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Member Rara Avis
since 06-07-99
Posts 7296
America the beautiful

0 posted 08-08-2001 04:14 PM       View Profile for Elizabeth   Email Elizabeth   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Elizabeth's Home Page   View IP for Elizabeth

I have had it with people disparaging those of us who are United States citizens. For crying out loud....WHAT is wrong with being American? Is it really that bad of a country? Are the people really that terrible? Will someone please explain to me why America and its citizens are really so awful?

Dopey Dope
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since 08-30-2000
Posts 15536
San Juan, Puerto Rico

1 posted 08-08-2001 05:11 PM       View Profile for Dopey Dope   Email Dopey Dope   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Dopey Dope

Well......the reputation of Americans is that when they go visit other countries they act like they are all big and powerful and they treat the locals like crap. Some do, some don't.
I mean it's a whole generalized opinion anyways.
I can tell you this though, since I'm not American I do have a general opinion on them. They aren't like Puerto Ricans....that's about it.
Some are nice, and some aren't.
Things work differently in the states than they do in other guys are raised differently......but hey everybody is.

Anyway I don't know....some people are just bitter towards the way certain Americans have treated them. If YOU aren't one of those evil tempered, ignorant Americans who like to do nothing but bash others then yer ok.

Key note: I'm not saying there isn't an evil tempered, ignorant Puerto Rican, yogoslavian, english, auzzie, chinese person out there.......
But since this was directed to Americans I pointed it out like it was.

Anyhow, it's nothing to worry about.
It's a generalized opinion that truly doesn't apply to all. It's a stereotype...get over it.
I have to deal with tons of crap everyday cuz i'm Puerto Rican. These are just things to ignore.  

I was born myself, raised myself, and will continue to be myself. The world will just have to adjust.

Somewhere out there a cow is laughing at you

Member Elite
since 05-23-99
Posts 4277
Coastal Texas

2 posted 08-08-2001 05:20 PM       View Profile for Alicat   Email Alicat   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Alicat

America, and it's citizens, have often been the scapegoat used by other countries to inflame their people's sentiments to refocus attention elsewhere instead of on the problems those countries face at home.

It's also a generalization, propogated in part, I believe, by the American expansionistic policies followed during the 19th and 20th centuries. Those who headed the expansions and takeovers, like the overthrow of the Hawaiian queen, were generally not nice people to the native inhabitants. Just like the former British colonies, like India, poor sentiment is focused on the occupiers, even decades and decades after autonomous self-rule. In addition, I doubt the World Policeman attitude or Monroe Doctrine really helps matters, especially when diplomats and lawmakers try to inforce American ideals, morals, and ethics upon another country.

Also, I suppose you could see it all as a nationalistic temper tantrum. A country wants something from the US. The US refuses. So, the country in question throws a large scale hissy fit, blaming the US for all the country's ills, real and imagined, current and past.
Titia Geertman
Member Ascendant
since 05-07-2001
Posts 5297

3 posted 08-08-2001 08:05 PM       View Profile for Titia Geertman   Email Titia Geertman   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Titia Geertman's Home Page   View IP for Titia Geertman

I just loved the Americans when I lived in the States (long ago), at least the people I met.

Don't worry about it.
So many people behave awsome when on vacation, but those behave probably awsome too in their own country.

When I'm in France, I really dislike the behaviour of most Dutch people, makes me sometimes ashamed being Dutch myself.

People just generalize too easely.
For I myself for instance am a very sweet Dutchie  


A rose is a rose is a rose...I guess...
Feel free to use the pictures on my website.

Member Seraphic
since 08-22-99
Posts 23002

4 posted 08-08-2001 08:32 PM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

Yep, generalizations, bigotry, prejudice and sometimes jealousy. Don't give it another thought, Elizabeth, it's their problem. Nothing you or I can do will change their opinion.
Member Ascendant
since 08-20-99
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Jejudo, South Korea

5 posted 08-08-2001 08:38 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

How much time do you have?

