Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Bye Bush! Bye Anti-Americanism?

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:


acpaul said...

Problem is, world dislike of America pre-dates Bush. Don't see that changing any time soon.

I wonder if they'd still dislike us if we closed our borders to trade and immigrants and kept all our tax money here at home (ie, no more foreign aid)?

Of course, with a liberal in "charge" that isn't likely.

But it's still an amusing thought, if world-wide economic collapse is at all amusing. The fall of America would probably create the same sort of economic collapse as the fall of Rome. Just my opinion, of course.

As a British friend once told me, the difference between the Queen of England and the President of the US is that the Queen knows she's a figurehead.

Doesn't matter who's in charge, because they're all corrupt and interested only in power and the staying-in of power. Oh, and money. Tax money. My money. Not their own money.

Or rather, particularly with liberals, they think that my money should be their money.

I continue to mourn for this country I live in.

Criss said...

I know what you mean. I live in the US, and in TEXAS to boot! When I was overseas I was quick to point out I was originally from Chile.

I don't blame non-USians for hating us -- I hate us! When the media started attacking Obama for being "anti-American," I was all the more for him.

Bush has taken was "America" meant and flipped it upside down, stomped it in the mud and spat on it. Given what he called "American," I was proud to be "anti-American."

Seven more days... :)

Marsha said...

Thanks for the comments!

@acpaul - I think the reason Europeans 'hate' Americans is because they resent the power the US has over their economy, world peace, etc. It's like hating a younger brother who's taller and stronger. He may not be smarter, but he can throw around his weight.

@Criss - The concept of 'America' has definitely been tarnished. It's a shame because it used to stand for democracy, bravery and the ability to achieve anything through hard work. Let's cross our fingers Obama can revive it!

AC said...

I guess whichever country is prospering and doing well will always be hated by someone else. That I can handle. But it also seems like Obama is more or less universally liked by the international community (did you see the photos of people cheering in other countries when he was elected?) so maybe he'll be able to mend some fences.

Nik's Blog said...

Great post, cool blog. Glad I stumbled onto it.


Criss said...

I don't think it's that the US was "prospering and doing well." We're definitely not doing well now, and nobody's feeling sorry for us.

One of the problems with Bush was his reputation/persona. The guy looks, sounds, and acts like an idiot -- or, at least, a very uncultured oaf. Obama has that gravitas we have been sorely lacking. Bush made all USians look like country bum hicks; Obama comes across as someone you can take seriously. He can hold a conversation without making up words. He's someone who deserves respect (and won't get shoes thrown at him).

MikeH said...

I have to say I haven't experienced any true anti-American feelings, but I have been amused these past years by people asking me what I think Bush is going to do about (take your pick: Terrorism, the War in Iraq, the Election), as if he and I chat on the phone late at night or something.