Fourth of July, 2012.

Happy 236th birthday to the United States of America!

The pilot of Aaron Sorkin’s newest show features a rant by Jeff Daniels’ character about America’s non-greatness. More specifically, he claims that “there’s absolutely no evidence to support the statement that we’re the greatest country in the world.” He then recites a litany of statistics and complains about how America used to be a far better place, a place without the fear and partisanship that cripple us today.

It’s supposed to be a powerful scene, but a person with a decent knowledge of America’s history, a decent understanding of statistics, and internet access should be able to tear his argument apart. But set all that aside for a second. I think there are some statistics that speak to our country’s greatness, that point to our standing as greatest in the world– or if not, then the rest of the world has a lot of explaining to do.

This Guardian article– from a year ago, granted– leads with the line: “The US is the top destination for permanent immigrants”.

Here’s a more recent article about a Gallup poll indicating that the US holds “the undisputed title as the world’s most desired destination for potential migrants”.

People vote with their feet, and the United States, more so than anyone else on Earth, is a nation of immigrants. We must be on to something.

P.S. Happy 140th birthday to Calvin Coolidge! Off to watch fireworks.