Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Defense of Previous Post


From time to time I get fed up with how PERSONALLY the Brits take Americans, like they personally came to their house and stole their garden gnome or something. Like they BEGRUDGE THEM THEIR VERY EXISTENCE.


I can't include every aspect and every nuance of every position. I can't take into account everyone's history. I knew how many of you would react, BUT I am surprised AND A LITTLE DISAPPOINTED that I would have to be defended from YOU ANONANON OF ALL PEOPLE! Not nice of you at all, not nice, Anon. You have never even been to America, let alone lived there.

THANK YOU Rebecca, Rox and Matt for your understanding. We are indeed entitled to our opinions, and putting mine here naturally invited yours, but geez. I was slightly hurt all afternoon about what Anon said.

And yes, I was falling asleep as I wrote it, and I didn't want to court controversy, and I did dread what people would say. I'm not brave like Leilouta. I wish I could say I will never do this again, but I probably will, once or twice a year seems to be my limit.

I have read de Tocqueville - I own the book. I have read some of the Constitution, and I have read some of the Federalist Papers, albeit a long time ago, but I was merely looking at the surface in my short blog. Yes I know America is not an Athenian democracy, I know it is a Republic. So what. It's still really free. Why do you think so many people still want to live there, including the Brits that are hemorrhaging to America from the British Isles?

I was talking about the people who built the nation, the ideals informing the modern American, not the people whose backs they built it on. That is another story, and one which all nation builders and white men are guilty of.

As I said, Americans will never be ideologically European, so stop hating them for it. They have a different history in their blood.

And Rebecca, well said - it was British ancestors who made America what it is.


Oggy said...

I think Americans have very little self distance.

MattJ said...

"And Rebecca, well said - it was British ancestors who made America what it is."

Yeah, where ever we go we do a half arsed interpretation of what Democracy actually means! lol. That was kind of the point I was trying to get across I guess - as objectionable as I find American foreign policy, it's no different than ours - we're justa lot better at pretending we aren't doing anything wrong.

MattJ said...

Oh yeah, and you shouldn't have to defend your post, it's a blog, it's and opinion piece. You put your opinion, I put mine (at length......sorry!) someone else puts theirs. Name calling should be left to school children and Republican Presidents ;)

Jia Li said...

u don't need to defend, I give u hugs

merserene said...

I must admit that I did not read the comments to your previous post, but agree that you shouldn't have to defend your post! People can very easily do their own counter-posts on their blogs. You shouldn't ever feel the need to censor yourself on your own blog.

Sometimes I lapse into insanity and start talking about politics - just because you had to get something off of your chest - but unwittingly I find myself sometimes censoring what I say just because it avoids confrontation.

(BTW, I'm completely confused on what is the "secret life of bags blog" to which you referred in mine?!)

Robin said...

nice blog, like your colour

hehe... yep,

good advise, I will stay away from politics and history.

But religion should be ok.. rite?


Rebecca said...

No no no, you write about whatever you want, don't bow down to cyber bullying! Can you imagine a world where we are afraid to talk about politics?! Politics is how the world goes, it's what determines everything, if we can't discuss it we can't learn from our peers and will never form full opinions. You talk about whatever you want: lipstick or Abraham.

tooners said...

I agree... DON'T bow down to these ppl. You are right w/ everything you said... some ppl just can't take hearing the truth. Americans do love the Brits but they (some), in turn, treat us so badly. I have experienced this most times when in the UK.

Ignore ppl like that. You have a right to say whatever you want. It is YOUR blog after all!!

Jason said...

Crikey Olivia, it is rare to see you get so angry. You should do it more often. I disagree with your comment about not being brave. Standing up for what you believe in in the face of opposition is brave by it's very definition. You shall be Audacious Olivia in my heart forever more.

panda_eyed said...

I don't blame you for getting angry. People are entitled to their opinion, and even to voice it, but name-calling and insults are too much. You have to wonder why this person cares that much, really..

The Moody Minstrel said...

Objectivism can be such a relative thing...

