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Other nations think US is literally the "land of the free?"

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posted on Jul, 12 2007 @ 09:16 PM
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A few days ago, I was introduced to a man from India. We had a usual, how-do-you-do sort of chit chat, and suddenly the conversation changed when he threw this question out to me:

"Well, Americans get free health care, free education and almost anything else they want... don't they?" -- in a seemingly spiteful tone.

I really had to try hard to bite my tongue when I answered him. But his question made me seriously wonder what sort of information other countries are getting about us "Americans" and why some of them believe that we get free health care and education, as well as the keys to a new BMW dropped in our laps as soon as we turn 18.

I have met *plenty* of well educated, intelligent men and women who suffer just as much financially as those who work in a super market. Even a very expensive and tedious education doesn't guarantee that you will own a single thing.

Is this the sort of image that our government sends out to the world, while the majority of us residing in the United States are underpaid and taxed to no end?

Has anyone else observed this mainstream idea about us "Americans"? Why do you think other countries see us in this way?

I'm extremely curious to hear some thoughts on this topic.

-Mea

[edit on 12-7-2007 by Veritas Lux Mea]




posted on Jul, 12 2007 @ 09:35 PM
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As someone who has lived in several countries, I can tell you, I often found foreign on-the-street opinion concerning the US surprisingly off.

Frankly, whether based on admiration or envy (there are healthy doses of both abroad), the dominant theme was that America is a place of wealth and excess...where everything is easy.

But hey, American perceptions seem universally wrong when it comes to their view of foreigners too.



posted on Jul, 13 2007 @ 12:01 AM
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Hi loam,

Thank you for your post! I agree with you regarding our own lack of accuracy in opinion when it comes to foreigners. Its always been an intense interest of mine -- culture, travel and new lands/people.

You definitely confirmed my thoughts on this topic. Although, I've never personally been overseas (yet), I can imagine how much more false belief is out there.. which you've experienced first hand.

You're very lucky to have had the opportunity to explore this world.

I appreciate your input and kind tone in responding.


-Mea



posted on Jul, 13 2007 @ 12:34 AM
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Originally posted by loam

Frankly, whether based on admiration or envy (there are healthy doses of both abroad), the dominant theme was that America is a place of wealth and excess...where everything is easy.



I'm not sure about the envy - maybe if you lack understanding of what life is really like in the States, as opposed to the brainwashing of Hollywood, which incidently affects both foreigners and Americans.

I have lived all over the world and have heard and continue to hear many peoples opinions on the United States.

Quite simply, the veil has been lifted. We used to think that you were the good guys - that is no longer true. In general most people think that you are greedy and lazy - sorry but the truth hurts.

Edited to add arrogant and ignorant. It may seem tough and you can call me anti-american but my husband is an American and until he met me, he thought that America was the 'greatest' and 'best' in the world.




[edit on 13-7-2007 by deessell]



posted on Jul, 13 2007 @ 01:26 AM
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Originally posted by deessell
In general most people think that you are greedy and lazy...

...arrogant and ignorant...





Traits we appear to share with the rest of the human race.


If anything has been exposed, it's that the United States is as vulnerable as the rest of the world to corrupting influences.

We are no different than anyone else. We love our families... build friendships... plan and hope for the future... search for purpose...

If anything is arrogant, it's the subtle but nonetheless smug satisfaction I witness from those who enjoy seeing the diminished luster of our great democracy and feel justified for doing so.

If one is actually wiling to vilify our people for vulnerabilities we share with the rest of the world, then I think that provides the perfect example of arrogance and ignorance.

After all, pound for pound, we got plenty right.

The fabric of the 'veil' you mentioned was filled with real promise. Where else in the world has that widely been the case?



posted on Jul, 13 2007 @ 01:34 AM
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America is land of the free( Sort of)
-In Iraq when I lived there at the age of 16 your first
born son would be deported into the military.
-Christians in Iraq always get picked on thus they come
to America to be free.
-Africa you would be lucky to get a good education, you come
to the US and you get schools (not free) but with the help
of financial aid it makes it easier.

I can keep going on and on.



posted on Jul, 13 2007 @ 02:10 AM
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Originally posted by Equinox99
America is land of the free( Sort of)
-In Iraq when I lived there at the age of 16 your first
born son would be deported into the military.
-Christians in Iraq always get picked on thus they come
to America to be free.
-Africa you would be lucky to get a good education, you come
to the US and you get schools (not free) but with the help
of financial aid it makes it easier.

I can keep going on and on.


What a joke, is that the best examples you can use - Iraq and Africa. What about people from G8 countries or other 'Western' Countries? I think you may find those people are less likely to want to move the 'land of the free'.

Also you need to ask yourself why those countries are poor and lacking in infrastructure.



posted on Jul, 13 2007 @ 02:22 AM
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Ask yourself this then why are the foreigners
from Iraq, Africa, India, Pakistan, and other poorer
countries coming to America??
Because they get more of a chance then other
places. You can come to America at 40 and still make
something of yourself.
Can you do this is Europe? Try it and find out
how hard it is. Personally I have been to Europe
on the way to North America, and it was
very very expensive to live.

