Many people in this world have advanced judgmental comments when it comes to America. It's actually quite miserable to witness unprincipled statements about a nation that has so many diversities.
I had an overheated conversation with an old friend about American foreign politics once. He had clear statements that America only invades countries for their own benefit, and he had this rage against the ruling American president.
He wouldn't listen to anyone but himself, and he was clearly fond of his own voice. When I tried to explain to him that foreign politics is more than mere black or white answers, and that there are many concerns that the sitting president has to think about, he wouldn't listen. I also told him that Americans have helped Europeans both during and after World War II, and in other conflicts, for example in Africa and in old Yugoslavia where other European countries just sat passively witnessing manslaughter of women, men and children for years, but he still didn't want to listen.
During the conversation we had, we didn't just talk about politics. We talked about several American topics that he willingly talked down, and I wondered why he said that he didn't like America at all -- even when we had just been in New York together where I witnessed his admiration for the country and the American people. I questioned why this person suddenly had such hateful judgments about the country he had just visited?
I also recognized that his expertise about America was poor during our conversation, so I had to ask him; do you even know if the sitting president is a Democrat or a Republican? He tried everything he could to avoid the question with empty talk, but I insisted and he finally answered "Democrat", which was wrong. Consequently, I asked him a new question; can you name just one thing that separates a Democrat from a Republican? He couldn't answer. After this conversation, I was thinking. Why did he act that way? Isn't it better to be silent when he clearly didn't have the expertise about the topic? Why does a man who clearly likes America, wearing a New York Yankees cap and Levi's jeans, suddenly hate everything about the country? But I knew that answer: It's because it's the right thing to say! In many places in the world it's best to say what people like to hear, and to talk America down has been a sure statement to win a social conversation and avoid critical questions. Often, it doesn't even matter what topic you pick; as long as you criticize an American, you will most likely end that conversation successfully with a pat on the back. If you do the opposite, and have positive reflections about America, or if you are mad enough to say that you like the country, you can be frozen out of your social network, and people are afraid of that, understandably, but to those people we should question ourselves; are they really good friends when you can't express your own opinions?
This is just an example, of many, of perceived statements about America I have experienced. Therefore, I decided to find out more. I started to travel and talk to people about America. First, I asked them some basic questions like, "What do you think of Americans?" or "Do you like to travel in America?" Often, I got biased critical answers about America and the people who live there, but I couldn't settle down with these incorrect answers. I asked them again for more specific answers and told them to think twice before they answered, I also started to ask persons one to one so that a friend, colleague or any other person couldn't affect what that person had to say.
Thus, I believe that I got better -- more reflected answers and also many different answers than the first populist statements. I strongly believe I can present accurate responses about how people in the world actually think about the country that we have heard is the greatest country on Earth, and not only quick shallow statements because it's the right thing to say.
Follow René Zografos on Twitter: www.twitter.com/zokrates
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