Monday, January 24, 2005

Why They Love Americans

One of the worst paranoid visions that many Americans have is that the rest of the world hates us. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Yes they do, more and more, hate our government. But virtually the entire Third World is used to living under the rule of a government that doesn't remotely reflect their attitudes in any way. So they take it as a given that no real American would actually agree with the actions of their government.

Moreover, the relatively few Americans who every show up in these places almost by definition are the ones who are most internationalist in outlook. So this reinforces the first point.

Finally, everyone everywhere really likes and admires the Spirit of Americans. That is to say, Europeans tend to walk around with an unseen box around them; typical German NGO workers in a restaurant in Uganda won't relate at all to the waiters or even restaurant owner. Americans, on the other hand, always want to say Howdy and How's It Going to everyone they meet.

The Peace Corps is the best example of this; their volunteers are universally loved. Another example: my hotel owner in St-Louis related how just last week the former American ambassador stayed there, and how amazed he was that the guy was absolutely devoid of pretense.

So I guess we're doing something right. And one hope of my little blog is to get some of the rest of us out here saying Howdy.

Lord knows, the Government sure ain't going to.

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