From a world perspective…
In light of recent politics in America, how do those people in other countries view Americans? How do you feel about our politics? Are Americans viewed positively or negatively?
Be honest please,
As Katherine Lanpher, the co-host on the Al Franken Show says, “You don’t wanna know”
I know that the non-US world doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving but do any of you have holidays that are devoted solely to stuffing yourself w/ food (besides the standard ones like Christmas, Hanukkah, end of Ramadan, etc.)?
PS - I’m stuffin’ myself tomorrow
Some good... some bad. For me that's like any group of people.
Some of my favourite things in the world come out of the US, and some of the things I hate the most do too.
I have a grudge against US customs because I was sent back without getting out of the airport when I flew to Sanford in Florida a few years back. That was essentially because I was caught with a small amount of hash on me 12 years ago and some problems relating to my name caused customs to look at my records a lot more closely than is usually called for.
I guess I can't complain all that much. In many countries I would have been put somewhere rather less pleasant than back on the plane (NOTE: don't misread the above... I did not have drugs on a flight.. I was turned back on account of being caught with them many years before the event).
How do you feel about our politics?
I think American politicians are absolutely full of it and rarely tell the truth. I also think it's essential that politicians are absolutely full of it and rarely tell the truth. Where did this crazy idea that honesty is the best policy come from? If you believe the world gets by on honesty then you are living an illusion. Lot's of people are stupid (in all countries). You have to get these stupid people to run with you by feeding them a bit of BS every now and then. Educating them or making them understand would take far too long and sometimes is plain impossible.
Let me use a UK example to illustrate here. The most popular paper in this country is called the Sun. It spouts absolute brain rotting drivel and changes allegiances at the drop of a hat. They are more likely to support a politician in an article based on what the latest trendy media starts think is 'hip cool and groovy' than policies and historic behaviour. If the common Sun reader who is allowed to vote is fed a bit of BS to keep them from their reactionary, euphoria inspired looney protest machinations then so be it. Gotta keep 'em happy somehow and doing the right thing never seems to help.
Are Americans viewed positively or negatively?
Back to my first answer above… it varies a #### of a lot. I wish I could travel to America without such a pain in the Harris (I would have to book holiday and accommodation and then apply for a visa which may be refused).
If the question is asked with recent events in mind then the answer varies even more. There are a lot of people over there whose sense of reality I would question… but clearly a lot of people have the right idea too.
Yeah, like Mike said (I find I agree with the Toker quite often nowadays !) - Don’t go there man, you don’t want to know…
And, btw Mike, every payday is like that for me !
"Ah - My money’s in. Off to the steakhouse."
We only have the usual ‘big day big eating’ over here.
Our Christmas dinners are like I believe thanksgiving to be.
Just without turkey. We have every other major meat group you can think of…
But I do want to know.
Well, I had a reply typed. But I decided not to post it as it would upset too many people.
No, we want to hear it. Really. Our media never tells us what real people think.
Razorback, some of us know that our politicians are mostly full of it. Not quite all of them are, however. But most are.
USA - Big place, you’re talking a lot of people and many different sub-cultures. I think your very question highlights one of the things I think about Americans, and that is there tendency to stereotype and over-simplify things. Of course I realize my response is doing the same thing
Seeings we’re going down that road then:
It’s a little bit scary sometimes how little many (most) US citizens know about the rest of the world. This lack of knowledge and understanding fuels a subtle arrogance and a belief that the American way is the best way, encourages an independence from the rest of the world (or a thinking that they don’t matter) and encourages a lack of social and global responsibility. The current president is a great example of that. Now there is much about the USA which is great, but there is also much that isn’t great for the US itself, certainly isn’t great for the world as a whole, and often isn’t really applicable to certain other regions anyway. The fact all would not be well with the world if it was all exactly the same as the USA - the problems would still remain.
