Friday, October 21, 2011



An Indian friend of mine asked:  “Is the world looking at a turbulent America?”
He stated that the world has traditionally had a perception of America as a strong, affluent, advanced nation. In addition, American has been viewed in the past as a rich nation and strong military super power.

In view of the recent Occupy Wall Street demonstrations, he asked if that image has changed? Is America at crossroads financially and politically? Is this the most turbulent times in America’s history? I believe he asked very good questions.

I believe that only in third world countries does the positive image of America exist. Unfortunately, many people in the developed world now see America as arrogant, narrow, and gluttonous.

There have been times that are more turbulent in American history, but not with the potentially wide-reaching devastating effect of today’s “small world”. This fact creates fear and anger toward America. The consensus does not appear positive.

Another young woman gave answers that struck me as naïve and uninformed. This woman, an intelligent, outspoken, hard right-winger, dramatically insisted that the fall of America will be inevitable when Americans are criticizing free enterprise and business. (Some younger people are very opinionated. The less they know, the more they know.)

Of course, what we are actually protesting against is a system where free enterprise is disappearing and the cards are unfairly stacked against us by the elite 1%. I believe, if someone does not see how we no longer have a truly free economy and that the elite are stealing from the 99%, they are in deep denial or blind.

For good measure, she added a personal attack on “those Americans” who support the Palestinian cause. If we show any sympathy or support to the Arabs, we are truly lost! That statement struck me as highly ironic considering that it is our adversarial stance toward the Arabs and support of the Zionist state that has stirred up Arab resentment and hatred against us.

Are there faults with America and its economic and political policies?  Yes, yes, yes!  However, they are not so easily classified. The reasons for our declining position as a super power is a subject of great debate.

Another person remarked, “I think the idealistic image of America is gone and, like a Polaroid film camera, America needs to reinvent and re-market itself in order to stay relevant to modern times.” Yes, the image is fading, but the solution will not be found in better publicity and marketing, but rather in clear actions that are beneficial to the world.

If you are a super power, you are under scrutiny. You are vulnerable to much criticism. Some driving forces of criticism are jealousy, but mostly others are because of America’s attitudes of entitlement in other countries. (No country really likes foreign bases on their soil. Put yourself in their shoes.) They view American politics as dangerous—and I understand their fears. People tend to hate what they fear.

Yet, there are other foreigners, those who gain from American expansionism, those who remember the young men who sacrificed their lives in Europe, those who have traveled and are more educated and sophisticated, realizing that Americans are not necessarily their politics—and that they are all different!

I believe people from other countries see America as becoming more aware of the existing problems and other problems American politics are instigating along with their global consequences.

Perhaps they look at America now and gloat, seeing that America is struggling financially.  Just desserts?  Or they worry that, for all their antipathy toward America, they realize they would rather have America be the superpower than other options.

Then there are those foreigners that may look at the “Occupy Wall Street” movement as courageous, active people at the forefront, trying to do something about America’s financial straits. They may remember that Americans often speak up and fight for their rights.

Obviously, many foreigners agree that the OWS are on the right track. As evidence, we see other countries following suit with 1500 OWS demonstrations around the world. Both Americans and foreigners are becoming more informed and sophisticated in realizing that the financial situation is not America’s isolated problem.

Some may look upon OWS and wonder at the coming together of so many different races and religions for not only an American cause but a world cause! Hopefully, the world will see that Americans are not American politics. Hopefully, they will recognize that, in contrast, most Americans care about not only their country's welfare but also the welfare of other countries!

My hope is that, as I have differentiated foreigners in this post, they will realize that generalizations are not always true and think for themselves, leaving out party political propaganda and cultural conditioning.

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