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How do you wish the US were more like Europe?

How do you wish the US were more like Europe?

Aug 9th, 2001, 07:27 AM
  #1  
Escritora
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How do you wish the US were more like Europe?

I'm not just talking about Italian coffee, French flour or bidets (sorry, couldn't resist). In what really substantive ways do you envy life in Europe over life in the US? My own list:

I wish we had Europe's sense of connection to other people, places and cultures. I'm always even more acutely aware of our isolated mentality here when I get home.

I wish we had a little more variety in our political viewpoints. It's so nice to go to Europe and speak with people who don't have an allergic reaction to the word socialism!

I wish we placed a little more emphasis on our lives and a little less on our work. Our sense of priorities and obligations seems to have turned on its head over here!
 
Aug 9th, 2001, 07:33 AM
  #2  
wendy
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Bingo. Not living to work, but working to LIVE!
 
Aug 9th, 2001, 07:34 AM
  #3  
ryan
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Just want to make sure I undersand your viewpoint, in your ideal America we would work less, provide more social services, lower the incentives for hardwork, erect more barriers to the free market, create a government where the minority view dictates for the majority, and have a more worldly view but erect barriers to lower-priced foreign competition?

You are not Hilary Clinton by chance are you?
 
Aug 9th, 2001, 07:47 AM
  #4  
Paige
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I'm an American living in Europe and what I like best over here is the respect for one's personal life. They don't expect you to work 60 hours a week and dedicate all your time and energy to your job. They know that your personal life is more important and allow you to have a good balance between work and home. For example, a friend of mine in the US got in trouble at work because he had to leave early one day to pick up his sick daughter from school. I think that's bad enough, but the reason his wife couldn't pick her up was because she was undergoing treatments for breast cancer. Over here, not a word would be said to the guy. But his boss actually used that against him in his review!
I also think that the US is far too materialistic. Too many people have to buy a new car right when they pay off their old one, buy new TV's and gadgets so they can have the latest version, the latest fashions, etc, etc. When I'm in the US, the commercials and advertising seem so in-your-face, it wears me out.
One more thing, in the US, people seem preoccupied with other's appearances. It just doesn't seem that way here. In the states where I used to work, people would make fun of someone who accidentally wore one blue and one black sock, for example. No one here seems to care about stupid stuff like that. I think there's more acceptance in Europe of various body shapes, styles of dress, etc. In the US, everyone seems to look the same (including me, I have to say).
So that no one flames me, I'm American and happy to be one. There are lots of things I like more about living in the US, too.
 
Aug 9th, 2001, 07:50 AM
  #5  
Escritora
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Thanks, Ryan. That's exactly the attitude I so love getting away from. I couldn't have spoofed it any better!
 
Aug 9th, 2001, 07:55 AM
  #6  
Laura
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Sorry, Escritora, but I can't imagine how any American could envy life in Europe over life in the U.S.A. Are you kidding?

Europe is absolutely stunningly beautiful, the people I have met and dealt with over there have been friendly and helpful, the food is terrific, the villages, oh the villages!! The art collections are wonderful, the Alps are truly God's gift to us, and the so are the Scots!

In my imagination, I can see my husband and me in a little car traveling down the one-lane roads in Europe, eating in outside cafes, strolling hand in hand over the cobblestone streets, and we have done this in real life and it was good, no, it was great.

But...I do not envy them in any way. I have a good life over here that I would trade with no one. And that isn't blind patriotism. It is based in reality. Lots of little things...uniform refrigeration of foods, drinkable water throughout the U.S., doctors ...very, very good doctors and state-of-the-art hospitals everywhere, I could go on and on.

The U.S. DOES have a strong sense of connection to mankind..witness the aid we send throughout the world in time of disasters.....

We are all surrounded over here by other States and we are as close to them as the Euros are to each other and just as interested in them. But....and this is a big one...we are not afraid of these States....no way will one be attacking another one....so we don't have to be watching them every minute, wondering what they are up to.

A little more variety in our political viewpoints???!!!!!!

I love Europe and I will go back every chance I get....I prefer to travel there rather than the U.S. because of the history to evident everywhere.

But I do not envy Europeans for their way of life.
 
Aug 9th, 2001, 07:56 AM
  #7  
Carlisle
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I wish we got CNN International rather than CNN, particularly in its new format. European TV is often no better than ours for sensationalism, sometimes worse; but it was nice to get world news coverage that actually covered the world's events, not just NY's and WashDC's.