Of course, it is the sheer dominance of America itself. No country has ever had the military, the economic, and the cultural strength America does indeed have. Don't we all resent the big kid on the block when he starts bullying other people.

And he bullies all the time.

But Alicat and DD are also correct. Nobody likes to need but not feel needed and this is how America makes many people feel.

It is never an equal relationship with other countries and America's recent unilateral moves only strengthen the idea that America can and wants to go alone.  Many people legitimately resent this.  They live here too, you know.

Don't get me wrong, America is a fine country but it promotes the 'city on the hill' image of itself incessantly and can't live up to it.  This is often called American exceptionalism and there's nothing really wrong with it (all countries think they're unique and they are) but America and Americans often look as they are trying to slam their own individualism down other people's throats. Look at DD's quote:

"I was born myself, raised myself, and will continue to be myself. The world will just have to adjust."

DD, I know you're Puerto Rican, but I still consider this philosophy American; it would be interesting to see how that quote fits into a particularly Puerto Rican tradition. Put this quote on the international scene, and you'll see what I'm getting at.

"Individualism" when translated into Japanese and Korean has strong selfish connotations.

This philosophy is combined with an anti-intellectualism, an anti-intellectualism that confuses a cultural tradition (yes, America has one) with the 'natural' or 'best' way of doing things. Americans always think they're right (even when they think all those other Americans are wrong, when they think America is the worst), but won't discuss possible differences because they've put it under the guise of common sense.

Other traditions argue that it's the "Korean" way or the "Chinese" way. This has it's own problems of course but at least it implicity admits a pluralistic world. Americans already think they have a pluralistic society so don't need to address these issues.

From my point of view, Americans, even with their diverse histories and ethnic backgrounds, sound remarkably similar when they talk (Didn't Steinbeck say much the same thing in "Travels with Charley"?).

Because we already think we're different, we don't really talk about difference. Because we're all already individuals, we really never discuss individuality.

How can you respect other cultures when you're claiming this space, the space of difference, that other cultures wish to occupy?

I can already hear the screams of protest (or the screaming silence of apathy) so I'll stop here for now.

Member Ascendant
since 08-20-99
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Jejudo, South Korea

6 posted 08-08-2001 08:58 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad


No doubt you are correct to some extent but you also have the luxury of being able to ignore it. Others can't.

I want to say two more things to clarify the above:

1. I don't know if it was clear but I was trying to counter the usual distinction between America and Americans. I think many of the problems (certainly not all) result from the specifically arrogant way that the American government and the American people present themselves.

2. It seems that many Americans want to phrase this question in terms of 'best' country or 'worst' country. Why is that important? Let's discuss the differences between countries and see what happens.

Local Rebel
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since 12-21-1999
Posts 5742
Southern Abstentia

7 posted 08-08-2001 09:21 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

The math is...

The USA consists of roughly 5% of the world's population.

At the same time it owns or controls up to 35% of the world's resources.

We dominate the globe economically and militarily and... we police the globe as well.  

Recall about 18 months ago when there was some virus the FBI traced back to a kid in the Phillipines.  Do you remember seeing footage of the FBI arresting him?

Ask yourself this:

What was the FBI doing in the Phillipines?
Member Elite
since 06-17-2001
Posts 2607

8 posted 08-08-2001 10:02 PM       View Profile for RSWells   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for RSWells

Americans and indeed America is the melting pot of the world. In this capacity it is representative of the entire planet, all it's peoples and all it's cultures, as well as all it's religion. The planet is populated by people and therein lies the problem. It is acceptable to criticise Americans where elsewhere one would be ostracized or have a body part removed for the gesture. I see it not as an "American" thing but of human conditions in all it's vulgar glory.

"Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to decieve"

Member Ascendant
since 08-20-99
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Jejudo, South Korea

9 posted 08-08-2001 11:20 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

That, I think, is part of the problem. I just don't hear statements like that from Canadians, Australians, New Zealanders, Britons, and others.

Let alone more homogenous societies like Japan and Korea.