I think there’s also a tendency in the states to stereotype or over-simplify complex issues into a particular ‘this way or that way’ point of view. The whole left-wing/right-wing debate you guys have around here on a regular basis is a classic example. A great society is one with personal freedom, opportunities for all, rewards for those who deserve them and protection and care for people who need it. Why can’t you believe in a market economy and a welfare state at the same time?
Also what I appreciate about UK politics is that moral issues aren’t confused with political ones. You’d never find a party over here campaigning on anything to do with abortion, for example. Our politics respects a politican’s freedom of thought and freedom of choice in these areas. This also encourages more cross-bench collaboration and understanding on important issues and less of the playing politics with things that matter.
I’ve also got to say I find the particular brand of ‘liberalism’ which is bandied around in the states a bit scary as it seems to actually take away personal freedom more than it does protect it. If you wanted to categorize me, I’d probably be considered a ‘fundamentalist’ because I’m a Christian, I believe the Bible, and that if what you believe contradicts what I believe then you must be wrong as we can’t both be right. However, my commitment is therefore to ensure that the society we live in gives us both freedom to believe and express our views (within a consensus of what is necessary to protect individuals). I don’t see that expressed in the mainstream in America (although I suspect there are people who believe similarly and it’s may just be the media which would have us believe that God is a republican and that anyone liberal is the antichrist
However, having said all that the Americans I’ve met or had dealings with are generally a great people who have great hearts. I even think your current president is probably a really nice guy with a good heart. Unforunately I also think he’s misguided in several areas.
Lets face it though, every country has it’s share of good and bad. It’s nothing to do with the country itself, it’s just the nature of people.
Thank you Daniel, finally a response. I hope more will respond honestly. I found this interesting:
|I don’t see that expressed in the mainstream in America (although I suspect there are people who believe similarly and it’s may just be the media which would have us believe that God is a republican and that anyone liberal is the antichrist|
The Republicans are doing their job. It is a fact that Democrats do not believe in legislating morals and the current Republicans do. Democrats are an easy target therefore when it comes to hotbed issues like abortion and gay rights. Democrats believe that all people are equal and therefore deserve equal freedoms under law. The current Republican machine believes that Gays are not equal and that women should not be allowed to control their own bodies. The Democratic party has not yet figured a way to get this message out without sounding like fetus killing liberals that want to screw up marriage.
You assessment is what I might have expected.
|Quote (TomS @ Nov. 25 2004,07:55)|
|Razorback, some of us know that our politicians are mostly full of it. Not quite all of them are, however. But most are.|
Indeed... but in addition I think it's absolutely essential. Honesty in politics is not logical.
Well actually I said ‘liberal’ not ‘Democrat’ - which seems to be another confusion many Americans have
It’s also untrue to say that Democrats don’t believe in legislating morals. If they really think that’s the case then they’re deceived.
|Democrats believe that all people are equal and therefore deserve equal freedoms under law. The current Republican machine believes that Gays are not equal and that women should not be allowed to control their own bodies.|
I’d sort of assumed that was just the extreme view of those who own the media machine. My personal view is that Homosexuality is wrong, but a gay person deserves the same love, protection, and opportunities as anyone else. What I see of the ‘Liberals’ in America seems to put all the focus on the fact that I think homosexual acts are a sin, and doesn’t really do anythign about basic rights or opportunities. As long as I’m not allowed to tell somebody they’re wrong then everything will be okay
I also don’t get the whole fascination with abortion. There seems to be a basic mis-match in arguments. Democrats go on about a woman’s right to choose (which you yourself have just re-inforced) and Republican’s go on about protecting unborn children. As long as that keeps up you can’t even discuss really discuss issues effectively. Personally my thinking is that, regardless of what you believe, the debate has nothing to do with choice. Nobody would accept the killing of a baby in it’s mothers womb on the day before it was born because the mother chose not to go through labour. The debate can only meaningfully be about when life begins.
Mainly, I don’t get what either of these issues have (or should have) to do with partisan politics.
