The Newsroom: “We Just Decided To” transcript: Will’s America’s greatness rant

Newsroom "We Just Decided To"

Will McAvoy (Jeff Daniels) gets ready to verbally disembowel a college student in a rant on America’s greatness in “We Just Decided To.”

Check out Will McAvoy’s (Jeff Daniels) opening rant to a college student question about why America is the greatest country in the world from the opening moments of “The Newsroom” pilot “We Just Decided To,” written by Aaron Sorkin.

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Jenny: “Can you say why America is the greatest country in the world?”

Sharon:  “Diversity and opportunity.”

Professor: “Louis?”

Louis:  “Freedom and freedom…so let’s keep it that way.”

Professor: “Will?”

Will: “The New York Jets.”

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Professor: “No, I’m going to hold you to an answer on that.  What makes America the greatest country in the world?”

Will: “Well, Louis and Sharon said it.  Diversity and opportunity and freedom and freedom.”

Professor: “I’m not letting you go back to the airport without answering the question.”

Will: “Well, our Constitution is a masterpiece.  James Madison was a genius.  The Declaration of Independence is, for me, the single greatest piece of America writing…”

(Professor keeps staring).

Will: “You don’t look satisfied.”

Professor: “One’s a set of laws and the other’s a declaration of war.  I want a human moment from you…what about the people? Why is America…”

Will: “It’s not the greatest country in the world, professor.  That’s my answer.”

Professor: “You’re saying…”

Will:  “Yes.”

Professor: “Let’s talk about…”

Will: “Fine.”

(Will turns to Sharon)

Will: “Sharon, the NEA is a loser.  Yeah, it accounts for a penny out of our paycheck, but he…”

(Gestures to Louis)

Will: “…gets to hit you with it anytime he wants.  It doesn’t cost money…it costs votes.  It costs airtime and column inches.  You know why people don’t like liberals?  Cause they lose.  If liberals are so fucking smart, how come they lose so god damn always?”

Sharon: “Hey…”

(Will turns to Louis.)

Will: “And with a straight face, you’re gonna tell students that America is so star-spangled awesome that we’re the only ones in the world who have freedom?  Canada has freedom.  Japan has freedom.  The UK, France, Italy, Germany, Spain, Australia…Belgium has freedom!  So…207 sovereign states in the world…like 180 of ‘em have freedom.”

Professor: “Alright…”

(Will turns to Jenny.)

Will: “And, yeah, you…sorority girl.  Just in case you wander into a voting booth one day, there are some things you should know.  One of ‘em is there’s absolutely no evidence to support the statement that we’re the greatest country in the world.  We’re 7th in literacy, 27th in math, 22nd in science, 49th in life expectancy, 178th in infant mortality, 3rd in median household income, number 4 in labor force and number 4 in exports.  We lead the world in only three categories: number of incarcerated citizens per capita, number of adults who believe angels are real and defense spending, where we spend more than the next 26 countries combined, 25 of whom are allies.  Now, none of this is the fault of a 20-year-old college student, but you, nonetheless, are, without a doubt, a member of the worst period generation period ever period, so when you ask what makes us the greatest country in the world, I don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about!  Yosemite?!”

(Silence.)

Will: “It sure used to be.  We stood up for what was right.  We fought for moral reason.  We passed laws, struck down laws, for moral reason.  We waged wars on poverty, not on poor people.  We sacrificed, we cared about our neighbors, we put our money where our mouths were and we never beat our chest.  We built great, big things, made ungodly technological advances, explored the universe, cured diseases and we cultivated the world’s greatest artists AND the world’s greatest economy.  We reached for the stars, acted like men.  We aspired to intelligence, we didn’t belittle it.  It didn’t make us feel inferior.  We didn’t identify ourselves by who we voted for in the last election and we didn’t scare so easy.  We were able to be all these things and do all these things because we were informed…by great men, men who were revered.  First step in solving any problem is recognizing there is one.  America is not the greatest country in the world anymore. “

Jason KobelyThe Newsroom: “We Just Decided To” transcript: Will’s America’s greatness rant

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