Tuesday, June 20, 2006

I Hate to Tell You, But . . .

Country Bumpkin made an interesting comment in response to my post on I'm Looking Through You, Where Did You Go?, which concerned a new study that found Americans are hated by many people around the world.

Not so fast there, said Mr. Bumpkin. Forget about what people in Tierra del Fuego think about Americans. Why do Americans hate themselves so much?

This was a somewhat curious statement coming from a New Zealander, whom as a group (Mr. Bumpkin most definitely excepted) are probably the most taciturn and unfunny people on earth despite living in the most beautiful country on earth. Or maybe they just try to be a counterbalance to those Aussies.
Anyhow, I promised Mr. Bumpkin that I would see if there was any truth to his assertion.

During an exhaustive search, I found information on Americans hating children, Americans hating Democrats, Americans hating immigrants (see post below), Americans hating Arabs, Americans hating Canadians, Americans hating gays, Americans hating soldiers, Americans hating taxes, Americans hating welfare, Americans hating freedom, Americans hating Hillary Rodham Clinton, fat Americans hating themselves, and so on and so forth.
But nothing on Americans hating themselves except for indirect correlations like the staggering amount of person-on-person crime in the U.S. (upwards of 35,000 gun deaths a year alone), as well as the usual ad hominem attacks on Americans by yahoos like Cindy Sheehan and Anne Coulter at the far ends of the political spectrum.
I myself have lived a relatively hate-free life.

There was a bully in third grade whom I didn't like. And I would tell people that I hated President Nixon. But I eventually came to see him as pathetic and not loathsome, and I did really appreciate his overtures to China. I was on the tarmac at the airport in Tokyo in April 1971 when the U.S. table tennis team returned from its historic trip to Beijing. Not counting the invasion of Cambodia a year earlier, it was the biggest story that I had covered as a young reporter and I had Nixon to thank for that, too.

I don't hate President Bush because my mother taught me that it's wrong to hate people who are handicapped. And as much as I try to work up a good case of hate for Vice President Cheney, I end up seeing him as a lonely and pathetic figure who understands he might be a heartbeat away from a fatal arrhythmia and that his legacy will be wholesale vilification by historians and the people whose lives he made so miserable.
Come to think of it, I guess I just hate hate.

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