Speaking as an American who has lived abroad for more than a third of his life, I have often asked myself, "What is it about Americans that makes us so scorned in the rest of the world?" Is it because we suddenly found ourselves to be the only major industrialized country not ravaged by WWII and immediately milked it for all it was worth? Is it because we let the military superiority we enjoyed after said war go straight to our heads? Is it because we take the expression, "With power comes responsibility," a little too seriously and thus try to be the world's policeman? Is it because we are so convinced of our own benevolence that we feel ourselves incapable of doing wrong? Is it because some lingering trace of the isolationism of the early twentieth century has endured, making us unwilling or unable to understand cultures and systems other than our own? Are we too (hypocritically) conservative in our Christian heritage? Are we too self-righteous? Are we too self-centered? Too greedy? Too ambitious? Too short-sighted? Too gullible? Too dualistic in our thinking? Too simple? Too determined to have quick, easy satisfaction without any consideration?

Or is it just that too many of us have sticks up our arses?

I'm sure I probably do. It doesn't make me evil.

Here in Japan I have been treated like a second class citizen (read "practically thrown up against a wall and executed by sarcastic firing squad") simply because I was the only Yank in a party full of Brits and Aussies. I have been to a few conventions for native English teachers here in Japan that wound up being nothing more than anti-American flame sessions to rousing applause from the British, Canadian, NZ, and Australian teachers present.

At the time my response was something like this: "If you really get off so much on hearing a Canadian professor make a snide comment about the U.S., perhaps you are in need of treatment. A chronic national inferiority complex is such a sad thing."

My last name comes from the name of a town in County Cheshire, England. My father's family is mainly of English (grandfather's) and French (grandmother's) ancestry (ironically...), and I had one ancestor on my grandfather's side that came in on the Mayflower. My mother's family is mainly of Scottish (grandfather) and German/Irish (grandmother) stock, and the earliest ancestors we know of arrived in the early 18th century. Is there anything wrong with that?

I might add that, in the village where my mother was born and raised (and my parents and sister now live), the white settlers lived in peace, harmony, and cooperation with the Native American tribe that was indigenous to the area, specifically the Alsi...until disease and emigration decimated it to the point where its survivors moved to join another tribe that shared a similar language and culture. From what I hear, the white locals were very sad to see them go because they had always gotten along so well.

Does that make my family evil?

Whenever there is a major disaster in the world, which country is usually the first to offer aid and assistance? On the other hand, when there is a major disaster in the United States, how many countries even bother offering aid or assistance?

Yes, our government is a pack of morons whose motives and goals are suspect to say the least, but remember: only slightly more than half the people voted for Bush (assuming the conspiracy theorists are wrong). That means nearly half voted against him. Does that make us half wrong? Or half stupid? Or half evil?

Wow, what a rant. I guess 9/11 bitterness, Japanese beer, and people slamming my nationality make for a nasty combination. And I'll conclude by sticking my finger up my nose.

MattJ said...

"Whenever there is a major disaster in the world, which country is usually the first to offer aid and assistance?"

errrrm. Recently?.... The last few major disasters, US and UK may have been first but it's been other countries that have been first to offer realistic aid.

And to be fair, several countries offered the US aid during Katrina, including Cuba!

And no, you're not Evil, you're stereotyped just like the rest of us. Personally I live the stereotype of smug, self satisfied arrogance. Next time you see a canadian who you feel is about to throw a slur, pre-emptively smack him in the mouth and say 'Whaddya know? you were right about me all along!'. hehe.

Personally I like to target everybody. Indiscriminately discriminate!

merserene said...

I typed out this incredibly long comment, but decided against posting it as I've just now gone back and read the comments from the previous post. People have said it quite well already! American certainly has a history, a lot of it very good, but also a lot of it has been less than glorious or even righteous, and we must bear the brunt of that association if we do wish to call ourselves Americans. It will continue for decades to come; to avoid such association, I suggest becoming the citizen of a less-villified country.

I'd like to point out that there are plenty of Americans who are treated as second-class citizens in our own country, and plenty of non-Americans who are treated even worse. If we are indeed the pillar of example, we can hardly expect other countries/people to fare better.

