Listening to George Galloway rubbish Bush on Channel 4 last night, I wondered whether attitudes would change across Europe now that the president everyone loved to hate has left the world stage.
For the past eight years, Europeans have revelled in their hated (OK, dislike) of Americans. Or North Americans. By virtue of our accent, Canadians are in the same basket until we can present our get-out-of-jail-free card: 'I'm not American! I'm Canadian!' How many times have I counted the seconds until I could clarify my nationality, watching relief wash over the face of my interrogator.
I am exaggerating, of course. Most Brits would likely say they have nothing against individuals, that it's only the nation in general that irks them. But I will never forget the time when The Man and I attended a theatre performance in Regent's Park. Some of his work colleagues whom I'd never met were there, and he introduced me to them as we settled into our seats.
One eyed me with suspicion. 'You're American?' she asked loudly.
'No, Canadian.' I'd only been in the country for a few months at this point and thus didn't feel my usual fear that I'd be lynched.
'Oh,' she said even louder. 'That's MUCH better!'
The couple in front of us, clearly Americans, both turned and gave us all the look of death. I flushed at our rudeness and felt sorry for them, but I still felt grateful I wasn't a pariah.
Now that Americans have a president to be proud of, I hope that the Brits will retract some of their anti-Americanism, not tar everyone with the same brush. Americans have been through enough in the past eight years. Let them detox with the full support of the nations of the world.
**Disclaimer: Canadians really have nothing to be proud of, either. Our Prime Minister Stephen Harper rivals Bush for his policy reversals and blathering remarks.**
I've probably annoyed the British, the Americans and the Canadians by this point. If you feel like having the pot stirred even more -- and you can stand to watch self-satisfied people talk a load of nonsense -- take a look: