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Americans: Sex, Drugs and Violence

Americans may not have the image they think in the world.

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?

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Joe Kershaw January 23, 2013 at 09:01 PM
Robert - been enjoying your blogs. Good to have you drop in on mine and kick in your two cents. In my conversations with the people from other countries I broached your argument. What they reminded me is that we are talking about perceptions and images. Every country has some violence, however for many of the reasons stated in my article, the U.S. is considered a promoter of violence outside their country. As the MLK quote put it, a "purveyor of violence in the world." Just as the statistics of school killings in the USA do not tell the entire story, neither does the numbers for Colombia tell the full story. Many Colombians, with good reason, can trace the violence in their country back to actions and policies of the U.S. government and corporations. All of that is much more info than can be covered in a comment, blog or even a book. I hope that one day you can visit and we can spend a week discussing it. What I now find interesting is that while people are willing to comment about U.S. and violence, no one has come forward disputing the sex and drugs. Yes, people arrive to the U.S. because it still offers more opportunities than many many other countries in the world. But surveys and research studies I have been able to get my hands on show that the USA is not always the first choice anymore. Australia, Canada, United Kingdom and even Denmark frequently rank above us. (BTW my wife says to advise you that her country is spelled Colombia)
Dibblevilleresident January 27, 2013 at 01:39 PM
Joe, I appreciate your views on the forest once removed from the trees. I too am a Mi expat having oversees for the past 25 years. America is uniquely the country that so many people condemn and aspire to move to simultaneously. I find your article title interesting but might argue the sex tourist moniker is more appropriate to many northern European citizens. You are spot on in regards to guns esp in wake of Newtown. Our greatest and worst export as a nation has been our culture. One need look no further than McD, Hollywood and MTV around the globe to see our influence. You can blame the receiving nations for buying but I'm not proud nonetheless. I would only add our biased support of Israel, lack of free universal medical care, and right wing hypocritical bible thumping as the next rung of head scratching items the world maintains in their view of us. Thanks for taking the time to write such interesting blogs on a variety of subjects.
Joe Kershaw January 27, 2013 at 05:05 PM
Dibblevilleresident - Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. I sincerely appreciate that you enjoy my rambling around different topics and find them interesting. Expats do seem to see things differently. I am sure that other readers enjoy your insightful comment. Yes, you are correct in that Northern Europeans are also considered major sex tourists. In my experience they tend to more prevalent in the Asian countries while the Americans dominate more the South American countries. But I have seen my share of them down here. In the eyes of the people in South America the men from the USA surged to the forefront when so many members of the Secret Service protecting President Obama were found with hookers.
Don January 29, 2013 at 02:21 PM
God bless the US and thank God that our women do not have to sell their bodies to foreigners to make an income. Thanks for pointing out the horrible things that the people of other countries have to do. It's a wonderful life in Fenton.
stringbob January 29, 2013 at 03:24 PM
My apologies to your wife, Michael.... Please keep up the good-blogging.

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