To separate the actions of a government from those of its people seems to require above-average intelligence. Statistically speaking that would exclude the majority of the population. Everyone gets stereotyped.

Mikeachim said...

Blog gold. :)
Fine work, Arty.

randis said...

Whoa. What happened here? What is the anger all about?

Olivia said...

Oggy - and the Brits have too much. As Matt said below you, "we're just a lot better at pretending we aren't doing anything wrong".


Matt - good observation.


Jia Li - *hugs back*


Mers - bags further down this page. LOL it is quite a challenge when I turn up at your blog and find politics and religion to discuss!


Robin - thanks! Nope, no religion either :)


Rebecca - hehe, I thnk I did talk about lipstick in the next post, but...Abraham can also be controversial!


Tooners - well there you go. I thikn Minstrel has expanded on your idea further down the page :)


Jason - I didn't realise it was you till you said on 27 that you were coming here. THought you were my friend from uni!


Panda - well you may wonder...


Minstrel - woah, way to rant!
World's Policeman: remember when the people of Sarajevo were being bombed and sniped and saying, "When are the Americans going to come? Where are the Americans?"
If I remember correctly, lots of Iraqis did it too.


Matt - hence the name "rantamatt".


Mers again - a less-villified country....hm, there are a few around here who would smile to see me suggest.........*drumroll*......Switzerland! LOL

Or Iceland.


Mike - thanks :) :) :)


Randis - whoa, never mind that, where YOU been???

The Moody Minstrel said...

World's Policeman

I didn't say we were either good or consistent at it (actually there's lots of hypocrisy there...I mean, "Save the Iraqis from tyranny, but screw Darfur"?), I just meant that that's the way our country tends to view itself...

Anonymous said...

As an American, I really don't see the point of even wanting to meet anyone British. I hope I never set foot on your little island. You all seem so utterly cold, and mean spirited. The sun set on the British Empire years ago. Get over it.

Olivia said...

Anonymous - it is obvious you have not read this post or the last one. I defended America and her people - but you included me in your unkind statement. I am sure you don't realise that I have duel citizenship and am proud of it, so please do not call me mean and cold spirited; I spent 15 years in the US. I have feelings, and you prove to be just as mean by your words as the very Brits you condemn.

I never denied that the sun set over the British empire, in fact that wasn't the point of my posts. I have nothing to get over.

But how do you explain the millions of Americans who keep returning to England and the many who make that little island their home?

Anonymous said...

I am so so so very sorry to have hurt your feelings. I feel really bad about it. It's just that I'm so tired of all the hatred directed towards me because I'm now an American citizen. My relatives only recently came to the US (I was born in Iraq), and I never voted for Bush. Yet I am to expect to be hated? It just really makes me angry because it is so unfair. We are a nation of immigrants, and there is much to be said for that. I didn't speak English until I was 16. I am proud of my citizenship and now I am thinking of visiting England just knowning that there are kind people like you there.

Olivia said...

Anonymous - thank you so much, I really was worried for hours about it that day and you have done much to mend the little blog bridge between us.

Even though I am already British, I am also proud of my American citizenship. That is the depth of loyalty that that great nation inpsires!

I am impressed that you are an Iraqi-American, very brave in our particular global situation! My best friend from university is Iranian; her parents moved to France during the war in the 80s, and then they moved to the US, for the same number of years as I had been there. I often found myself discussing the pros of America vs the cons of Europe even with her.

Isn't it amazing the hatred...when they hear I lived in the US, Brits try to draw me into a discussion about America, thinking that I will speak badly of her (probably just because I still have my british accent?), but no - I defend her. On the other hand, as you can see, I defend the UK too, just not as strongly. I also like to remind the Brits that even before the immigration waves of the past 50 years, Britain had been a nation of immigrants for centuries!

I hope you do visit the UK one day, the history is amazing and the countryside is charming. So much to see that makes me go wow. There is something about it that keeps people coming back.

I hope to see you back on my blog again soon as you are welcome any time. We've been talking about food too much since the holidays :)