America sucks/America rocks: two maps

“There is nothing wrong with America,” Bill Clinton once said, “that can’t be fixed by what is right with America.”

The United States of Shame

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The United States of Awesome

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Clearly some dubious accolades here (“most average,” “best license plate,” “best armed”) and some “glass half-full/half-empty” takes on the same data (“nerdiest state” on the Shame map becomes “highest library usage” on the Awesome one), but the overall point is taken: you can slam your state, legitimately, for all its faults, or you can focus on the positive and build on that. America’s very real flaws need to be criticized and addressed, of course, but in my opinion that’s never an excuse to sink into lazy USA-bashing, cynicism, and despair. If you want to improve, you have to identify not just your weaknesses, but your strengths as well.

References and explanations here and here.

(via Ezra Klein)

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