reply to post by Nammu
I'm an American but live in Paris.
I've lived in New York, which I loved. I grew up in Philadelphia, which I visit often. And spent years living in Baltimore, where I still have dozens
of very good friends.
I've been to every major city on the West Coast. I've been to Chicago, New Orleans, and Boston -- all favorites. I've been to Houston and El Paso,
Memphis, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Rapid City, Sioux Falls, a half dozen towns in New Jersey both on the coast and inland, and a half dozen visits to most o
the big cities in Florida.
I've spent four different summers on the beach in North Carolina. I've been to Atlanta, Madison, and Detroit. I've seen the Grand Canyon. And the
Grand Tetons. I've been to Yellowstone. And Yosemite.
I've met a lot of Americans -- good ol' down home folks who have never travelled -- that it's my privilege to have met. And no matter how long
we're gone from the States, there's definitely something about America that I miss. An essence that's hard to sum up, elusive, a thread that runs
through it. Or once did. And could again.
But the fact of the matter is, life in many, many places is not just "as good" as it is in America... but far better. Paris is just one extreme
example. Believe it or not, my fellow Americans, there are many many places where people don't live to work... where food tastes good and doesn't
come in a styrofoam container... where the height of culture stretches well beyond shopping malls... where architecture is beautiful, not expedient...
even where the idea of living "free" actually DOES let you say what you want, when you want, without fear of retribution from your government or
your brain-washed neighbors, which is sadly not the case in America today.
Look, travel and high education... they're lucky breaks in this life. But one doesn't have to think they're they define the humanity of a man. Nor
does one have to fear them as marks of the untouchable elite. Millions upon millions of good and decent people have never traveled. Not just in the
U.S. but elsewhere. And among them, there are prejudices that would surely evaporate like water on hot slate, given the chance to see what they were
However, the tragedy of Americans holding this view is that, not only do we have much more media access than most "markets" around the world and
therefore -- theoretically -- more opportunity to know better, we're in a position that we're the most powerful, influential society. And we're
making dangerous decisions based on how important and "great" we are compared to the rest of the world.
I know... KNOW... people who meet the average decent person in the middle of America would get along with them just fine once the fear and language
barriers were overcome. Fellow Americans, get over it... people DON'T hate you.
What they do hate, however, is this idea that we're someone singular in history... somehow the height of everything... somehow impervious to the
lessons and legacies of some many hapless, self-congratulatory empires that came and went before us.
You want to be loved again?
Don't elect people like George Bush. Or John McCain. Seriously. It's incredible and tragic, in the Greek sense, to watch. Here we are with a chance
in November to get out from under the tiny, wealthy minority that has raped our economy through artful artifice for eight years running... who have
gotten filthy rich just by figuring out how to "talk dumb" to a vast population of frightened, decent folk whom those same politicians don't
respect in any way whatsoever... who will disappear your jobs, close your schools, shrink your access to health care, and fritter away the money you
have poured your entire working life into Social Security. And yet, we're on the brink of those same frightened folk re-electing them again,
because they like the moose-hunter better than a black man.