When we talk about the US, we usually mention its healthcare issues, gun violence, or racism, but the country is not all bad. So, to balance things out, we thought it would be a good idea to look at one Reddit post that went viral just a couple of days ago.
Created by user u/jenzredz, it asked people the question: “What does America get right?” And judging by the upvotes and comments, quite a lot, apparently. So continue scrolling and take a look at all the nice things both locals and tourists had to say about this unique patch of land!
My near universal experience with Americans is that they are generous and helpful. Many would give someone the shirt off their backs if asked.
Collectively, y’all are crazy, but individually, the best people I’ve ever met.
You could say the idea for the post came to u/jenzredz quite gradually. “I was perusing Reddit and had come across a r/AskReddit about things Americans do that is weird,” they told Bored Panda. “I like to read those because it’s interesting to get an outsider’s perspective on America and Americans. However, lately, I had come across quite a few ‘weird things Americans do’ or ‘dumb things America does’ and the like. I had also been reading several articles lately about American politics, which can be a depressing pastime. I decided to see what does America actually do right.”
“I posed the question … thinking I’d get a few answers, some uplifting but mostly snarky or ‘nothing.’ I was astounded at the response I got! Both in number and positivity. I even got a few messages telling me thank you. That they had been thinking and feeling the same way I had and was getting pretty down about being from America. That was a great feeling! Knowing others were feeling the same way I was and that I was able to brighten their day!”
If we’re talking the U.S, their National Park system is good. They were the first to sorta do it and got the rest of the world into it too.
NASA. Even with all the government and political bullsh*t, it’s still taking great strides in taking humanity forward, but more importantly they focus a LOT on educating the common folks during missions.
I love that all the information and pictures and everything NASA produces are publicly accessible for free, and not even under copyright. I’m not even American but NASA had a great role in creating interest in me about Space and Astronomy when I was growing up.
Listing 101 great things about the United States, Fortune’s editors mentioned many of the things that we see in this Reddit thread. From athletes, musicians, social activists to domestic beer, Fender, and NASA, they touched upon many subjects too.
After going through all of the comments under their post, u/jenzredz learned they “take for granted several things so many people around the world don’t have access to or aren’t allowed to experience, or at least not to the level we in America do.”
“For instance, I didn’t realize National and State Parks aren’t really a thing in other countries. I thought everyone had those! Also our libraries and interstate systems. Again, I thought that was pretty universal. The most interesting thing is our First Amendment right to speak against our government. I was unaware how much of a privilege and to what degree of freedom we have to speak against our government and politicians. However, the thing I noticed the absolute most was the comments about our food! Our food diversity, availability, cost, etc. I had no idea we were pretty much the only country in the world to do bbq!,” the Redditor explained.
All of this made u/jenzredz realize that Americans are doing much better than they give themselves credit for.
This country has remarkable natural beauty. The national park system was a good idea even if it’s underfunded and overcrowded now. In Colorado search and rescue is free and that is a very good thing. We also do craft beer well.
Wandering hype people.
You never know when it will happen, but at some unexpected moment in America, someone is hyping someone up. Usually, this is performed by complete and total strangers.
Some dude pulls off wrapping a particularly full burrito? Person ordering it will point it out to the (completely unrelated) customer behind them and say something like “This guy’s got this burrito on lockdown!”
You order three extra shots of espresso at the coffee shop? “Oh, you’ve got this now, the day is YOURS”
Rest stop at 2AM playing some light gun game while your friend takes a dump? “Oh, there they go! F*ck those robbers up! Do it! Yeaaaaah!”
Wandering hype people exist everywhere in America. They celebrate small and large things. Americans genuinely love watching someone win, even if there’s no competition. From a half court buzzer beaters to having exact change, we feel this weird camaraderie when we share a moment of victory. Makes me think we’ve got a shot.
However, there is data that suggests life in America might be getting worse. The General Social Survey, one of the longest-running and most highly regarded public opinion research projects in the nation, reports that on a scale of 1 to 3, where 1 represents “not too happy” and 3 means “very happy,” Americans on average give themselves a 2.18 — a hair above “pretty happy.”
That might sound good but it’s actually a significant decline from the nation’s peak happiness, as measured by the survey, of the early 1990s. The change is driven by the number of people who say they’re not too happy — 13 percent in 2018 vs. 8 percent in 1990. That’s a more than a 50 percent increase.
The public library system – in my county alone we have over 10 different libraries with transfers between them so there’s a vast selection of movies, books, magazines etc
The Blues. The Blues influenced everyone from Elvis, to The Beatles, to the Stones. It’s a music of hardship and pain. And while it’s rooted in the darkest time of our country, it’s one of the most unifying forms of music ever created.
