Friday, November 5, 2010

Opinions are like assholes...

A Facebook friend of mine posted the following letter she found written by a Canadian on

I have never been so happy to NOT be an American as I am today. To expect that Obama can fix an economic devastation in TWO years when Bush and cie had 8 years to destroy it is utterly ridiculous. It's amazing the power of brainwashing going on by the mightiest and wealthiest on the poor uneducated.

Bash this Canadian all you want. Tonight, I go to bed with a good job, free if not perfect health care, 5 weeks vacation a year and a respect for my fellow Canadians (i.e. higher taxes but it works...).

The Republicans have sold the American Dream. 99% of you will not reach it. Good luck with all that.

In the meantime, COMMUNIST China (even WORSE that ... ouuuuhhh.. "socialism") has a red hot economy and will change the balance of power in the world. Some would say they already have.

The U.S.A. under a Democratic base is respected in the world. People who invent and have ideas should be rewarded. But anyone making a million a year or more can afford to pay 60% tax to help others and infrastructure and still be rich.

But, I'm sure you super smart Americans will continue your 1950s rhetoric. Astounding.

VOTE IN Sarah Palin !!! I beg of you!! That would be the BEST! Comedy like never before.

My response to my friend was that I'm glad that person isn't an American either.  Then my friend asked if it bothers me that most people outside of America feel this way about Americans.  I responded, no, it doesn't really, because I have lived abroad three times and traveled to over two dozen countries.  And my experience is that, actually, not everybody feels this way about Americans.  It's true that a vocal number of people do claim to have this disdain for the entire realm of American people, but I can't come to the conclusion that the whole world feels that way based on a random CNN comment or twelve.  And even if they did, I believe that everyone is entitled to have an opinion.  Opinions, after all, are like assholes.  Everybody's got one.

That being said, I do wonder why so many liberal minded folks are so eager to agree with what someone in Europe or Canada thinks about the United States.  Why do they feel the need to encourage occasionally disrespectful and derisive attitudes held by non-Americans by jumping up and down and shrieking about how much the world hates Americans?  Most of all, why is it that these liberal minded people, who are usually so quick to defend the downtrodden and eager to preach about equality, are so ready to accept what amounts to a racist attitude from other people?  Think about it.  If I went around talking about how idiotic and brainwashed all people from Uganda or Spain are, many people would call me an ignorant racist among other things.  So why is it okay when non-Americans direct that ignorant attitude toward all Americans?  And why are so many Americans ready to encourage and defend that ignorance by guiltily agreeing with people who post rants about Americans as a whole?

I can't help that I'm an American.  I am neither proud nor ashamed of my American nationality.  I am an American because some people in my ancestry decided to leave Europe and move to America.  I had no control over that decision.  It's not my fault I was born and grew up here, just like it's not someone else's fault that they happen to be Russian or French or Ethiopian.  I am an American by birth and by fate and that doesn't make me a bad person.

Furthermore, I can only do so much with my votes.  I can vote for the person the rest of the world thinks is the best candidate, or I can vote for the person I think is the best candidate.  Sometimes my vote will be in agreement with everyone else's vote.  Sometimes it won't.  But it's my vote to cast or not cast, and while the Canadians and the Europeans are certainly free to have their opinions, I am equally free to have mine.  I have that freedom because I am American.  I appreciate that fact, knowing that there are places in the world where people aren't free to vote as they see fit.

The best I can do is keep traveling and keep learning and try not to reinforce the stereotype that all Americans are a bunch of isolated, arrogant idiots.  I do think a lot of Americans would be well served if they traveled more, too.  But if you choose not to travel or your perspective is different than mine is, that doesn't make you someone who is worthy of scorn or ridicule.  There is no perfect place on Earth.  Every country has its issues... every country has its assholes.  The best we can all do is try not to be assholes about another country's issues.  

And I'm still glad that CNN letter writer is Canadian.

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