I wish we actually had a political spectrum, with far left as evident as far right and everything in between. People like Ryan seem to hog all of AM radio and a lot of the rest of the media. The most ironic phrase going is "liberal media" in the US. Not even close, with entertainment and mega-corporations owning most of it. Ryan's intolerance is a good example of the atmosphere of political dialogue in the US. All acid and PR and no exchange or compromise. Every vote on Capitol Hill falls precisely along party lines, with all kinds of empty rhetoric about whether or not the vote was politically motivated -- of COURSE it was. That's all there is.

I wish we had more commitment to mass transit, so we could get out of our cars, get more exercise, save gas, get to know other people.

 
Aug 9th, 2001, 08:00 AM
  #8  
karen
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I envy Europeans' ability to drive on roads not overloaded with those OBNOXIOUS, GASOLINE GUZZLING, POLLUTING SUVs!!
 
Aug 9th, 2001, 08:09 AM
  #9  
ryan
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I wasn't trying to spoof you but to make a point. It is great that Europe has taken a different approach on many issues than the U.S. Sometimes, they are more progressive and have a better view of world situations. Frankly, sometimes we do and do not receive enough credit for doing so.

However, there are some SERIOUS and practical flaws in their approach. How would like to be told at 13 that you will never get into college and that you should focus on a trade school because that is the best you will do? (My French and British colleagues made the grade but view that system as draconian.) I grew up in a blue-collar working class family. In many parts of Europe, I would not have been encouraged to move beyond my families sphere in life.

Where would you rather be born poor and underprivaledged? In a country that ALLOWS you the opportunity to rise as far as your ambition and hardwork will take you or a system that say "there is a class of people that were born to be better than you so you should never expect to attain their status. By the way, we will give you full cradle to grave protection so please don't worry about trying to better your situation in life." Do we have homeless, yes and it is a national disgrace. However, haven't you seen the same problems in Paris and London. (Ask the Ethnic Albanians in Kosovo about European socialism and tolerance.)

Before you start blowing me off as some right wing fantic, I'm actually a political independent who has LIVED Europ. I also do have a world view and fortunately I was able to earn an undergrad degreee from an Ivy League institution in History, despite the fact that my dad was truck driver.

Yes, Europe has some wonderful things to cherish and enjoy. But, let's not have an unrealistic view of the COST of their social programs on incentivizing achievement and on quality of life. Afterall, it is called Europe, not Fantasyland.
 
Aug 9th, 2001, 08:18 AM
  #10  
Laura
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Bravo, Ryan, Bravo!!!!

Clap, clap, clap, clap, clap!!

 
Aug 9th, 2001, 08:18 AM
  #11  
xxx
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Karen. Just admit that what you really envy is that fact that your neighbors can afford to buy an SUV and you can't.
 
Aug 9th, 2001, 08:21 AM
  #12  
Mariarosa
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Bravo to Excritora, Paige and Wendy! It's about work-life balance - being able to work and bring meaning to your life through work, but being able to have time to spend with the ones you love, to travel, to spend more time in your community with your neighbors, to ENJOY the fruits of labor. And, by enjoyment, I don't mean having the $ to buy the latest SUV every 2 years. Oh, and I certainly wish 2 weeks of vacation were not the norm!
 
Aug 9th, 2001, 08:26 AM
  #13  
Marissa
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I don't wish America were more like Europe. America is a classless society. It is fluid. People can easily move from one class to another and they can be friends with people from all stations in life. When you are in one socioeconomic class in Europe, you almost always stay in that class. It is a much more closed society.
 
Aug 9th, 2001, 08:28 AM
  #14  
ohoh
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Personally, I am very happy that there are DIFFERENCES all over the world. That makes life exciting. You have the right (and power) to live your life the way chose. Why would I want the US to be more like Europe or Asia or Polynesia for that matter! Appreciate cultural differences. For every "plus" you note, there is an opposite in play as well.
 
Aug 9th, 2001, 08:33 AM
  #15  
BornintheUSA
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I would trade life in America for a European existence in an instant.