I think they laugh when they hear statements like America is representative of the world. Besides that, it too often slides into meaning America represents the world. Neither is true.

Also, I'm not sure the ability to criticize means we don't have to listen to that criticism (America is not the only country with free speech laws).

A little more humility might do us some good.

Member Empyrean
since 06-05-99
Posts 26302
Ft. Lauderdale, Fl USA

10 posted 08-08-2001 11:28 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

I think ANYONE who criticizes a nationality because of the actions of a few are not really worth their weight in donuts. When I was living in Venezuela, one day some of my co-workers said, "What's with you Americans? The men are marrying each other!!" (this was from a situation in California where the first gay marriage was performed in the U.S.). How idiotic that they would judge all Americans by one act. So anyone who would make general judgements to cover an entire country is way off-base and arrogant, even when they say "the way the American people represent themselves"  
Member Ascendant
since 08-20-99
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Jejudo, South Korea

11 posted 08-09-2001 01:05 AM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Wow, what a recipe for silence.

Does that mean when someone compliments a nationality, it is also idiotic?

When you came back from Venezuela and someone asked you, "How was Venezuela?" Did you omit any mention of the people, did you simply respond, "I don't know, I didn't go everywhere. I don't know, I didn't meet all the people."

Not particularly helpful for someone who might want to travel to Venezuela.

When the Venezuelan man asked you that question, did you respond in silence, did you respond with, "Yeah some Americans are pretty silly," or "It's not my place to judge others," or "If it makes them happy, it's fine with me."?  Did you lecture him on his idiocy in making that particular generalization or on making generalizations at all?

Really like to know how you responded.

I don't see how we can avoid generalizations given the way language works. I do think some generalizations are better than others and if you disagree with mine or others, that's fine.

Is it useful or useless to say that Americans speak English (even though all Americans do not)?

Is it useful or useless to say that Americans have a culture that differentiates them from, say, Britain (even though the edges of course are blurry)?

Is it useful to see patterns in the language and in the culture that others also might see if they are pointed out? Is it useful to see that other cultures might actually have some substance to their criticism?

Of course I can be wrong here, maybe these patterns are a figment of my imagination but the only way I can find out is by talking about them with other people.

Silence gets me nowhere.

Local Rebel
Member Ascendant
since 12-21-1999
Posts 5742
Southern Abstentia

12 posted 08-09-2001 01:22 AM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

I think there is an important part of the equation that's being overlooked by almost everyone here and that is all Americans are indeed -- not the same -- as has been pointed out.

You see -- hearing foreiners say things like -- Yankee go home! -- doesn't bother me -- because I am from the south --lol... and in the south -- being from Tennessee I am much superior to say -- an Alabaman, or a Georgian...

Much like India and Pakaistan get along so well.. or Koreans and Japanese -- why -- we know Brad we'd never hear a Korean say anything bad about Japan?

So, yes -- I agree -- to some extent that criticism from abroad SHOULD be taken lightly because nationalism runs rampant in the world -- but just because there are generalized slights passed against Americans doesn't mean that we don't bully the rest of the world around.

And -- when you consider that the toys we expect to obtain for less and less money (yes -- the wealthy always set the price) are not affordable and cannot be purchased for the CHILDREN abroad who make them in countries like India and China -- is it any wonder there is resentment folks?

[This message has been edited by Local Rebel (edited 08-09-2001).]

Dopey Dope
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since 08-30-2000
Posts 15536
San Juan, Puerto Rico

13 posted 08-09-2001 03:01 AM       View Profile for Dopey Dope   Email Dopey Dope   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Dopey Dope

My quote? hehe.

I really don't think that INDIVIDUALISM is only an Americanized philosophy or train of thought. It'd be a bit closed minded to assume it was.

I wasn't raised an American and out of 18yrs only lived there 3yrs (2nd, 3rd, and 4th grade) in which nothing of importance occurred.

I think that my train of thought stemmed from my own internal desire of not wanting to mesh within the hoard of individuals who conformed to an unexamined, everyday life.