The rules in America are less strict then back home.
If your caught stealing first time you don't get your hand
cut off.
Your not worried that your children might be abducted or killed.
If this is not freedom then why don't we all just join Al Qaeda for
tea and biscuits?



posted on Jul, 13 2007 @ 02:33 AM
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Originally posted by deessell
Also you need to ask yourself why those countries are poor and lacking in infrastructure.


How far back in history do you want to go?


I'd be curious to see your opinion on the matter.



posted on Jul, 13 2007 @ 03:00 AM
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What I found stunning on my trips to the US was the total lack of reality that a lot, not all, of US people have about the world.

I think that is exhibited by how few US citizens actually have passports and have been outside the US.

Those that have been away from the US seem a lot more well adjusted as to how the rest of the world see the US and how they see the world.

I just dont like going round the world and seeing 7-11's, Mc Donalds and these strange 'sub' shops.

I eat Ham rolls not Ham submarines



posted on Jul, 13 2007 @ 03:25 AM
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In my experience, the way the U.S. sells itself outside of the States, portrays that image.
They are leaders in entertainment (the largest movie and music industry). They have a pretty high standard of living (SUV's...), and it's a huge country (in comparison), has lots of room, everyone could find a spot to live with no neighbours for miles. Compared to other countries you really do have a chance at owning a house, a huge house (average by American standards)with indoor a/c, plush wall-to-wall carpets (many homes elsewhere have wood or tiles, with rugs)...the States is also home base for many huge multi-national corporations, like McDonald's, Burger King, Coca-Cola, Pepsi, etc. Families can afford two cars, and some even one for Junior when he hits 16.
They sell lifestyle - Reebok, Nike, Adidas...etc. People buy into that, worldwide. It's pressure enough when you're in America...

Many people have family members or know of someone who emigrated to the States and "made it", what it took to make it is, of course, less discussed.

In the U.S. people are less conservative than elsewhere, you can do anything without too much hassle. No one is really surprised or shocked at anything.

You should look up just basic things, that other countries have in place...like how to obtain a marriage license, or name change, divorce, in the U.S. this is all easy in comparison. Just a couple dollars. Elsewhere, some things are close to impossible.

You can make money in just about anything you can think of... Other places are much more bureaucratic (or completely arbitrarily chaotic, with ever changing rules and regulations), traditional, strict, structured and therefore confining, corrupt...so people see the U.S. as being free. On the surface there is less corruption and more fairness in day-to-day life.

America loves individualism, other places don't. For people that want to break free...very attractive.

The list is endless, and it might also be a fair bit of consumerism...to sell a product, you also sell yourself, so people want to be like you...so maybe a certain aspect of America was projected and magnified, other aspects were excluded, to portray any American product, way-of-life or whatever as desirable. And power is always attractive - America is a very powerful country. Military presence worldwide, with relatively affluent soldiers...Troops in America may be underpaid, and unappreciated, but Uncle Sam treats troops overseas a little different. Not much, but enough to portray an image that they take care of their own. The base in Ramstein, Germany had one of the biggest and best golf courses in Europe. Subtle statement.

But in the end, it is the enthusiasm for life and individuality that Americans themselves portray, the diversity in a land of Coca-Cola and the Wild-West.
A place which spawns deeper thoughts into the scheme of things, which allows free thoughts, speeches, writings and ideas. The openness of the speech, the very way of talking.. The apparent lack of social classes (anyone that makes money can "belong" to the upper echelon, in many parts of Europe for example, if you weren't born to it, you're never really accepted), the live and let live mentality, the innate friendliness (which to most Americans is just showing manners)...all that is what is attractive.

You only look at the negatives when you have to wake up to it every day.



posted on Jul, 13 2007 @ 03:34 AM
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Originally posted by Chorlton
What I found stunning on my trips to the US was the total lack of reality that a lot, not all, of US people have about the world.

I think that is exhibited by how few US citizens actually have passports and have been outside the US.


That is true for most people in the world.


Originally posted by Chorlton
Those that have been away from the US seem a lot more well adjusted as to how the rest of the world see the US and how they see the world.


Sometimes.


Originally posted by Chorlton
I just dont like going round the world and seeing 7-11's, Mc Donalds and these strange 'sub' shops.

I eat Ham rolls not Ham submarines


I have to admit...not my choices either.


But let's be clear, those places obviously work overseas or they wouldn't be there.



posted on Jul, 13 2007 @ 09:39 AM
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Originally posted by loam

Originally posted by Chorlton
...how few US citizens actually have passports and have been outside the US.


That is true for most people in the world.

