I read a piece in one of London's Saturday papers about an American horrified by the outing of America-hatred she experienced in that great city. People on buses verbally abusing her when they discovered she was a Yank. And worse. (And the ragging was frequent, she reported.)
I am afraid she may be delusional.
I read the hot-off-the-press polls that say GWB is overwhelmingly disliked by all Europeans except, as I recall, the Poles and the Russians. The same polls record that Americans, on the other hand, are well liked—pretty much as before. That's surely my experience. In London and Dublin earlier this week—and in Stockholm right now.
Just returned to my hotel room here after four hours shopping, strolling, and taking in a couple of museums. Dressed in my Sunday finest—hooded sweatshirt (Hanalei Bay Surf Co/Kaua'i) and sweatpants, plus trusty Merrells. You'd figure that exceptionally pacifist Sweden would be high on the list of those who might lump us Americans along with our President-policy. Not in my wanders. People, as usual, invariably went way out of their way to be helpful, courteous, cheerful—and on a miserably cold, raw, rainy day that could dim even a Swede's spirits.
In fact I think maybe people are too nice to us—if they truly think our policies are pernicious. Our roots are rather violent. (So are Sweden's, actually, but about a jillion years ago when Bengt-the-Bloody, or some such Viking, ruled.) And we did vote for Mr. Bush (well almost as many as voted for Al). We are "earth's only superpower"—at the moment. (Maybe not for so many moments more—see my stream of China riffs.) And "they"/Very Bad Guys are, if gunning for anyone, gunning for us. And we in turn have resorted to bellicosity at a level that may or may not be justified. We gulp an unfair share of the world's energy, produce a rash of internal violence, and are now engaged in a nasty war—and looking at GWB's continuing poll strength with "Security Moms," we are not entirely opposed to where we are/have been/might go.
So if you hate what my country does, go ahead, it seems fair that you take it out a little on me—and that you don't need to be so nice.
Maybe that'll happen later this week in Denmark or Germany or Italy.
Before blogging became all the rage, Tom was posting book reviews and Observations (essentially early blog posts) to this site. You can find the archives below.
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