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America Is Not The World?


Clarkey
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Right to the question in question, related to the question about the question of questionable question. Simply its not rocket science, the questions there and answers can be sent on a postcard or conveniently replied to here. But I felt it was interesting to raise here (its something we were discussing on another forum), where there is a mix of American and non-American posters.

 

It's really trendy to dislike America, especially with Iraq still being fresh on people's minds. Do you hate America or Americans in general? I don't particularly love America mainly for a lot of the crap tv that pollute the screens but they do get some unfair criticism. Mainly the people, with lazy generalizations such as, "all American's are stupid". Not all, many but not all.

 

 

To start off my response, I do not hate all americans. It would be as lame a generalistaion as piping up with a view of hating all Arabs or all children or all straight people, simply it is wrong to generalise and tarnish all with the same brush. I have quite a few American friends I have made through college and university life (the joys of studying Art with its mix of here there and everywhere :)), and to disregard them all with the general view of lack of intelligence, ignorance and arrogance is as dumbfounded as that view.

 

However I think, politically, as a nation, they are somewhat ignorant. It's a fairly well known that only 10% of American's even have a passport, let alone consider using it. While I think that's inevitable when your own country is so vast and so varied, but I also think it accounts for what can be (or gives the impression of being) a very insular and blinkered mindset. The impression I get is that some Americans see other ways of life from their own as fundamentally wrong, not that that's due to stupidity or evil, just due to having been (so to speak) sheltered. These people think that the American democracy is not only the best but the only way to be, politically - and that is an absurd claim, considering how dodgy American politics can be (other countries can be just as dodgy for the record, as is the joy of politics). For a start they have a two party system. I feel that it's somewhat hypocritical of them to slate other ways of life for being totalitarian when in reality they do not have a wealth of alternatives. They certainly don't have the kind of free and participable kind of political system we have here in the UK. By this I mean that in the UK for a few hundred quid, anyone can set up a political party and if they can prove legitimacy they can be eligible to run for power. Now, we all know that many of them are mad and stand a minimal chance of election (BNP, monster raving loonies etc) but the fact that they can exist at all is a testament to how good the UK is in allowing freedom of political expression and having a democracy in which people can get involved and actively be a part of if so wished. The US is stuck with the two, and the very idea of any small, independent parties would probably shock them, and yet some Americans (arguably many) seem to be under the impression that theirs is a perfect democracy.

 

I also think that since the US has a very minimal welfare state (the obvious exception being an apparently reasonably functioning education system), there is very much a gulf between rich and poor. As long as that continues to grow, they're likely to have problems. We saw after Katrina that housing was blown away and there were problems dealing with the emergency and the aftermath, especially in the poorer districts. Because many of the people were too poor for housing insurance, they are almost destitute. health care, also, is only provided for minimally. In the states, to receive welfare aid you have to be exceedingly poor (from what I've read so its easy to argue my view is blinkered), so there are the people who have, the people who have nothing, and in between the people who struggle to make ends meet but not enough to be able to claim assistance. It's a big problem I feel because, firstly it could (potentially) incentivise (is it even a word) poverty, and be a disincentive to labour, and secondly, it widens the gap from rich to poor.

 

Perhaps the americans who are somewhere in the middle just don't think about politics at all, I think the rich ones do because it affects them, and the poor or repressed or disadvantaged, likewise (of course the same could be applied to here.) That means there's a vast swathe of America which doesn't know or care about really quite urgent issues. I think many of them were blinkered over the Iraq thing, and I think many of them are blind in terms of what's happening with their economy (apparently their pension fund's something like 14 *trillion* dollars in debt.) I think also, because the dollar is the world's major exchange, and more crucially, oil reserve currency, they believe they can coast along. But there have been worries that oil producing nations will stop using the dollar as their main currency, and that chinese growth could undermine the dollar also. If that happens, the US economy will be dead in the water. Most of it relies on the exchange and use of dollars abroad to keep it afloat.

 

So, no, I do not hate americans at all but I do think they are too insular, blinkered, and I think they are complacent about their status as superpower with the pride that comes before a fall. Basically, I think they need to start being more wary of how administrations treat the economy and other countries in relation to the US.

 

Also, as a footnote, I think that religion in US is perhaps out of control. I am of the firm belief that government and religion must not mix. It comes back to being too insular, and I think that unless American's become more open to non-traditional ideas and non-christian values, they are in danger of becoming hated by other religions (we can see that already.) I think they are in danger of alienating future American's by being too single minded, and I think it adds to their ideas of superiority, which really, are perhaps a little unfounded.

 

Once again, I'm not really talking about individual American's, but the outlook of the nation, collectively, as I see it which is the purpose of this thread, peoples direct response to the question. Reading back through my post it could also be an indicator that throughout I keep referring to American's when I am referring to the United States of America, not America as a whole. One to ponder.