The quote does praise individualism, but more so states the fact that I am who I am, and the world will have to accept that just like *I* accept the world for what it is.

Anyhow, i'd like to hear a response but won't be able to get back to you until early Sep. seeing as how I'm leaving for University in Atlanta.
See you soon!

Member Ascendant
since 08-20-99
Posts 5896
Jejudo, South Korea

14 posted 08-09-2001 04:39 AM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad


Have a great time in Atlanta.

True, I don't think Individualism is solely the province of America but I do think it is associated with the country.

In the same way, that, say, Zen -- although originating in China -- is associated with Japan.

Is that a better way of putting it?

I think Americans, quite simply, are taught to believe in this individualism to the point where Americans say strikingly similar things when asked similar questions. If they were all individuals (moreso than anybody else that is) then I would think they would be saying many different things.

I don't see it.

If everybody says I'm an individual, then at what point does that become the passing mark for conformity? I mean, how diverse are we when everybody is saying the same thing or if it can be pinned down to three or four different things.    

I think we get in trouble when we try to apply this same way of talking outside of our culture (it seems to work fine on the inside). True, it may apply to a number of different countries as well, I'm not sure but it doesn't apply everywhere and therein lies the problem.

It's offensive to some people.

It also backfires -- "Oh, you're an American, an individual, you don't care about your family, only about yourself, only about money."

I've had to explain why Americans (generally) do care about their families, their friends, and not only about money on a number of occassions.

I also believe this to be true.

My conclusion is simply that we are under the same community and society pressures as everybody else, they simply lead to this way of speaking rather than the Korean, "our nation, our language," the Japanese, "we Japanese" and presumably different ways of doing the same thing in other countries.

But this, combined with a common sense view of the world,  and, of course, the power not to care (the main point) that other people see the world in different ways gets us in trouble.  

If only because they have to see it from an American point of view, shouldn't we at least try to understand if from another's view?

I don't think it takes that much of an effort to at least glimpse other possibilities.

Member Seraphic
since 05-20-99
Posts 24426
Cape Cod Massachusetts USA

15 posted 08-09-2001 12:40 PM       View Profile for Nan   Email Nan   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Nan's Home Page   View IP for Nan

I believe that there's a distinction that MUST be made between a 'country' (i.e. its government) and its 'people'.  We also have to consider the effects of modern media upon our perceptions of each other.

Many references in this thread allude to isolated incidents which contribute to the formulation of opinion - We can certainly thank the media for that one, can't we?  Geesh - If any country's flavor is based upon the incidences we see on the evening news, we're ALL in trouble.  We see what the media and/or the government WANTS us to see... I certainly don't consider those incidences to be typical of our societies...

As for country vs. its peoples... There are many countries with poor governments in our world (topic for another discussion).  Every country is full of PEOPLE - good ones, bad ones, and in-between ones.  I prefer to make my judgments upon the individual before me - not the government under which that person may reside...
Member Rara Avis
since 07-17-99
Posts 8273

16 posted 08-09-2001 06:39 PM       View Profile for Severn   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Severn

Well time to expound deeply...

NZers, while following American trends faithfully, have a lot of negative things to say about the institute of America and the people who live there: most of it stems from ignorance. A lot of comes from media portrayal...

Of course, all the kiwis I know (including myself) who have actually been to America (oh and anthropologists heh) know that people are people everywhere, and further - Americans are generally lovely...


I am a refugee of logic...insisting
on unlikely land with every step.

[This message has been edited by Severn (edited 08-09-2001).]

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Jejudo, South Korea

17 posted 08-09-2001 08:48 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad


You're right. The distinction has to be kept. I certainly don't want to blame the Cambodians for their own genocide by the Khmer Rouge.

But what bothers me is the loop presented by making this distinction: If American citizens are not responsible for the American government, then what does representative government mean? If we keep the distinction, what does it mean when Dubya responded in Europe to criticism of the death penalty, "It's the will of the American people."

Who takes responsibility?

