I didn't respond to any of yesterday's comments but only because I wanted to respond in a post.
In response to frequent criticism about the United States, I guess I am forced to ask the question, "Why?" Why do we feel so criticized and why do we feel the need to defend?
I'd say we're criticized because we do a lot of things we shouldn't. Or we try to lie about why we're doing them. We frame them in pretty pictures of 'we're helping the whole world' instead of just admitting that, like many countries, WE'RE SELF-SERVING sometimes. I'm absolutely NOT saying that everything about our foreign policy is bad, nor am I saying that we are a horrible nation. But we're uncomfortable with the political incorrectness of being self-serving so we say we're doing what no one else has the money or troops or morals to do. It may be true about the funds and the troops but I don't believe the US has the corner on the moral market. I'd even go so far as to say we're pretty two-faced about a lot of things. The US is like that bitchy girl in high school that no one really liked but had to be friends with because she was so popular. And why didn't we like her? Because she couldn't be trusted. She was false about her motives, you could never really tell what she was after or when she would turn. You had the very distinct impression she was using you. Which she was.
I'd also say that people of other nations may feel the need to criticize us because we give the impression of being pretty light on the self-criticism and examination that is necessary sometimes to grow. Do we give the example of being a nation that has learned from its mistakes? Or from history? I'm not saying we don't, I'm just asking the question. Do we?
As for seeing the points of view of other countries, gosh, where to begin with that one? The European Union, with all its issues, is a union of 27 member countries. 27 different countries who actually manage, with admittedly more or less success, to see different points of view and work together. Which is not to say that I believe the United States incapable of lifting its head out of the ethnocentrism that has dominated for so long. On the contrary, I hope we will. I believe we can.
Part of the problem is that, as a nation, I believe that we behave like an adolescent, which, historically speaking, compared to many countries, we are. What does a typical teenager do? She doesn't listen to ANYONE and thinks she knows EVERYTHING.
Here's a question for the day: when was the last time the United States listened to anyone? When was the last time the United States admitted to not knowing everything?
And lastly, I'd like to mention Ali's comment. Oh my. Again, another where to start. If you haven't read the comment, here is part of it:
The other day the local paper did a story on gas prices, and interviewed a few people at the pump. I quote:
Faith Dansby, who was putting gas in her van at a Shell station on New Circle Road, said she is coping by trying to cut down on trips, such as getting her groceries once a week rather than making multiple runs.
"As Americans, we shouldn't have to go through this," she said.
And as Ali said, "I was flabbergasted at the statement I bolded up there. WHAT? I found it very narrow-minded, and yes, chauvinistic. What about the rest of the world?"
Ali also provided a link which gave stats on gas prices in other countries. Do you realize that in France we pay over $7 a gallon for gas? And in most other European countries it's over $8?
A little relativity is always good, it gives clarity to a perspective, it provides a reference point. Perhaps that is the problem. Where is our point of reference?