Europe really cares about family life and kids. The USA cannot compare in terms of parental leave, pre-school opportunities, health care for ALL children, quality public schooling, vacation time, and work schedules for two-income families. The mere fact that retail shuts down altogether in many countries on Sundays means that there is at least one day that is held sacred for personal life and that parents aren't pulled away from their families, on overtime or not, for the needs of employers. In the US, we only pay lip service to family values. We allow our schools to deteriorate into ghettos of violence and antisocial behavior. We routinely vote down health care initiatives for kids. We succumb to the materialism and commercialism that we make omnipresent in our TV programming (isn't Euro TV refreshing in this regard?) The prosperous find plenty of money for their SUV's while they vote down school bonds. We work so many hours to pay for all the stuff we "need" that our children barely know us. If we knew how to keep greed and materialism in check, we probably wouldn't have so many kids with such major problems. Have you traveled in American cities lately? The homeless human casualties you drive past on the streets of San Francisco are enough to tell you that something is terribly wrong with America and its values compared with Europe.

Europeans have the moral gonads to make good policy decisions when it comes to quality of life for everyone. We cop out with a "laissez-faire" excuse every time.
 
Aug 9th, 2001, 08:42 AM
  #16  
Ryan
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Ryan: It's nice that we all have a chance at college. But it's also this undying attitude of forgiveness and "there'll always be another chance" that totally dilutes our educational system. Most K-12 kids know they don't really have to learn to graduate - they just have to show up - and that they'll often get into the same colleges as their classmates who actually worked for their diplomas.

College shouldn't be for everyone - only for those who can cut it. Unfortunately, we're overly focused on college education for everyone and we think that if you don't go to college, you're some kind of failure. Consequently, we don't develop the type of practical post-high school training programs you find in Europe, and many students who are encourage to attend college get left behind (only about 50% graduate.)
 
Aug 9th, 2001, 08:49 AM
  #17  
ryan
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I'm reading several counter-point comments to my view and a thought struck me.

Who is forcing you to chose your work over your family? There are plenty of careers that would allow you to seek that balance that you claim "America does not have."

Go be a teacher. Go become a college professor. Make the choice that you claim is not possible in the U.S.

Who is telling you to buy that SUV, to watch American TV, to spend time away from your family, to ignore family values?

Don't complain because you have made a PERSONAL CHOICE to have a certain lifestyle. You want the nice house, you want the nice car, you want the private school education for your children, well there is a cost for that. Are you expecting someone to give it to you? If you don't want those things, don't complain if someone else does.

If you don't want to participate in what you say is the culture..don't. Just have enough sense of self-confidence and personal responsibility to accept YOUR choices.

I actually find it fairly amusing that American's are viewed by many of you as, and I'm paraphrasing, being myopic and closed-minded. Yet, aren't you doing the same thing by assuming a country of 300 million is uniform in it's choices and attitudes.

Make your own decisions and stop blaming society for your failure to rectify issues in your life.

 
Aug 9th, 2001, 08:53 AM
  #18  
Beth
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Not as a political statement,
but I do wish our stores were closed on Saturday nights and Sundays. I wish we had more open-air once-a-week produce markets. And I wish we had nice walking paths for Sunday strolls.
 
Aug 9th, 2001, 08:54 AM
  #19  
david west
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There has recently been some tongue-in-cheek coverage of the "HUGE" holiday that your president has just had, and comparing this with average holidays in the US. It seems pretty normal to us.

I have to admit I was astounded by the idea that you only get two weeks, and that only after working for a while. I assume that this doesn't include national holidays, christmas etc?

For example, as a public servant with over ten years service, I have six weeks holidays plus public holidays plus the queen's birthday (which is nice!)This is a lot even by British standards. The average is four to five weeks plus state holidays.

There must be a happy medium between our sometimes overgenerous provision and two weeks per annum. No wonder you all seem to be in a hurry when you're over here.

 
Aug 9th, 2001, 09:06 AM
  #20  
John
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As a Vietnam Vet who watched a lot of extraordinary men fight and die for this country and the values and freedom this country offers to every citizen of the great nation..., I say if you don't like it.., GET OUT!

Before you blast me for telling you to leave the country and tell me that I'm some insane vet from another era..., let me tell you that I am in a "senior management" role at a global company. So I am not some bunt-out vet that has a bone to pick. I love Europe and I love the time I spend their vacationing every year, but for people to complain that the US doesn't offer the same as Europe is ludicrous! Keep in mind the U.S. is only a child in age to our European counterparts. Make your comparisons about Europe and the U.S. all you want, but please be grateful to the men and women who served and serve this country every day, and some who gave the greatest scarafice of their own lives.
 

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