Wednesday, June 29, 2005
the greatest American?

I recently read an article about a public poll organized by the Discovery Channel and AOL asking people to vote who they thought "The Greatest American" in the history of America is. A similar poll in Great Britain crowned Winston Churchill "The Greatest Briton".

Now, a reasonably educated person like myself would probably guess the winner might be among a group of names like George Washington (general, first president, founding father), Abraham Lincoln (won Civil War, ended slavery, good writer), Ben Franklin (founding father & inventor), Franklin Roosevelt (ended the Depression & won WWII), or Thomas Edison (genius inventor).

But according to the results of the poll, the greatest American is...


Don't believe me? The result.

Nothing against Ronnie, but leave it to Americans themselves to make the people of our country look idiotic and lacking historical perspective. While many credit the guy with ending the Cold War, there were other less glamorous things that went on like the Iran contra scandal, ridiculous spending on the Star Wars program, and the questionable concept of "Reagonomics" which left our government with an enormous financial debt that we still carry today. Not exactly a record of undisputed greatness.

The rest of the list isn't much better:

1 Ronald Reagan
2 Abraham Lincoln
3 Martin Luther King Jr
4 George Washington
5 Benjamin Franklin
6 George W Bush
7 Bill Clinton
8 Elvis Presley
9 Oprah Winfrey
10 Franklin D Roosevelt
11 Billy Graham
12 Thomas Jefferson
13 Walt Disney
14 Albert Einstein
15 Thomas Alva Edison
16 John F Kennedy
17 Bob Hope
18 Bill Gates
19 Eleanor Roosevelt
20 Lance Armstrong

Getting head in the Oval Office gets Clinton in at number 7?! Oprah is in the top 10? For what, promoting shameless materialism by passing out gifts, celebrity idolization, and the idea that race relations in our country boils down to just white and black people?! Elvis Presley as number 8? I guess if you consider a white person appropiating African American music for the mainstream as revolutionary, he merits a spot in infamy.

George W. Bush is number 6? His presidency hasn't even finished!

OK he can be number 6, but only if during the Bush presidency the nation of Iraq becomes sovereign and self-sustaining, North Korea and South Korea re-unite, Israel and Palestine become peaceful co-existing nations, the nuclear weapons of the world are disarmed and abolished, Al Qaida disbands and surrenders to US forces, AIDS in Africa and Asia is cured, all Americans learn to speak at least one language besides English, and SUVs are banned from being sold to the general public.

Gah. This poll is a reminder that using AOL really does make people more stupid. What a joke.


must be skewed by people's recent memory of the reagan funeral last year. you're right, all this list shows is lack of historical perspective of those polled, quite obvious by the fact that more than half the people on the list were alive in the last 50 years.
billy graham? crazy shit, man.
hmm... i'd like to see the form that they used to determine this vote. Also the question begs: this a vote for the greatest american... what?
damn, gina. we are doomed.
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in?scrip?tion (n-skrip-shun)n.
1. The act or an instance of inscribing.
2. Something, such as the wording on a coin, medal, monument, or seal, that is inscribed.
3. A short, signed message in a book or on a photograph given as a gift.
4. The usually informal dedication of an artistic work.
5. Jeremiah 31:33

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