America At The Crossroad

Aug 31st, 2007, 08:25 AM
  #61  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 3,057
Elina - not all those things are true everywhere in europe.

I wouldn't want to be gay in Poland for instance.
audere_est_facere is offline  
Aug 31st, 2007, 08:28 AM
  #62  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,705
And there was this:

>>So what are the hot topics of political disagreement in Europe?<<<

I suppose it would be the EU constitution and agriculture. many things Americans seem to disagree are just non-issues in Europe,

climate change --> people agree that it is a danger that has to be dealt with ASAP

abortion --> What is there to argue about?

public funding for healthcare and tertiary education ---> everybody agrees that those are good things

high taxes and generous social benefits --> first mentioned makes second mentioned possible, and people ready to pay a little more just to have a more well-being and peaceful society



elina is offline  
Aug 31st, 2007, 08:30 AM
  #63  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,705
>>> wouldn't want to be gay in Poland for instance<<<

I know, and that is why I mentioned Poland also in connection with abortion and religion. But in general I feel that most European countries have less tabus and are more tolerant than US.
elina is offline  
Aug 31st, 2007, 08:35 AM
  #64  
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 2,638
Tomboy - not sure if your post was in response to mine regarding outcomes of the Bush presidency. Just to clarify - I am not ashamed or embarrassed to be an American - just that the current administration, in my opinion, has not made very good decisions nor has it been a force in retaining respect or admiration around the globe. I am not a Bush supporter, but that does not mean I am not an American.
scdreamer is offline  
Aug 31st, 2007, 08:36 AM
  #65  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 12,820
Americans, the extreme paradox..many people hate them but at the same time many people envy them..and wished they were Also Americans.
kismetchimera is offline  
Aug 31st, 2007, 08:38 AM
  #66  
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 9,312
Elina,

On most issues, yes.

Switzerland is going through a mild debate on daycare. It's still frowned upon by many Swiss. Goes against traditional values.

Even lunch at schools is frowned upon. Children should go home for lunch and be with their mothers.

There might be some heated debates coming up in the future because something has to change. Too many kids come home to an empty house. Daycare centers are very few and far between. Single mothers can't afford daycare.

Traditional values are about to be shaken up a bit.
kleeblatt is offline  
Aug 31st, 2007, 08:44 AM
  #67  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,705
Well, Switzerland and Austria are the last bastions of "traditional" values.
elina is offline  
Aug 31st, 2007, 08:51 AM
  #68  
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 1,458
"As for the war, there was no debate - not there wasn't much, but there was NO debate - in the US before America went in. "

Oh, that's completely untrue. In Congress, no, but elsewhere there was TONS of debate.

You are correct about the hagiography of the Founding Fathers. American Exceptionalism demands at least lip service to the notion that a handful of the smartest guys who ever lived created a perfect union, and we must respect their every intention forevermore -- even though our world doesn't resemble theirs in the slightest, and all of the things that make America a great country are the products of quite different men much, much later -- mostly in the twentieth century, in fact.

What you have to realize about America is that the government is not important to us. Another key feature of America's national myth is that everything we've done was accomplished by gritty sunburnt individualists wielding Colt .45s, which is ludicrously false -- we are a social and socialist nation just like any other. But everybody hates the government, and considers it to be worthless and useless.

Our system also perpetuates the falsehood that a 50.1% majority speaks for 100%, which is how disasters like Iraq happen. The Democrats went along with Bush because the fundamental characteristic of Democrats is cravenness or cowardice -- the fear of being thought weak. (The fundamental characteristic of Republicans is evil -- smashing up the china shop and blaming it on others.) But most Americans don't think these failings reflect on them at all, because they don't think Congress or the President have anything to do with them. It's only when the Preznit is drawing an unusual amount of attention to himself that most Americans even know who he is.

It is a huge, huge mistake to think that American politics has ANYTHING AT ALL to do with American character. American life is something that goes on despite politics, not because of it. Intelligent histories of the US barely mention political leaders, because they are NOT IMPORTANT TO OUR WAY OF LIVING.

