“The United States is considered a global, super power, which is why we see it participating on both sides of dispute management.” That’s all I needed to say in my first presentation in front of my colleagues. Simple.
Instead, I said something along the lines of, “I’m not saying this, uh, because, well, yes, I’m an American, but, uh, I’m not all ‘dude, I’m a superior American’, but, uh, sort of we are considered, in this particular context, a G-2 country, but so is the EU!”
For the past four weeks of discussing and listening to discussions about the role of the US in trade negotiations and agreements, I have hung my head. Same when people talk about the refugee crisis or the global obesity epidemic or climate change. It’s all the fault of the US. We are arrogant. We are self-interested. We are aggressive.
I think “that” recent (not current – 2015) administration, for those of us aged 20-something to 60-something, has caused Americans to accept the anti-American backlash. We are taking our global spanking like good little boys and girls ought.
Yesterday in my Macroeconomics class, the professor kept saying, “You all need to put your citizenship away and listen to me. If you like it or not, that’s another matter. But, the US Dollar is what we use for global trade. The “domestic” in this formula always needs to be the US Dollar…” I felt, again, I needed to hang my head.
I’ve really been thinking about what he said, and this morning I had an epiphany.
For God’s sake, America is not the problem with the world. The problem in the world is that we are all trying, desperately, to do our best under constant threats like terrorism, volatile economic circumstances, online and oceanic piracy, poverty, diseases like Ebola or HIV, waning family values, growing i-centered values, bio warfare, population overgrowth, forestation undergrowth and on and on.
These threats are not “Made in the USA.” It’s not the i-phone, it’s how you use the i-phone. Do you talk loudly on the street or use your i-phone to constantly watch porn? Then, that is your responsibility, not the US’. It’s not Coke or McDonalds that made everyone fat. Did you eat it? That’s your responsibility. The US dollar is not destroying the world. Did you buy a car recently to help you get to work? Wherever you are, that car had US dollars involved at some point of the manufacturing process. That’s not “bad” or “evil.”
Perhaps the real problem is: the US is an easy target for global hatred.
I’m just not sure it is the real target. Not anymore.
Not matter how much one wants to point the finger at the US as the cause of all calamity, there must be a moment of pause before so doing. Is it really the responsibility of the US that a group of people chose to find a better life in Europe? No. That is the responsibility of those individuals. That’s really it. Each man and woman chose to start walking. This same scenario is true with many of today’s global concerns.
The anti-Americanism, it starts with the little digs at my country. Someone makes a joke about fat people or loud people or brash people or arrogant people. Someone makes a joke about Americans not speaking proper English or not being good at mathematics or not doing “real” work. I’ve had it with the digs.
I’m proud to be an American. I am grateful I was born in a country that allowed me to study, to explore many different religions until I found the one that fit me, to play in the streets safely, to drive, to vote, to wear my hair the way I want to, to wear hideously-inappropriate short skirts, to bring charges if someone injured me, to openly protest against my government without fear of retribution. My list is long.
I’m not only proud to be an American, I am grateful.