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I agree with most of that. The only thing I could add is that a lot of Americans are quite ignorant (I snapped at a girl who wished me a happy thanksgiving - which wasn't a cool thing to do, but it p***ed me off) but I know many who have talked sense with me, know the flaws of the country, and have even apologised for George Bush. Not all Americans are ignorant - a lot of them are very educated to cultures, sociology and the difference between propaganda and reality.

 

That's all I can add.

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The general "We are better than EVERYBODY!" attitude that Americans seemingly all give off, at least for the most part, annoys the ever-loving **** out of me, I cant deny.

 

The way they think their armed forces are the 'best' in the world, makes me cringe. Listen, American people, your armed forces are NOT the best in the world, not even close, they are simply the most powerful and it is down to simple basic power in numbers and the fact you have a ton of high tech gadgetry at your disposal. Your training is still wayyyyyyy behind that of the British armed forces, among others.

 

And please, stop calling us "Brits", its ****ing infuriating. Its like us calling you Yanks, dont do it. I'm English, other people are Welsh, Irish, Scottish etc, stop lumping us all in as simple "Brits", I'm begging you, I despise that term.

 

Another thing, when you are on the TV or outside of the confines of the USA, you dont automatically HAVE to act like an hyper-active loud-mouth prat.

 

I could go on and on, listing the little things, but my main problem with the American people is that they are, seemingly, so damn ignorant to anything and everybody who live outside of the USA. I dont think they realise their nation is only what, 513 years old? The rest of the world was around long before the United States decided they had to become the world Police.

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Since I'm a Brit who lives in the US, I think I have a different perspective from most people.

 

The attitude I get from most Americans (those from around the country) is that the US has to "police" the world as they're the big dog - the seem to ignore the fact that the country is in huge amounts of debt and has real problems.

 

Even though they're digging themselves into bigger messes (like Iraq) and such, they still believe they are right.

 

Now, not all Americans have this view, the more intelligent and "enlightened" ones tend to see things for what they are, and know that there are problems, but they're still proud to be American.

 

 

The funniest thing I heard fairly recently was after the London bombings, an American actually said to us "don't worry, we'll get them for you" - what makes this funny is that the people who actually did the bombings are/were British. :P

 

The other issue I see a LOT is one that's been discussed in the Muslim thread - they believe that Christian = good, all other religions = evil, with no regard to who the people are. This pretty much extends to countries as well as religions - America = good, all others (with the exception of the UK) = bad.

 

 

Yes, there's an AWFUL lot of arrogance which goes along with most Americans.

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The USA is techinically only just over a centuary old, basically a baby in terms of history! Its why it always amuses me when they talk their history, i mean we have people who are virtually older than their country!

 

But in all seriousness the general arrogance of a lot of Americans is an irritation, and also the ignorance of what is outside America. There are a lot who simply don't know and don't want to know about wahts outside the States. Its a frustration when they dont even know basic geography and does stem from an arrogance of that they don't need to know anything else about the world.

 

But thats not all americans, my grandfather is american and wasnt like that, nor are any of the other americans i know. A lot of the country may be like how they've been described but a significant amount aren't.

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The USA is techinically only just over a centuary old

Actually, it's just over 225 years old.

 

The Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776, so in July next year, it's 230 years old.

 

Still a baby, but remember that the people who founded the country came from older civilisations, which is unusual for a country.

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When you say the people who founded it' date=' do you mean the British, or do you mean the Native Americans?[/quote']

The British - the Native Americans never named the country, so it was just their land, although they had lived here for thousands of years before it was "found". :P

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Yeah it was the way you put it i got confused. Yeah bloody settlers stealing their land and killing them. They have the rights to being the original citizens but get treated like second class citizens. My little bug bear there, my family heritage is American Indian.

 

And Belty if you're talking about the United States of America then you're wrong it was 1776.

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Hey it was discovered in 1492' date=' so its 513 years old like I said, I'm right, your all wrong, I'm better than you![/quote']

Actually, it was "found" thousands of years before by the people who already lived there. :P

 

 

As a country though, it was "founded" in 1776, before that it was just a lump of land. :P

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Well as me living un a ''Commonwealth'' of the USA, I can speak on the subject but not that much as I don't live in the actual United States. But yeah I believe that the americans think their GOD, so for example, when something like 9/11 happened everyone in the USA and including me were shocked as hell.

 

Because how can something like this happen to the USA.:eek ,

I mean the top dog nation in the world. Thats what most americans thought. And I obviously wouldn't wanted 9/11 to happen, but at the same time it's a good thing, because it lets the american know that their not GODS, that the same things that happen to every other country can happen to them too.

 

It just made americans aware that the USA isn't that powerful after all.

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