I don't know where one would find the figures to support or refute this. One would expect that, on average, most people in most countries don't have passports. However, I believe that Europeans and well-off Southeast Asian countries probably have higher passport ownership per capita than the United States. Canadians certainly do: see this article. Young Australians and New Zealanders generally tend to 'go walkabout' round the world soon after leaving school, so I would imagine passport ownership in those countries would also be rather high. And while South Asian passport ownership is probably very low on average, some regions of those countries (such as, for example, the Indian state of Kerala) have relatively high passport ownership because many of their people live and work abroad -- often as manual labourers, domestic servants and the like. In Sri Lanka, remittances from overseas workers are one of the top three contributors of foreign earnings. The Philippines is another country where great numbers of people, often originally very poor people, work abroad.

America is a huge country -- almost a world in itself -- and Americans can travel great distances on vacation or on business without ever leaving their own shores. Perhaps this explains why, relative with other countries, so few of them travel abroad.

[edit on 13-7-2007 by Astyanax]



posted on Jul, 13 2007 @ 10:23 AM
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Hi Astanax I got my idea about passport ownership from here
www.gyford.com...
And severalother places but I think it averages out at around 25% passport ownership.

The problem of holidaying in ones own country is that one doesnt get too many differing opinions about things.

International travel is the big mind expander.
I remember my first trip to Africa and on seeing people actually living in mud huts and it was an immense shock to me. I had seen it on TV but for some reason the mind doesnt associate a lot of TV images with reality.
My first time in Vietnam when I saw the tiny villages made me cry later in my Hotel Room.

I know the US is a huge and diverse place and was amazed at the difference in people between New York and LA.
My favourite US place was Baltimore and the Chesapeake Bay area, just LOVED them crabs



posted on Jul, 13 2007 @ 10:33 AM
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Originally posted by Chorlton
And severalother places but I think it averages out at around 25% passport ownership.


I'd be interested to see the statistics for western Europeans. My bet is that their percentage does not exceed that...and I'm willing to bet that in terms of the raw numbers it comes nowhere close.


Originally posted by Chorlton
I know the US is a huge and diverse place and was amazed at the difference in people between New York and LA.

My favourite US place was Baltimore and the Chesapeake Bay area, just LOVED them crabs


But what a mess to eat!



posted on Jul, 13 2007 @ 10:39 AM
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This report from Hansard states the UK level is 77%

www.publications.parliament.uk...

And those crabs? yep messy, but as another person said, "finger licking good"



posted on Jul, 13 2007 @ 10:48 AM
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Originally posted by loam
who enjoy seeing the diminished luster of our great democracy


Which country are you talking about may I enquire? I thought this waas about America and how foreigners saw us, am I mistaken or have you bought into the "Smartest Woman in the World" Hillary Clinton's notion that America is a Democracy. I dare you to look up Democracy in a dictionary, preferably an older one, maybe 1865 or so. Then look up what Benjemin Franklin said to the woman outside Constitution Hall in Philly after the Constitution was made? Did Franklin say he gave us a "Democracy" if we can keep it?

Democracy is 2 wolves and a sheep deciding what is for dinner. Democracy is TYRANNY of the many over the FEW. America was/is a Constitutional Republic with some democratic principals, but not in our Federal government...

I can see how easy it is for foreigners to not understand America when Americans don't... What ever happened to civics classes in this country to teach the Truth...



posted on Jul, 13 2007 @ 10:54 AM
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Originally posted by Chorlton

This report from Hansard states the UK level is 77%

www.publications.parliament.uk...


So when looking at raw numbers, its clear more Americans have passports.


Originally posted by Chorlton
And those crabs? yep messy, but as another person said, "finger licking good"


Did you try the soft shell crabs? AMAZING!



posted on Jul, 13 2007 @ 10:56 AM
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All that one person's viewpoint illustrates is that ignorance knows no borders.

The same is illustrated by the assumption that as one individual member of a nationality has a certain belief, all those who by accident of birth are of the same nationality must share it.



posted on Jul, 13 2007 @ 10:59 AM
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Originally posted by theindependentjournal
Which country are you talking about may I enquire?


Huh?


I'm American.


Originally posted by theindependentjournal
I thought this waas about America and how foreigners saw us, am I mistaken or have you bought into the "Smartest Woman in the World" Hillary Clinton's notion that America is a Democracy. I dare you to look up Democracy in a dictionary, preferably an older one, maybe 1865 or so. Then look up what Benjemin Franklin said to the woman outside Constitution Hall in Philly after the Constitution was made? Did Franklin say he gave us a "Democracy" if we can keep it?

Democracy is 2 wolves and a sheep deciding what is for dinner. Democracy is TYRANNY of the many over the FEW. America was/is a Constitutional Republic with some democratic principals, but not in our Federal government...

I can see how easy it is for foreigners to not understand America when Americans don't... What ever happened to civics classes in this country to teach the Truth...


Thanks for the history lesson, but I think if you have ever read my posts you would quickly realize I am well aware of the differences between a republic and a democracy.


I used the term colloquially.

I also get the sense you didn't understand my post.



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