Another article I read in the IHT was about the Iranian minister’s comment that Americans are angry and in despair about current events. It’s true things are not going well from Iraq and Iran to North Korea and so on. It’s also true that these are rough times.
But if we look back has there ever been a time when America is not in peril? The only time I can think of when America was at it’s greatest was after WWII. The politicians have us convinced time and time again that everything will be dandy after just one more war and after it is done, then there is just one more to go, yet things never turn peachy for long.
The world is also losing it’s favorable opinion of America but in my opinion it’s still not as bad as it seems. Most countries do not like the current administration’s actions, but realize that America as a whole is still a land of opportunity and full of good people. Some Americans are afraid of traveling abroad but should you wish to travel, I would highly encourage you to do so. Other countries still welcome Americans and welcome you on an individual level. I just wouldn’t advise that you wear a “Go Bush!” sticker. I have even met many people who have visited Iran and say the people there are very kind and welcoming.
Every government everywhere pisses people off (especially their own) quite often, but on an individual basis, people are still welcoming and curious about you and your culture.
I often get questions from Americans about the Vietnamese and how they feel towards Americans. I can tell you that Vietnamese are masters of the forgive and forget mentality and just want to get on with it. There is no hostility here at all and most are concerned with doing business than the “revolutionary movement.” In fact the government it quite concerned about this for their young people. Even though many Vietnamese still suffer from Agent Orange and other debilitating effects from the war, they just want to get along with their lives and improve their situation,, not continually blame others for their misfortune which is highly commendable.
So I guess the message is this; traveling abroad is the best way in the world to get an education. It is unfortunate that America has become polarized into two camps and world events have been categorized into the simplistic “good vs. evil” ideology. Living abroad teaches you to understand both sides of any disagreement and usually come up with a conclusion in the gray area.
Most Americans are excellent people and have fought for what they thought was right. But so were the communist fighters of Vietnam, and so are Israelis’ and also Palestinians. It is horrible that both Israel and Palestinians commit horrendous acts against each other, but it seems inevitable if you can understand the immense hate from having their families blown up by the other side. I sincerely believe that most of the world’s problems comes from a profound lack of understanding the other side. If a class were offered on understanding instead of the ideology of one side or the other I think the world would be a much better place.
Unfortunately there is not a class offered in this and thus we have our current “we are righteous” and God loves us side vs. the other “we are righteous” and God loves us side. For an omnipotent being to see his creation in humans continually squabble among themselves, tribes against tribes, former tribes turned nations vs. other nations, it must be extremely disheartening and we as humans must be seen as failures.
Those that cannot see this must still cling to the belief that if we just blow up a few more people then the world will be dandy.
From my travels, I have learned that most people are good, until corrupted by hate from whatever terrible acts have been put against them. Humans are a good creation and I hate how people are vilified by governments who characterize the other side as “sadistic, soulless creatures,” or by the Church who teaches us we are born bad and must continually ask for forgiveness from only their institution.
It does appear that there are checks and balances throughout history with religion counterbalancing governments. Governments often go bad and oppress people. Religion tries to limit senseless violence and at it’s best times preaches love and acceptance. Unfortunately religion in both the Christians and Muslims seem to be preaching a lot of hate lately and are in arms with governments. This alliance turns out very bad for the people who simply want to raise a family and be happy. One cannot be happy with blowing up the other side if they are human.
Even though America is going through a rough patch, I would tell Americans to not despair or be too angry. America is still the only country I can think of that most people of the world would really like to visit and most Americans are very welcoming. American has been in tough spots before, but on the whole, things usually get better after the storm.