Rush Limbaugh has his . . . well, here is mine. This is my record of news stories and issues that interest me. You can also find more headlines at the site where I serve as editor: The Common Voice.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

The Ignorant American

It is 11:00 AM on Tuesday, June 28. I've only been up for a little while. There were some partiers who kept me up past midnight and then my little girl had dreams that Darth Vader was in her closet and wanted to come out and get her. That wouldn't have been a problem really except that my sweet little daughter snores incredibly!

Yesterday was a regrouping day after our kilometer-a-second sweep of Switzerland. It was also a very hot day. The temperatures reached into the 90s. However, it is a different kind of heat from Greenville. In Greenville, 90 degrees feels like 106 here in France. It all has to do with the humidity. It isn't very humid here in Cournon.

We did some things around the house and then I went on a bike ride around the town in the afternoon. There is a completely different approach to bicycles here. In most places there are designated areas on the streets for bicycle riders and where there are none, the drivers do not think it strange to share the narrow streets with riders for recreation or transportation. I understand the American mind set, but I would have to admit that I like the way the two forms of transportation get along here.

I also wanted to related one other thing from our Switzerland trip.

We were just coming out of the church known as the location where John Calvin preached and I wanted to take a picture of the tower we had just climbed from the outside of the church. I walked around trying to find a good view. As I did, I walked past a couple sitting talking in heavily accented English. "They are so ignorant," they were saying, "They don't know anything of geography - they don't even know there own country..." By this time, I moved out of hearing. However, I knew exactly who they were talking about. I felt my heart start beating a little faster.

After taking my picture, I started back and had to pass the couple again. "Why did they re-elect him? No one likes him. I can't understand why they would do it." I kept walking. My heart was beating even faster. I then did something that I normally would have never done and thinking back about it, I can't believe I did it. I turned around and went back to the couple. "Have you ever been to America?" I asked. "Yes," said the girl, "I lived there for 15 years." "Well, you should know that the majority of American expressed the liked Bush by electing him." "Not the Americans I know," said the girl. "Where did you live in America?" I asked. "New York" came the reply. I responded, "Well, New York is not America. America is a pretty big place and there are may areas where Bush is appreciated." "Like where," said the girl. "Such as Texas, South Carolina..." I started the list of red states, but she interrupted, "Oh, I don't mean the South." I chuckled, "Yes, but those are part of America as well. You can't judge everything in America by one city."

The young man piped in at this point. "I know four marines who think the war in Iraq is stupid." I responded, "That is a great thing about America, there are a lot of different opinions, but you can't take just one opinion and say that one is shared by all." "Sure," he said, "you can't generalize." "Exactly, that is just my point." The conversation ended abruptly at that point, but I couldn't help turning back just as I walked away. "Oh, and by the way, I do know my geography."

It may be true that Americans are kind of isolated. But it is also true that many Europeans are isolated in their view of America. There is ignorance on both sides. The different seems to be that Americans really don't care that they are ignorant. It is a bigger deal to the Europeans. They think they know all about America. So which ignorance is worse? I'll let you form your own opinion.


At 11:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

United States it's not America. Europe and USA are not the world.

At 10:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Of course there is ignorance on both sides. The problem is that unlike europe, american ignorance is in the whitehouse!

At 8:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

your points about generalizations are valid but it is a fact that the majority of Americans are on the ignorant side. I have lived in the north and south of the united states and most people are so arrogant about the superiority of American culture that they tend to ignore anything beyond their hick way of life. In addition, the biased and arrogant nature of American media promotes ignorance by having little focus on international events that do not relate to America and its foreign concerns and emphasis on stupid internal news like the antics of britney spears. Europeans also recognize American ignorance in the fact that few Americans can speak more than one lamguage.


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