Change of Plans or Not

Old Mar 4th, 2003, 11:21 AM
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Change of Plans or Not

My wife and I in the past decade or so have been taking 2 or 3 trips to Europe each year. We just love doing it. But Europe is not only buildings, and museums, and food, and vistas. Europe is also PEOPLE.
As a general statement, we have enjoyed immensely the conversations with locals, and the varied customs throughout the 15 or so countries we have visited.
Now, down the pike comes Iraq.
I am against the war, my wife is for it (makes for some good dinner talk!) My reasons are based on logic, and so are my wife's. Friends on both sides of the issue are similar with regard to their positions.
Now to the real point. I believe that I will visit Europe many more times in the years to come, but I am not sure exactly when that will be. And when I do go, I will not say how I am against Bush, though I am, regarding Iraq. I am amazed how quickly so many American tourists feel it is incumbent on them to disavow American foreign policy.
I will not go into the ways Europe has benefited from American foreign policy over the last 60+ years, but honest and objective people would have to say that during those years, they have greatly done so.
The anti-American 'feel' currently held by the average European is going to have an effect on a variety of things, not the least of which is tourism. I would tend to say the hell with it, and just simply enjoy it. But as I stated above, Europe is above all else, people. And a people who do not like me, greatly diminishes my enjoyment!
This has already started to affect my European trip plans.
Has it yours?
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Old Mar 4th, 2003, 11:36 AM
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I have a feeling that this discussion is going to disintegrate, unfortunately, but let me say that whatever the "average" or majority of Europeans (or Americans, for that matter) are said to feel based on a survey sampling, you have no idea what the person you actually meet thinks or feels. Assumptions and generalizations are just that, they don't necessarily apply to the individual. I have no reason to think that an entire continent of millions of people "do not like me."

Some silly individuals may criticize my government, some may lump me in with my government, some may share my views, some may have views that annoy or offend me. But I try to make judgments only one person at a time. This is a more serious topic, but is not very different from "all the Parisians are rude" or "all the Americans are loud."

Unless travel to a particular place becomes more unsafe or scary than staying home (particularly here in orange-alert NYC), I will continue to travel and listen and learn.
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Old Mar 4th, 2003, 11:42 AM
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I'm with Elaine. (well, not literally, but you get my drift.)
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Old Mar 4th, 2003, 12:07 PM
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Your wife is willing to go there although she disagrees with the French government. I wouldn't expect most people there to be very different in distinguishing between individuals and governments.
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Old Mar 4th, 2003, 12:11 PM
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Absolutely not. I don't let fear or opinion rule me. Not that I'd go to Baghdad right now, but I don't believe it being overly concerned or even paranoid as the odds of anything happening to you are very high, as high as say, walking out your front door and getting hit by a car.
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Old Mar 5th, 2003, 12:15 PM
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Your post is excellent, Elaine. I agree wholeheartedly.
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Old Mar 5th, 2003, 01:16 PM
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Gee, I wish I had to worry about whether I would miss one of my 2 or 3 yearly trips to Europe bceause some people might not like my government's policies.
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Old Mar 5th, 2003, 01:18 PM
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While I understand and agree with the sentiment Elaine is expressing, I would look for a different place to vacation than certain western European countries right now. Personally, I have strong feelings about the US, which not only provided a safe haven for my father's family, fleeing persecution in the USSR, but provided him the mobility to become well-educated and respected in this great nation.
Someone posted a USA Today article on this web site in another thread, talking about how individual Americans are being verbally attacked and even spit on simply because they are American. Being at the receiving end of this sort of prejudice would really bother me. The world is a big place full of interesting history, cultures and people. At this point in time, I will travel to places where I think people will not mistreat me for my nationality.
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Old Mar 6th, 2003, 05:07 AM
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Sorry, I respectfully disagree. I don't know anywhere in the world,including here in the US, where there is a guarantee that no one will mistreat me because of my nationality, religion, or eye color. Idiots are everywhere, I'm not convinced they are overly concentrated in Western Europe.

On the other hand, I don't assume that together people who disagree with my government would mistreat me or my fellow travelers.

Do I think that the US has been been very generous and very helpful to other countries in the past? Yes.
Will I boycott those countries that have governments that are not in agreement with my government's policies now? No, not now, not yet anyway. I am, I admit, disappointed on some days with the vehemence of the disagreements among countries that are old friends, but I'm not taking it personally yet, and I'm not into punishing the disagreers. I have mixed feelings myself, truth be told.
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Old Mar 6th, 2003, 08:29 AM
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Thanks for your thoughtful and intelligent posts. I totally agree with your responses.
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