Good ideas take on a life of their own

Good ideas, thankfully, don’t just squirm away and die.  The best of them take on a life of their own.  This year’s good idea, one that has been in vogue for a while, but that is taking on heightened importance now, is the core nature of being an American.  My focus is on freedom, brought to you courtesy of the United States Constitution.  Patrick, the Paragraph Farmer, also sees in Americans a distinctly national character, defined by our beliefs — and by the things against which we stand.  Do check it out because, as we observe in the White House a president who believes freedom is anathema and who, by his upbringing, lacks any understanding of the American character, it is more important than ever that we affirm what makes us  us (or should I say what makes us U.S.?).

(Bad link fixed, I hope.)

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  1. Charles Martel says

    Since the “racist!” card is crumpling and can no longer be played as an ace in politics, I believe that “chauvinist” will soon make a return, as in, “How chauvinistic of you to complain that our cosmopolitan president is not adhering to some provincial, simplistic notion of what it it is to be an American!”

  2. suek says

    I had a problem with an order yesterday.  I called our vendor, an Italian based company, which supplies bulbs manufactured in Europe and Abu Dhabi.  I spoke with Khalil… after a short conversation, he said that a particular bulb wasn’t going to be available any more….”None?”, I asked?  “No mas”, he replied.
     
    Only in America…!

  3. SADIE says

    Palestinian shock: President says he wants to quit
    No need to add the text to the header. It’s just another Abbas ploy to manipulate.
    I was just dreaming how I would like to reverse the words on either side of the : to read …
    President says he wants to quit: Palestinian Shock

  4. Gringo says


    From my time working overseas, here is what some furriners – mostly Argentines-   have told me about Americans. I can see  three reasons why I was more likely to get a response from Argentines: 1) I spent more time in Argentina; 2) Argentina had a socioeconomic makeup closer to the US so it was less inclined to view the US as the “Great White Father” and more as an equal; 3) because there were  fewer Americans in Argentina compared to other countries,  there was more of  a tendency for Americans to mix with the locals. Not as many gringos to pal around with, so have to go more with the locals.
     
    Here is what I remember their telling me:
    1) We take more initiative. (Also more inclined to dig in and get our hands dirty. I recall getting pissed at a Peruvian with a degree who refused my direction to go 90′ up to the top of  the rig to fix something.”I’m a professional. I’ll tell a rig hand to  do it.” I was pissed at him because I had already been up to the top of the rig four times myself, including a repair job that entailed my working from 10 p.m. until 3 p.m, w 2 hour off  in between.  Just the last 5 hrs. on the repair. )
    2)  We work more at  improving things or ourselves, not accepting current conditions.
    3) We are self-critical.
    The previous points are what Argentines told me. What they told me about initiative was not related to the story I told about it.
     
    Here is what I concluded.
    1) Bigotry, racism, and tolerance are universal.  While Americans are not perfect, we do pretty well by comparison. Ex: Russians and Poles hate each other. In the US, they marry each other.
    2) While our government gives us  cause for complaint, you don’t know what inefficient bureaucrats are until you live overseas.
    3) Ditto regarding corruption.
    4) Ditto the chance for the common man to advance. Compare 500 years of Latin American history with that of the US.
    5) In the US,  a business contract is seen as an obligation to fulfill, with the business transaction seen as mutually advantageous.In many countries in Latin America- especially Argentina- a contract is just a piece of paper, with winners and losers clearly delineated in business transactions. ( A high school friend married an Argentine and has done some consulting there: he agreed with me).
    6) I found my being an American opened up many more doors than it closed. The exceptions primarily being some pigheaded EuroCommunists or some French. Which is why Obama’s speech San Antonio last year, when he talked about wanting to have a daughter traveling the world to be proud of the US, REALLY PISSED ME OFF. (Read the speech: It is as if he is saying, “ Vote for me and you can be proud of America.”)
    7) If one doesn’t have to worry too much about money, in some ways life overseas can be as satisfying or more satisfying than in the US. If one doesn’t have to worry too much about money. Big if. (Certainly the tropical mountains have a more pleasant climate than TX. Especially in August.)
     
    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/04/us/politics/04text-obama.html?pagewanted=2&_r=1&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss
     

  5. Gringo says

    Boy, don’t I sound like the American chauvinist!  I have told many people that my time in Latin America turned me from a progressive of the left into an evil right winger. You start waving the flag when you see there is  something to wave  it for.

  6. suek says

    I had a conversation with someone a couple of weeks ago…I don’t remember who…who told me that the Japanese recognize their cultural uniformity in approaching problems, and when they form up teams in companies, they like to include at least one American.  The reason is that the American brings in a view that is unorthodox, and may provide a solution that their orthodox cultural upbringing would blind them to.  I thought that was a very interesting observation – but I must admit I have no idea how true/false it is.  Feasible, yes…true?  No idea!

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