I know, I know you're rolling your eyes and saying that's just what is said (or a similar phrase), but it bothers me that that is just what is said.

On the other hand, if we're keeping this distinction, who is screaming that they hate United States citizens?  I thought Elizabeth was referring to the demonstrations that happen here or in Iran or Iraq but these almost always refer to Uncle Sam or America or some such thing. True, some of the more radical areas will want retribution -- a citizen for citizen logic -- but that's because groups fight groups with their individual members.


I want more, I want more. I don't care if you agree with me or not, I just want to here your view and other New Zealanders (the "ignorant" ones too) on America and Americans.

But I know your busy. Damn, I hate it when people are busy.


Member Elite
since 06-26-2000
Posts 3219
Blue Heaven

18 posted 08-09-2001 09:15 PM       View Profile for Jamie   Email Jamie   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Jamie's Home Page   View IP for Jamie

Like it or not, every country will be judged on generalities, and ironically to this discussion--not individuals. It is our governments and media which project our image, thought on a smaller scale many tourist destinations will base their judgement on the travellers from other countries. One should remember- tourists aren't representitive of the society from which they come..when spending money on holiday/vacation people tend to show their worst sides when they feel they aren't getting full value.

As far as media portrayal goes, many things can influence us. For instance I was watching a rugby match on ESPN late last night-- Wellington was playing Canterbury, and in the beginning I was pulling for Wellington but for no other reason than I liked their uniforms better. As the game progressed I began to pull for Canterbury. Why? Because of the announcer of all things. He seemed to be overly biased in the favour of Wellington, making excuses for them,, pointing out bad calls by the officials when they were against Wellington, etc.... The point?.. Through no actions of their own, but because of the media-- I no longer liked them very much-- and looking back now, I realise I had actually began to look for more reasons to dislike them.

btw-- I went to bed shortly after Wellington went up by 15 points... should have known I would pick a

There is society where none intrudes, by the deep sea, and music in its roar.

since 04-08-2001
Posts 228

19 posted 08-09-2001 09:57 PM       View Profile for BrightStar   Email BrightStar   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for BrightStar

A lot of good things said here and a lot of empty, pseudo-philosophy.  

My family and I have travelled most everywhere in the world, with the exception of Africa, the near East, and Russia.  Most everyone you meet will treat you kindly and, if you attempt to communicate with them in their own language, most times you are greeted with open arms.  

As a "representative" of America when travelling most people in other countries you visit will tell you that you must be different from most Americans.  There are many more reasons for this than this thread will hold ... political, religious, economic, etc.  And, as previously stated, the global media will tell these people just exactly what they want them to hear.

I don't know how much time you have spent in the Orient, Brad, so I will only express sadness if you, as I believe you have stated, feel that the Korean, Japanese, or Chinese cultures (not leaving Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam, among others out for any particular purpose) are in any way superior to our own.  We could discuss that in another thread.

For all it's shortcomings the United States of America is the only place in which I would want to live.  I say that for many reasons.  It wouldn't take anyone long to figure out why ... just ask me specific questions or check our history.

We sprang from a European mother and have grown to be the "greatest" nation on earth.  We withstood attack and occupation by what was the "greatest" nation on earth in the 1770's and we overcame.  We withstood a second such attack in 1812 and overcame.  We survived a horrible Civil War and overcame.  We went to Europe in 1917 and helped England and France (and others) overcome.  We withstood a horrific attack in 1941 and overcame while again helping England and France (and others) overcome.

We could neve have done that without the homogeneity of the American people who worked together for a common cause ... a world-wide cause.  We could never have done it if we had not grown our economy with the sacrifice of the American people.  That all stems from our birthright as evidenced by our Constitution.

Now our country is a true melting pot, moreso than ever before in our short history, and that to be an American is special to Americans.  That's why people flock here from Korea, Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, the Phillipines, South America and Mexico, Eastern Europe and Russia, and Africa to name but a few.  The face of the United States of America has changed greatly over the years and that has only made her stonger.

