Earlier I wrote about what my students thought about Americans in general and Fentonites in particular. The holidays brought to Colombia people from around the world. I often seemed to be the only American among the French, German, Indian, Canadian, Singaporean and people from other countries. From the conversations I found citizens from many countries do not think the best of us.
Lively discussions were had in an attempt to narrow things down. I had to be thick skinned in many instances. Violence seemed to win the top spot. The mass shootings in our country are constantly mentioned.
On the federal side, depending upon which report you subscribe to, the United States military spending accounts for 44% to 50% of all the military spending by all the countries in the world. We complain about China (number two in the world in military spending) building this ship or that fighter plane, but they spend only about one-tenth what we do. In addition we are the number one arms dealer to the world. Investigative reports have shown that while we are telling some countries to curb their human rights abuses, we are selling them the weapons they are using to abuse those human rights. We have more troops in more foreign countries than any other country in the world. I am really getting tired of people asking me, “Why does the USA have to go around sticking its nose in the business of everyone else?”
Drugs – We are known not as drug producers, but as massive drug users. In a previous writing I noted that by percentage of population the USA has four times more druggies than the country in second place. And we are confusing the world about it. Some Latin American countries are being threatened with a loss of U.S. aid if they don’t aggressively attack their growing of illegal drugs, yet at the same time we have (what I hope to be a minority of the population) people demonstrating for the legalization of drugs. Some places are legalizing it. This sends the wrong message to other countries and just enforces the idea that Americans are drug addicts.
We use to be thought of as protectors of the free world. That has changed; especially with President George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq on the premise the country had weapons of mass destruction. But they didn’t and our image has changed to protector of corporate interests and profit. A Pew research showed that many people in the world believe our policies are against the average people and for corporations and the rich. Just read some of our free trade agreements where it seems to have more writing on petroleum company rights and pharmaceutical intellectual property rights than trade.
Even look at how our working citizens are treated in comparison to corporations and the rich. Corporations are given perks to take manufacturing overseas. In addition they do not have to pay taxes on profits if the money does not get transferred to the USA. To keep them from double taxation, foreign investment, for the rich who can afford it, is not subject to U.S. taxes. Basically they are getting rewarded for NOT investing in America. However if an individual goes to work in another country, that individual worker must pay both taxes in the country they work in and USA taxes. We are the only first world country to do that to our citizens.
The title mentions sex. I received a job offer to teach English in Brazil. Well not really a job as they want me to work for free. The country is hosting the 2014 World Cup for soccer. Many Americans are expected to attend the matches. The Association of Prostitutes (yes, there really is such a thing since prostitution is legal in Brazil) is starting now offering free English classes to its members. The idea is for these ladies to be able to let you know what their fee is and to learn what turns you on.
Yes, my fellow Americans we are known as major world sex tourists. The fact that members of the Secret Service were caught with hookers when the President visited Cartagena, Colombia for a meeting with 30 other world leaders did not help our image in that department. Protection teams for the other 29 leaders were not with hookers.
As an American I know that these thoughts about us are not totally correct (well except for maybe promoting corporation rights over the rights of the people and perks for the rich). The majority of us are generous peaceful inhabitants of this Earth. The majority of Americans does not use illegal drugs, engage in sex tourism or go around shooting people.
However it would be nice if we can convince congress to rein in military spending, promote more peace and education than arms deals and reduce the troops in the world. And if you could convince the Americans who are doing it to stop going around shooting each other, stop taking massive amounts of illegal drugs and running around claiming that getting high is their God given right then we can start changing America’s image to the world for the better.
As for that other thing, well, I am staying in Colombia teaching English. I hope the Secret Service learned their lesson. And really, do Americans need to be such major sex tourists?