England is not so hugely different, in the corresponding period of its development. The political fellows in the nineteenth century -- figures like Robert Peel, the Duke of Wellington, even Disraeli and Gladstone, were mostly useful for the starting of innumerable wars, while the real power of Britain was being built in the dark satanic mills (and in the holds of ships) up north.

So yes, there is a very wide swathe of public opinion that never gets represented in our government. Most of the time, we don't really care. We're too busy doing other things.

Unfortunately we find ourselves in a situation now where the people who DO care a great deal are the worst we have to offer: the ones who are all too happy to loot the Treasury and spread death across the globe in service of the vacuous ideologies of microcephalic conservative "thinkers" like Paul Wolfowitz and Bill Kristol. When the body of a country completely abandons the political arena, it gets taken over by cranks and crooks. It's happened a half-dozen times before in our history.

The plus side is, our best and brightest are working in productive areas. The minus is, government has been abandoned to the dimmest and most venal.

Are we on the decline side of Empire? Could be; certainly we are behaving like it -- for a quarter-century our military adventures have been motivated exclusively by picking fights with weaklings we know we can bully, from Grenada to now. They, and Iraq, are designed not to deal with serious threats but to pump up our own sense of superiority. We misjudged Iraq, of course, but that's the judgement we used.

American power simply isn't interested in looking at REAL threats -- because they don't have to. So when one comes along that actually merits a little attention, we're out of practice thinking seriously, and we start with the popinjay act, strutting around and talking tough, but using our quite impressive military in ways that defy belief.

Unfortunately, the lessons of Iraq are going to be like the lessons of Vietnam -- wrong. The lesson is going to be "avoid foreign entanglements that matter". I fully expect the next Republican president, in 2017 or thereabouts, after a Dem interregnum, to beat the crap out of some country like Haiti to prove that "it's morning again".

There's no reason to stop doing stuff like that just because your empire isn't top dog anymore. Look at the Falklands.

In the meantime, the world will get better or worse of its own accord -- probably both. More people will get richer, global warming will cause a lot of damage, a lot of ineffectual bombs will nonetheless kill a lot of people.

The real threat to the well-being of the globe isn't Bushie warmongering or Islamofascists; it's if China mismanages its new responsibilities as America's creditor. If they screw up their handling of our debt, or we fail to successfully adapt to debt controls, everybody else's economy is going to blow up too.
fnarf999 is offline  
Aug 31st, 2007, 08:57 AM
  #69  
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 2,015
Kismetchimera

Many people do want to live in America, just as many want to live in Europe and Australia, and anywhere which offers them the opportunity to prosper and raise their children in a free and democratic society. The USA is not unique in this respect. In a world with many opportunities, people are prepared to travel to get whatever benefit they can, and that can include Americans moving to Europe and elsewhere.

The big challenge for the prosperous democracies is how they cope with their immigrants. Both Europe and the United States are under pressure from the south, us from Africa and you from Central and South America. We cannot deny to others for ever the opportunities we have had ourselves. We cannot have global movement of capital and goods while denying the global movement of people.
chartley is online now  
Aug 31st, 2007, 09:18 AM
  #70  
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 4,725
"Americans, the extreme paradox..many people hate them but at the same time many people envy them..and wished they were Also Americans."
It may be a paradox only to Americans. The first part of your sentence may be caused by the arrogance of believing the second part.
robjame is offline  
Aug 31st, 2007, 09:48 AM
  #71  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 12,820
We must have a little ghost in this Forum..I dont have any idea why my previous post is showing once again.
kismetchimera is offline  
Aug 31st, 2007, 09:56 AM
  #72  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 12,820
robjame,
<It may be a paradox only to Americans. The first part of your sentence may be caused by the arrogance of believing the second part.>

FYI, I am not American but a European that Lives in the United States ..call me Arrogant if you want to, but I do believe what I have said in my previous post.
kismetchimera is offline  
Aug 31st, 2007, 10:19 AM
  #73  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,705
>>>FYI, I am not American but a European that Lives in the United States ..call me Arrogant if you want to, but I do believe what I have said in my previous post.<<<

I think everyone can speak only for him/herself. I tried living in the US, not intending to become American, just looking what it was really like. It didnīt take very long when it became crystal clear that it was not for me, and I came running back to Europe, and never looked back.