Whether we like it or not, we are a world leader that has obligations to the rest of the world via treaties and other agreements.  Would anyone have us go back on our solemn word and violate those treaties and agreements?  I think not.  Sometimes it is difficult to accept your responsibilites, but in the end that is the only honorable thing to do.

Now I will stop, yet I could write on for many pages.

Liz, there is absolutely NOTHING wrong with being a citizen of the United States of America.  The United States of America is NOT a bad country.  Our citizens are NOT bad people and we are really not awful people.

[This message has been edited by BrightStar (edited 08-09-2001).]

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Jejudo, South Korea

20 posted 08-10-2001 08:34 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Yeah, I didn't see the game though.

Never said Korea or Japan was better. I don't believe that. I don't think it's "sad" to think they are though.

I just think some people do.

How do we deal with that?

You are "agreeing" with me far more than you apparently realize. I'm saying that Americans say things just like you said.

Others are telling me they don't or that we shouldn't or can't talk about it.

Curious what your response was when a "foreigner" told you, you were different from other Americans:

1. Yes, I am.

2. No, I'm not.

3. I don't know.

4. It's a difficult question.

I'll be back,  
Member Rara Avis
since 07-17-99
Posts 8273

21 posted 08-10-2001 11:55 PM       View Profile for Severn   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Severn

OK - here I am, taking time out of my busy world. I just noticed RSWell's comment that America is representative of the world. (I didn't read anyone's replies yesterday...)

Well...I have to say my first thought was...oh really - is it??? Is that right? Where does your evidence come from? You know...NZ has only 3.5 million people but within that population - and particularly within my city of Auckland (1.4 million people) - we have multitudes of other ethnicities (not race - because I object to that word) represented. We have a large Asian population - Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Indian, Sri Lankan, Pakistani etc. We have a huge community from the Pacific Islands (Tonga, Nuie, Cook Islands, Fiji, Samoa)...a large population from the United Kingdom, Australians, People from the Near and Middle East, Dutch people, Mexicans, South Americans, Canadians, Russians, Africans. We have a very successful refugee program for people who suffered in the Balkan Wars...yes, we even have many Americans...

I think your statement RSWells is ridiculously inaccurate..perhaps because of the sheer size (and I don't just mean size of the land) of America it looks like you represent the world. NZ has been referred to as the ultimate melting pot by dint of it's small population accomodating so many ethnicities. But my point is not to create a competition..

But aside from your first blanket statement, frankly, this one:

In this capacity it is representative of the entire planet, all it's peoples and all it's cultures, as well as all it's religion

galls me.

The entire planet huh? Yes, I wonder how many Bambuti tribesmen you have living in America? How many Peruvian shamans inhabit American soil...??? I'd be interested to know your definition of 'religion' - or were you referring solely to the world religions such as Christianity, Muslim, Hinduism, Buddhism etc? (You will find all of those in NZ btw - in fact, the latest reincartion of the Tibetan spiritual leader is a 7 year old boy who was born here.) Do you believe that expressions of magic and myth count as religion?

Simply, you will not find all the world's religions in America because there are thousands and thousands and thousands of them...

You might like to think about what you mean when you use hyperbolic statements such as 'entire world.'

Brad - what happened to your spelling mate? Heh. Here my opinion?? Off with you to CA need help. HAHAHA. j/k. I just like getting in cheap shots...

Well. I don't have time to write an essay here though I could (and want to heh). Firstly, it's difficult to view the institution of America without attaching some arrogance to it I'm afraid. There we have all the presidents of America sending aid all around the world, making patronising speeches about how brother America is there to hold the world's hand....

The thing for me is that I know that foreign aid is actually a capitalistic ideological I can't help but view America as the biggest capitalist criminal in some ways - continuing the cycle...Just as third world countries are dependent on the first world, it is true to say that the first world depends on the third world for their continuing economic superiority.

Yet, to be fair, NZ sends 'aid' regularly to Tonga...Tonga's infrastructure has changed markedly since NZ started 'helping.' And not really for the better either.

