Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Hope or Danger???

Which does the world see when looking at the USA? Apparently less hope and more danger according to this article. All Canadians know stories of the "ugly American". Many of us have met a member of the species (just as we all know stories of the "stupid American" and have met same). But here is the problem.

A country's leadership is not its people. I have grave concerns about how the US sees its role on the world stage, I have had them since I was a teen. (I remember back in the late-Reagan years watching an American official being interviewed on Canadian TV and asking, honestly, "when did we become the world's policemen" and responding to the screen "you made yourselves that".) But I don't believe that all Americans are too blame. I know that many, especially in the South, ay know little about Canada but how much do I really know about the US? I know that there is a civic religion in the guise of patriotism that is very off-putting, but can we really condemn national pride?

true the US does damage to its image fairly regularly. True, there is a sense of "our way or the highway" when nations meet with them, possibly moreso under the current administration. Instances like the unilateral invasion of Iraq, Abu Ghraib, the PATRIOT Act, softwood lumber and the Guantanamo detainees make the US look bad. But still, do we condemn 230 years of nationhood for that? And which of us is from a country that can't draw up its own list of faults/failures?

The US is a big target (and they have helped paint the circles). But there is a line between pointing out our concerns and being unjustly harsh. Let's try to keep on the right side of the line--it is the least we ask of them after all.

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