So kismetchimera, you really cannot present "many people envy them..and wished they were Also Americans" as some kind of universal truth.

elina is offline  
Aug 31st, 2007, 10:28 AM
  #74  
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 4,725
kismet - I was very careful to say "the arrogance" not "your arrogance".

In my conversations with Europeans I ahve never had one say I envy Americans and I wish that I was Also American. I have heard people talk about envying the chattels, homes, salaries, and saying that they would like to move there - a difference I think.
Likewise I have never heard an American say that they envy the French, Germans, etc and that they wish they were also. They may envy the lifestyle....
As a European in the US are you wishing you were an American?
robjame is offline  
Aug 31st, 2007, 10:36 AM
  #75  
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 13,430
"My impression of Europe, especially Continental Europe, is that young people are offered a much more limited choice of beliefs and belief systems that are considered politically and socially acceptable.'

for example ????
danon is online now  
Aug 31st, 2007, 10:57 AM
  #76  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 12,820
rojame, my heart and my soul will always belongs to Rome, my beautiful native city..and the only envy that I have is for the Romans that still live in there...
However, I must say that you ask me a good question..however I live here so that exempt me to answer it, therefore I pledge the Fifth Amendment..
kismetchimera is offline  
Aug 31st, 2007, 11:10 AM
  #77  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 1,023
"Switzerland is going through a mild debate on daycare. It's still frowned upon by many Swiss. Goes against traditional values.

Even lunch at schools is frowned upon. Children should go home for lunch and be with their mothers"

And Switzerland is totally unrealistic to the economical realities of young families today. I am American and live in Switzerland and just today had lunch with a British co-worker who has a son with autism and she and her husband both HAVE to work to pay for their exorbitantly expensive housing and special schooling for their son. And she has to hire someone to have lunch with him every day as they don't live close enough to Lausanne for her to go home every day. Nor would she find a decent paying job in her hometown close to the French border.

Not many of the young mothers that I work with have the luxury of staying home with their children today and society just better face up to the fact that they have priced stay-at-home mothers into just a nice nostalgic memory and help them out.
beaupeep is offline  
Aug 31st, 2007, 12:24 PM
  #78  
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 861
Ooh - I missed so much by being out today!

elina - CNN hired the South Carolina idiot to do a geography spot on their website. And people are defending her and finding her amusing on YouTube (check the comments). I guarantee that she'll be on some reality TV program in the next year. She's totally milking her poor education and pretty hair.

PatrickLondon - I really appreciate what you said about not feeling ashamed of decisions made by other people in my country.

It's just so frustrating. These people (elected by the few) are destroying countries and killing people, draining our money, ruining the environment and creating a whole new generation of neocons by sabotaging education. And it's our country's fault.

Our founding fathers wanted our citizens to be free. They just didn't count on the fact that they'd use that freedom to be stupid and spread misinformation.

But I'm also mad at liberals. My friends and I donated time, energy, thought and money to the Democratic campaign in the last elections. Very few Americans can say that. Unlike the religious right that forced their congregations to go to the polls, we did very little.

I hope anyone who reads this thread and realizes that they did nothing more than vote or maybe donate a few dollars needs to do more.

(P.S. I haven't been to a McDonald's or a Wal*Mart in years... blech!)
slangevar is offline  
Aug 31st, 2007, 12:34 PM
  #79  
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 5,950
Elina, I'm not pulling this out to start an abortion debate at all but:

"They can have an abortion if they want one, and nobody protests outside the clinic."

I get the impression & maybe I'm wrong but you're all for protest as long as it's protesting against things you don't like. The US was all about protest in the 60's & seems to be applauded on this thread. But a conservative protest is wrong?
Carrybean is offline  
Aug 31st, 2007, 12:36 PM
  #80  
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 861
I have no problem with protests as long as they're not terrifying young girls in difficult situations and/or blowing up clinics and killing doctors (which is what they seem to do on a regular basis).

Funny how the word "protest" can have such different meanings from group to group.
slangevar is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 10:34 PM.