I agree that America bullies when it needs to. I believe that America manipulates regularly. For example, I have had a recent discussion with a middle eastern friend about Saudi Arabia's relations with America during the gulf war and after: He claims that they are in serious debt to America because America stripped their resources considerably during the gulf war. His major gripe - why doesn't America help with the Israeli and Palastinian situation???

It's undeniable that we live in a world economy now - of course the country with the most moolah is going to influence all other countries...

Where does that leave the opinions of the everyday NZer then??? This is what NZers see: (I've had many discussions with many NZers with America so I'm not just talking from my opinion), America is a country that divides its central govts up from state to state - where is the cohesion? America refuses to convert to the metric system like the rest of the Western world - hence you distance yourself from international relations. You have scores and scores of homeless people. The drug problem is off the wall. Racism is ridiculous. Americans speak of control...sometimes it's hard to see it.

Basically, people here who have never been to America view the country and inevitably its citizens as a bunch of people who just don't have it all together yet claim they do.

Americans are loud.
Americans are selfish.
Americans are fat.

You name it - it's been said.  (The latter statements are NOT my personal opinions).

A lot of it stems from the media and ignorance like I said.

It's unfortunate but a country's leaders - especially of a country the size (and again I don't just refer to land size) of America - really do colour the way the ordinary people are seen.

And when all we have on our 4 little non-cable tv stations are American cop and lawyer shows can you blame NZers for thinking America is utterly violent??

There you go Brad - an elaboration...


[This message has been edited by Severn (edited 08-11-2001).]

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since 02-29-2000
Posts 3797

22 posted 08-11-2001 12:38 AM       View Profile for rwood   Email rwood   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for rwood

I would have said, Thank You. As ending on a positive note always makes my Mother proud. I don't claim to know anything about anyone but myself and my children. And sometimes I wonder about them. I was born here in America. I love being an American, but then I could have fun in a paper bag. It's in the attitude for sure. Which I could only hope the entire world could have the attitude which I have adopted. Live and let live! By the freedom of trial and error. Whether you are born an American, or a Russian I only hope that you lived. That's all we are trying to do.  With freedom to do so. And as far as the politics go....The Art Is In The Science....infinity. I don't think our forefathers fought the good fight so every generation thereafter could talk shop. Just my opinion   To be proud to be an American is just as Okay as being proud to be Polish. I'm a proud parent, a proud wife too. No one takes offense to the last two. I'm proud of this forum and the discussions we can have! As I am once again making my Mother proud.


Incidentally: My father was a Navy man, and believe me we traveled. I learned that Simplicity truly is best in dealing with issues of getting along. Either you do, or you don't and no discussion is necessary. I found the world has enough hairy messes than to think too hard and create one.
Local Rebel
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since 12-21-1999
Posts 5742
Southern Abstentia

23 posted 08-11-2001 12:57 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

Methinks this conversation has proved everyone's point.. I've particularly enjoyed reading Severn, Brad, and DD..

Sometime I'd like to address some of the mis-conceptions Severn brought up -- but I think it's sufficient to say they make Nan's point rather well -- that basically without knowing each other and actually visiting a place -- all we know about a country halfway around the globe is what the various forms of availiable media tell us.

How about this?

The internet is the ultimate melting pot.

P.S.  The internet was, of course, invented in America by former Vice President Al Gore.

[This message has been edited by Local Rebel (edited 08-11-2001).]

since 06-29-2000
Posts 484
Houston, Texas

24 posted 08-11-2001 01:03 PM       View Profile for Rex   Email Rex   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Rex's Home Page   View IP for Rex

Not to worry folks, there are not too many Americans left these days. There are fewer each passing day.  What we have are enclaves of hyphenated Americans who are less concerned about America as a nation than they are about their particular ethnic background. The immigrants of the current times and the recent past have little interest in assimilating into American society (what there is left of it).  They are much more interested in the opportunities America presents and maintaining their ethnic heritage than they are in being an American.      
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