I think if I lived in the US I wouldn’t know which way to go. There are large parts of both parties which I agree with and large parts of both with which I disagree strongly. I’m not convinced the two-party system you have in the states is a very effective or helpful form of government. The American system seems to be about reinforcing two inseparable extremes of views, and then having ways of ensuring that neither side is able to really have power. Also, it seems to be that the only way to actually get elected is to put the party before the people you are supposed to represent.
Personally I like the system they have in Jersey, where there are politicans who represent their constituents and there are no political parties.
Here’s one view, from New Zealand in this case:
|Quote (Daniel Smart @ Nov. 25 2004,10:59)|
|It's a little bit scary sometimes how little many (most) US citizens know about the rest of the world. This lack of knowledge and understanding fuels a subtle arrogance and a belief that the American way is the best way, encourages an independence from the rest of the world|
Who actually verifies the below filth? What statistical group confirms the statistics on such garbage?
Seems like nowadays everywhere one turns, there are statistics being tallied. And a gullible sucker every second to believe the hyperbole.
I was asking how people “viewed” the United States. These are opinions and valuable ones (as far as I’m concerned). For it is in these view points that Americans get a glimpse of how the world sees us and thinks. We certainly don’t get this from our press nor our current administration.
|Quote (jhonan @ Nov. 25 2004,07:11)|
|Well, I had a reply typed. But I decided not to post it as it would upset too many people.|
We're not living in glass houses here, John.
I too am interested in hearing you opinion on this.
Regardless of how knowledgeable you might think Americans are or are not of the world outside the US, the below quote:
It's a little bit scary sometimes how little many (most) US citizens know about the rest of the world. This lack of knowledge and understanding fuels a subtle arrogance and a belief that the American way is the best way, encourages an independence from the rest of the world
Is a widespread view of how the US is viewed, al least over here.
Well, I think I’ve made it clear re my opinion about the parochialism of the typical American in other threads.
And I’m not just talking as an outside observer, but as someone who is married to a yank (a Californian, does that count? lol) and someone who has lived and worked in the US.
I don’t think the reason is arrogance, it’s more that the USA contains “everything” so why think about the outside world?
But I blame American TV most of all. It’s commercially driven, and why would an advertiser want stories about Outer Mongolia? How many beds with adjustable sleep numbers is he going to sell there?
But as to how the US is viewed by the outside world.
Well, I can’t speak for all of it, in fact, very little of it, but one very relevant attitude is that of the Muslim world, and they see the US as the supporter of Israel, and to many of them, that is one big no-no!
As for the UK, well, mixed amounts of admiration, envy, and amusement.
All I can really do is quote one of the great Americans, the late Julia Child…
"How can a country call itself great when its bread tastes like cardboard!"
Americans…a recent hurricane caused a 35ft white pine to crash down on my truck and basketball goal, no serious damage to either. Next morning as I got started cleaning up the mess and cutting the tree up (which belonged to my neighbor), all the neighbors around me came out with chain saws and gloves on to help clean up the mess. No one asked anyone to help, just the american spirit of helping out your neighbor. That’s how I see Americans, “the people”, the government is a different story, their actions reflect how we are viewed by other countries. The big kid on the block, the bully perhaps? As an American citizen by birth I see the US ramming it’s opinion down the throats of others just for their own interests. Sorry if this upsets some folks, but it’s my 2 cents worth!
|Quote (Ali @ Nov. 27 2004,00:32)|
|All I can really do is quote one of the great Americans, the late Julia Child.......|
"How can a country call itself great when its bread tastes like cardboard!"
Ah, the great philosopher-chef Julia Child... I often think of her when I'm playing for someone something I wrote or recorded, and I am tempted to say, "well, here, of course, we'll ahve to overdub a new guitar part, and oh by the way I had a cold that night, and I really meant that to sound like this..."
"The cook should never apologize for the soup."
Great wisdom there.