I love the American experience. I live in DFW and I don’t take it for granted. There’s Japanese revolving sushi bars; Russian bath houses; Korean super markets; Mexican foods; Italian markets. Globalization is alive and well. It’s my favorite thing about America.
Barbecue. I’m Canadian and we’ll barbecue year round but they call that grilling, I’m talking American barbecue. F*ck me up with that brisket you’ve been smoking all week Uncle Sam. Hell yes.
Your entertainment industry is second to none and absolutely light years ahead of all other nations.
In terms of ‘content’ the states is in a class of their own
The ADA, the Americans with Disabilities Act*. America is really accessible compared to many of if not most other places. I consider myself able bodied and I travel a lot. When I do, I’m reminded how special the ADA is. And as an able bodied person I’m also aware that designing things for everyone makes them better for everyone.
Freedom of speech and press. Many people don’t appreciate that the reason America seems to have so many problems is largely that the problems get exposed and discussed whether the government likes it or not. Many countries that seem more orderly seem that way because the government controls information flow.
Public lands and access to them. Everyone is mentioning the National Park system, which is the crown jewel, but our wilderness areas, national forests, BLM lands, state and local parks, protected coastal areas and the roads that connect them all are truly amazing. We may not all be able to afford a cabin in the mountains or a house on the beach, but with a car and a tent we can all enjoy those places no matter what your income.
Turning Halloween into an all ages celebration. The kids get to Trick or Treat. The adults throw their own parties. Everyone gets to dress up and have fun. I love driving and walking through neighborhoods and seeing people who have gone crazy decorating their lawns and houses with horror decorations. Some even turn their places in “haunted houses” that people could go through while they Trick or Treat. It’s even fun when you go into regular stores like Target and they get into the spirit by playing scary theme music on the PA. “Thriller” always seems to be playing somewhere
LGBT protection. I don’t believe it’s perfect or without its flaws, but in comparison to where my extended family is from (Eastern Europe), I feel much safer recently outing myself here then I ever would where the rest of my family lives. At least here in the states I don’t have to worry as much about possibly being fired, ridiculed, assaulted, ‘corrected’ or killed if other people know about me being a lesbian.
THEME PARKS!! There are so many to choose from besides just Disney and Universal and the few I’ve been to have been fantastic.
Here in NZ we have one theme park with ONE rollercoaster and it’s the Corkscrew (AKA baby’s first rollercoaster)
School buses, i’ve always thought it was odd that in the US, a nation who prides itself on not having things like a national health service, that there is a bus service which picks up kids for free to to ensure they get to school.
In the UK kids use regular buses to get to school, and it makes them very overcrowded and messy and annoying for other people trying to use the bus at the same time
That is unless somebody is going to tell me school buses only exist in the Simpsons or got phased out in the 90’s or something depressing.
Scientific research especially medical research. USA arguably has the best research facilities in general which attracts the brightest people from all over the planet. So many opportunities too for scientists to advance their career not just in research institutions but also in a ton of life sciences/biotech industries. BUT it’s sad that with all these knowledge we don’t have a universal healthcare system and not everybody can access the fruit of these research.
Diversity (hard to believe if you’re American, but for real, very few countries handle it as well), the National Park Service, and attracting the world’s best and brightest.
Giving in times of need, I think. The government always cocks things up, but when awful stuff happens somewhere, average Americans want to help. Horrific volcanic disaster in the Caribbean? Just hours later, people are texting in donations to rescue and recovery efforts. Hurricane Katrina? Cajun Navy shows up to help. Earthquake and famine in Haiti? You have musicians Pomplamoose figuring out how to get goats to people in need. While there are always exceptions, I think average Americans – paycheck to paycheck, truck driving, weekend football, everyday Americans – want to help when and where they can.
America really fosters entrepreneurial spirit. So many new ideas and businesses and risks being taken. It’s not a coincidence why so many of the new great companies come from America.
Convenience. I love going to Europe. But every time I go I miss the convenience of America. Grocery stores have everything you could want. 80 different cereals or potato chips? We got it. It’s 2 am and I want pancakes? How about a burger? Well the diner down the road from me has it. Within a few miles of my house I can get chinese, jamaican, pizza, korean, sushi, bbq, mexican, indian, thai, etc. Maybe I want to go shopping at 10 pm and buy a toaster. Well wal-mart and target are open.
I admire the simplicity in some countries since places tend to close earlier. Especially on sunday. But here you can get what you want, when you want. I take it for granted until I travel overseas.
Public restrooms and drinking fountains. In NZ, you’re lucky to have a public toilet within a block of you if you’re downtown. In the US, every shop has one.
Ranch dressing. We have something labelled as ranch where I am, but it’s not the same as actually American ranch. Not even even close.
Real American ranch is amazing.
