busiest shopping day of the year, known as "Black Friday."
December 25Christmas and Winter SolsticeCelebration of Christmas, the birth of Jesus. In recent years, there has also been an effort to relate this holiday to Hanukkah and Kwanzaa. Over time, it has returned to a more secular winter solstice holiday outside of religious communities, with many non-Christians and non-observant Christians feasting, and buying and exchanging traditional Christmas gifts. Most retailers count on the Christmas holiday to provide a significant portion of their total annual sales.
  • The above days are those in which federal employees are given a day off work. There are many other legal national holidays, including: Administrative Professionals' Day (Wednesday, last full week of April), Law Day (May 1), Teacher's Day (Tuesday, first full week of May), Mother's Day (second Sunday in May), Maritime Day (May 22), Armed Forces Day (third Saturday in May), Flag Day (June 14), Father's Day (third Sunday in June), Parent's Day (fourth Sunday in July), Aviation Day (August 19), Grandparent's Day (first Sunday after Labor Day), Patriot Day (September 11), Constitution Day (September 17), Navy Day (October 27), and Pearl Harbor Day (December 7).

Notes

  1. ↑ CIA, United States The World Factbook (area given in square kilometers). Retrieved June 4, 2019.
  2. ↑ Population increases to July 1, 2018 United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 4, 2019.
  3. ↑ U.S. census department data United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 4, 2019.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Gross Domestic Product, Fourth Quarter and Annual 2018 (Initial Estimate) Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). Retrieved June 4, 2019.
  5. 5.0 5.1 World Economic Outlook Database, October 2018 - Report for Selected Countries and Subjects International Monetary Fund (IMF). Retrieved June 4, 2019.
  6. ↑ GINI index (World Bank estimate): 2016 World Bank. Retrieved June 4, 2019.
  7. ↑ 2018 Human Development Report United Nations Development Programme. Retrieved June 4, 2019.
  8. ↑ Jody Feder, English as the Official Language of the United States-Legal Background and Analysis of Legislation in the 110th Congress Congressional Research Service Report for Congress, January 25, 2007. Retrieved June 4, 2019.
  9. America may refer to the nation of the United States or to the Americas - North, Central and South America. The latter usage is more common in Latin American countries where the Spanish word América refers to both continents. The United States (or Estados Unidos in Spanish) is a less ambiguous term and less likely to cause offense. The term American meaning a citizen or national of the United States has no straightforward unambiguous synonym. Many alternative words for American have been proposed, but none have enjoyed widespread acceptance.
  10. ↑ Table 5. Estimates of Population Change for Metropolitan Statistical Areas and Rankings: July 1, 2007 to July 1, 2008 U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved June 4, 2019.
  11. ↑ Annual Estimates of the Resident Population: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2015 United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 4, 2019.
  12. ↑ Frank Newport, 2017 Update on Americans and Religion Gallup, December 22, 2017. Retrieved June 4, 2019.

References

  • Anderson, Gordon L. Philosophy of the United States: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. St. Paul, MN: Paragon House, 2004. ISBN 1557788448.
  • Cherry, Conrad, ed. God's New Israel: Religious Interpretations of America's Destiny. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1998. ISBN 0807847542.
  • Deneen, Patrick J. Democratic Faith. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2005. ISBN 069111871X.
  • Gray, Kenneth R., Larry A. Frieder, and George W. Clark. Corporate Scandals: The Many Faces of Greed. St. Paul, MN: Paragon House, 2005. ISBN 1557788383.
  • Johnson, Chalmers. The Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy, and the End of the Republic. New York, NY: Henry Holt, 2004. ISBN 0805070044.
  • Molloy, John Fitzgerald. The Fraternity: Lawyers and Judges in Collusion. St. Paul, MN: Paragon House, 2004. ISBN 1557788413.
  • Niebuhr, H. Richard. The Kingdom of God in America. New York, NY: Harper Torchbooks, 1959. ISBN 978-0819562227.
Topics in the United States
HistoryTimeline ( Colonial Era | American Revolution | Westward Expansion | Civil War | World War I | Great Depression | World War II | Cold War | Vietnam War | Civil Rights) | Foreign relations | Military | Demographic and Postal history
PoliticsLaw ( Constitution and Bill of Rights | Declaration of Independence) | Political parties ( Democrats & Republicans) | Elections (Electoral College) | Political scandals | Political divisions
GovernmentFederal agencies | Legislative branch (Congress: House | Senate) Executive branch ( President & Vice-President | Cabinet | Attorney-General | Secretary of State) | Law enforcement ( FBI | Intelligence:CIA | DIA | NIMA | NRO | NSA) | Judicial branch ( Supreme Court) | Military ( Army | Navy | Marines | Air Force)
GeographyAppalachian Mtns. | Rocky Mtns. | Great Plains | Midwest | The South | Mississippi River | New England | Mid-Atlantic | Pacific Northwest | Mountains | Valleys | Islands | Rivers | States | Cities | Counties | Regions | Extreme points
EconomyBanking | Companies | Standard of living | U.S. Dollar | Wall Street
DemographicsUS Census Bureau | Languages | Religion | Social structure | Standard of living
Arts & CultureMusic (hippies | blues | jazz | rock and roll | hip hop | gospel | country) | Film & TV (Hollywood) | Literature ( Poetry | Transcendentalism | Harlem Renaissance | Beat Generation) | Visual arts ( Abstract expressionism) | Cuisine | Holidays | Folklore | Dance | Architecture | Education | Languages | Media
OtherUnited States territory | Communications | Transportation ( Highways and Interstates | Railroads) | Uncle Sam | Flag | American Dream | Media | Education | Tourism | Social issues ( Immigration | Affirmative action | Racial profiling | Human rights | War on Drugs | Pornography | same-sex marriage | Poverty | Prisons | Capital punishment) | American Exceptionalism | Anti-Americanism | American Folklore | American English | United States-Mexico barrier

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