America, the land of the free! Or is it? Our country may have been built with the intention of offering citizens freedoms that those overseas couldn’t even dream of, but that’s certainly not the case these days. While other nations are actively changing with the times, the United States has been far less progressive, choosing to stick with “traditions” instead. If you aren’t convinced, then these active laws overseas with surely sway you. Not only will they have you questioning whether America is truly the land of the free, but you’ll want most of these laws implemented on this side of the pond immediately.
Mandatory Paid Vacation
American companies are notorious for failing to provide their employees with sufficient paid time off. Most people are forced to use the few days that they get to do normal things, such as be sick and go to the dentist. It leaves little room for taking that much-needed vacation. The lucky ones are able to squeeze in a week, or two get away, but never all at the same time of course. We’re guilted into taking them just a few days at a time because of course, the office we work at couldn’t survive without us. They encourage us to remain chained to our desks by paying us for the days we don’t take. So, those of us who are pinching pennies not only can’t afford to take a real vacation but we try to get through each year without taking off in hopes of receiving a slightly fatter check come the new year. While we’re stuck suffering all year round, over in Europe, they get a minimum of 30 days of vacation. Yes, that’s right. Thirty days! And they’re not saving them so they can get them paid out at the end of the year. These days are mandatory and must be taken off even if it’s just to sit at home in their pajamas, a law that is heavily enforced. While they’re all off having a quality life of relaxation and travel, we’re stuck drinking stale coffee and singing happy birthday to another coworker. Hardly sounds like the freedom America is so proud of.
Automatic Voter Registration
In some other countries, citizens are automatically registered to vote once they’ve turned 18. In America, on the other hand, we must first register. The process makes voting confusing and more complicated than it needs to be. But it’s likely that politicians like it that way. The more confusing the process is, the less likely people are to show up, making it easier for them to get in office. So, while in America voter turnout was at 54% in 2016 and 58% in 2012, in Chile where they have automatic voter registration, turnouts are over 90% each time. Makes you wonder why we’re being kept away from the polls.
Campaign Finance Laws
Unlike here in America where candidates spend millions on their campaigns, other countries forbid such things. This prevents candidates from being able to buy their way into a position, something that happens far too often in the U.S. For example, Israel put a cap on spending which ensures that the process is fair and no one has a leg up. Other countries don’t allow candidates to release paid political ads, so none of those cheesy overdramatic commercials where candidates are ragged on for 45 seconds. Instead, the United Kingdom will provide candidates with free airtime on public television for them to take advantage of. France has its own method for avoiding this issue by forbidding any campaigning until two weeks prior to the election.
While the American government is slowly starting to fund state colleges, overseas they actually believe in a free education. They aren’t trying to make money off of their citizens, but rather ensuring they live up to their potential. It has gotten so bad that Americans often move to another country to receive their degrees, giving them little or no connections in their industry if they decide to move back to the states. So, usually, they don’t come back. America is so focused on ensuring there’s a class system in place, that they’ll never offer free colleges. They want to ensure there’s a population around that will be forced to do all the dirty work once they’ve gotten rid of all of the illegal immigrants and taken welfare away from those using drugs. Drugs that are often taken to self-medicate mental health issues that were never diagnosed because Americans don’t receive affordable healthcare and we’ve applied a negative stigma to common mental illnesses. Certainly rings freedom, doesn’t it?
Speaking of affordable healthcare, we’re basically the only developed country not to have it. Some believe that our government simply can’t figure it out. If Canada can do it though, why can’t we? Well, the simple answer is that our government doesn’t want to. America is run by a bunch of rich old white guys who couldn’t care less if you die of a cold because you couldn’t afford to go to the doctor. Our country is all about survival of the fittest, and being poor often means you’re on your own.
There are four nations who don’t guarantee maternity leave. Four, in the entire world. They include Liberia, Swaziland, Papa New Guinnea, and of course, the cheap-ass Americans. On average larger companies will offer women four to six weeks after they’ve given birth OR while they’re on bedrest. More modern companies offer new fathers leave as well, but that is few and far between. If they’re not having their employees slaving away 40 to 60 hours a week, then they’re considered disposable, which is why American citizens seem to be loyal to the companies they work for rarely. Now for the numbers that will shock you. Vietnam provides all employees six months of leave with full pay, while in Estonia, Spain, and Hungary they’re guaranteed their job for three years and can take unpaid leave. Once again, even Canada has figured this one out, allowing new parents to split the first year with their newborn paid at 55% of their salary.