The Interstate. Imagine the Autobahn but scaled up to an entire continent. It is one of the safest and least congested road systems in the world and has easily been one of the single biggest contributions to America’s success. The simple fact you can drive from New York to LA in relative comfort on flat, paved roads is insane outside the US. It’s like driving from Moscow to Madrid, except you drive mostly in straight lines and at high speeds with almost no risk of accidents, and the few that occur are often not deadly. There is a gas station and convenience store every few miles, a restaurant every few miles, a rest place every few miles.
A lot of things.
I’m not American. But the world owes the Americans gratitude for so many techs and startups and inventions that has made life on this planet more convenient or easier. The internet for example.
I understand the innovation process isn’t a solitary affair and you build upon previous knowledge and innovations. But you still gotta give credit where credit’s due.
Classic muscle cars. Ohhhh damn there’s just something about 60/70s American cars. Sure they’re boats but damn they look and sound amazing.
We are a very expressive, passionate nation. I just got back from Europe and although they aren’t unhinged like us, a lot of them lack common courtesy and friendliness. I missed being able to make a slight remark towards a total stranger without them looking at me like I was a freak. Made me feel that maybe I wasn’t as much of an introvert as I thought I was.
honestly, the Constitution is a brilliant brilliant document ESPECIALLY for being drafted in the 1700s when the options appeared to be (1) monarchy, or (2) uncontrolled bloody revolution.
The Melting Pot is one of the pillars of how America grew to become a global superpower, in a tiny fraction of the time other nations that have had empires have been around. We brought in everybody, from all over, and gained all their talents and knowledge. Decades down the road, it’ll still be a source of innovation and growth for us.
America was one of the fastest developing countries to become a world power, it’s almost astounding that it was only founded around 250 years ago.
my experience living in america is that there is a lot of product choice, from food stuffs to candy to drinks and other every day life products.
as a small example, here in brazil you will often find at most like 5 or 6 soda flavors, while in america there are so many i don’t even know the actual number
The US is very decentralized and a true federal republic. Many countries (both developed and developing) struggle to populate the interior territories or distribute their population. In the US, the political center is DC, the richest city is NYC, the most populated state is California, movie production is based in LA, the tech capital of the world is in Silicon Valley/Bay Area, the gambling/nightlife center is Las Vegas, the largest cruise ship port on the planet is Miami, the busiest airport in the world is in Atlanta, what’s probably the most internationally famous and most prestigious American university (Harvard) is in Boston, the largest medical complex in the world is in Houston, etc.
Developing 50 different economies and vastly different regions is no easy task, and yet the US has found a system that works better than in most other countries
I go to a store in Canada and they’ll have maybe two or three options for the item I’m looking for.
I go to the same store in the US and it’ll be more like six or seven to choose from, often better quality for less money.
The last 18 months showed me how much I took living in a border city for granted, being able to pop over there for a shopping trip.
According to my friends who moved here from Germany and Canada the freedom to be whatever you want. Not so much career-wise as just expressive of personality-wise. They both felt that being different in those places made you stick out like a sore thumb. The German also pointed out that Career paths are very restricted there. You get on a track and you stuck there.
Double Jeopardy protections
Freedom of speech (from government)
Beer. And this is one that still surprises many non-Americans when I travel and talk to them about it. Many still think of American beer as Bud and Coors. I talk to folks about the microbrewery scene out here and their jaws drop.
This conversation is happening less and less frequently as the microbrewery system is getting imported into more and more countries. It’s a hell of a revolution and I’m proud that America has been so instrumental in redefining beer in the 21st century.
Revisiting its history in tv documentaries time and time again. Here in Canada we’ll do it once, rerun it, and then bury it in a vault or archive, never to be broadcast or available as a DVD (or vhs back in the day) ever again. There’s a lot of Canadian documentaries and broadcast tv rotting away like this.
I guess the fact that parents depend on themselves after their kids grow up. I mean in most Asian countries (India included), kids have to do what their parents say, and parents are totally dependent on the kids.
I mean, it’s not a bad thing, but sometimes it is, these parents also micromanage their kids.
Forcing them to get married to a partner of THEIR choice and no-one else.
I’ve seen some parents literally stop working and then go live with their son and his wife forever, just eating, going on walks and stuff. Life’s so easy for them damn.
I’m not saying it’s a completely bad thing, but heyy, let your f*cking kid breathe.
Altering your restaurant order. I visited Spain, and I couldn’t find a place that let me substitute or change things. Wanna replace the ketchup on your burger with the bbq sauce they serve with the chicken strips? You’re SOL
Outside of larger cities during rush hour, driving is pretty good, with few toll roads.
Anesthesia practices. Apparently, the use of *general anesthetic for minor procedures (i.e. endoscopy or wisdom teeth extraction) is far more uncommon outside the U.S. Not to say GA is always necessary—sometimes it can be quite dangerous— but why put the patient under such unnecessary added stress/anxiety?