Posted by Bill R on July 27, 2000 at 18:05:43:
In Reply to: Re: The unenviable fates of the men who signed the Declaration of Independence posted by Adele on July 27, 2000 at 16:17:49:
Okay Adele.....you know, you are probably the ONLY Englishperson who could sail into Boston Harbor with a boatload of tea, brew it all, and pour it down my throat while shoving reams of duty stamps up my butt, and I would still be inclined to hug you.
I do take it very personally when my country is dished. I know we deserve it more than I ever would like to believe. I have always identified with the "little guy" whether it be the native American, Israel, those poor schnooks in the Warsaw Ghetto, the CSA, etc etc. I like the guts of any people who will fight for their family and way of life no matter what. And I deplore when an international bully, or bullies closer to home begin their oppression of somebody weaker, more passive or peaceful, different, in a minority of any kind, or who just happen to have something they want.
At the same time, I admit that we Americans think we have the answers to the world's problems and sometimes stick our noses into other country's business when they can do just fine without us. I also admit that we Americans will protect our "strategic interests" whether or not we have United Nations approval or cooperation. BUT, we are ALSO the first nation to come to any other country's aid when they have a natural disaster, are attacked, or in need of dire help. And we act as a broker cajoling and encouraging other nations to lend help too. I do think the majority of folks in this country feel a deep sense of fairness and compassion.
And yes, I do take it personally when somebody criticises the founding fathers for not being as pure as the driven snow. So WHAT? Who of us is? So what if their intentions were parochially or ecnomically motived in part? So what if the full intent of the Declaration and the Constitution wasn't met right away? So what if along the way in our history we have not been always compassionate, right, or even fair? No country has. It is no longer the l950's and our high schools and grade schools are not teaching the same blind patriotic doctrine as they were back then. Our kids know our history is spotted with injustices and unfairness. Our kids know also that our founding fathers had feet of clay or had all too human vices. I just feel that along with the awareness of what has happened and what could happen again, we should also teach them to be proud of the things this country HAS accomplished and DOES stand for. The Declaration of Independence was something nobody had done before....challenge the divine right of kings; establish an attempt to guarantee freedom, fairness and prosperity for all; and establish a system of government which upheld those principles and provided for the active participation of its citizens to include each and every one being eligible to become Congressman, Senator or President. It was a direct contribution to the fall of Divine Right in other countries and a model, as was the Constitution, for other democracies. We were the first, ladies and gentlemen. And I am proud of that.
Let me be a bit cynical and worldly here: We ARE the most powerful, tecnologically proficient, and devastating war making power on earth right now. If we deployed our full might and our full warmaking capability no nation could stand against us. Whom have we attacked? What country have we invaded and subjugated?
Why haven't we just taken what we needed by force of conquest and arms? Every other country who was dominant in that regard has throughout history. We have not. More than that: does anybody seriously think the Soviet Union would have stopped their expansion had we not existed? And does anybody really think China would be so constrained today if we did not exist?
It was said that France may be a tad uncomfortable with the reunification of Germany. I can certainly understand why. And yet, in their hearts they KNOW if attacked again, they will be defended and liberated again by the US, even while they despise us and look down their gallic noses at us.
I have a much simpler reason as to why we take so many slams at every turn - we do so just because we ARE the big dog.
I have NO doubt in my mind that many of the countries who slam us, were they to possess the warfighting capability and industrial capability and food producing capability that we do, would NOT be so generous and benevolent towards the rest of the world. They have their own histories to live down.
I am fully aware of our shortcomings as a nation and as a people. I am also damn proud of those things we have accomplished, and the sense of fairness and compassion my countrymen, for the most part, hold in their hearts.
: Now, you KNOW we don't like it when you keep your mouth shut Bill!!
: From what I have seen of your previous posts Bill, I think that you may have a tendency to take these discussions very personally - as a 'cheap shot' at your country to use your words. From this side of the pond, I don't see it quite the same way. I think the fact that the discussions are primarily American/English based is simply due to our communal connection - an interest in LOTM and an interest in a particular period of history. I don't believe that this particular thread is US bashing at all - it is simply a debate as to the motives of a group of people who changed the history of your country. From my point of view, I find it fascinating and highly educational since my knowledge of history is .........ahem.........limited!!
: As you may have noticed, England comes in for an occasional 'cheap shot' too, and I do try not to take it as a personal affront. Occasionally the wording of a post can be verging on the offensive, eg when people act like the historical issues being discussed are happening NOW, but for the most part I think that people are taking a particular moment in time to debate in a healthy and informative way.
: I thought that it was interesting what you said about flag waving though because in Britain now, the Union Jack has become an emblem of either hooliganism or racism. For me, that is a tragedy. So I DO empathise with your feelings on this subject.
: I agree that we ALL have a history that we are ashamed of but ironically, in England, if the US is being critcised it is invariably about a modern day issue, not a historical one. Maybe Americans bring up their past more frequently as a form of self-critcism and that is what irks you?
: We COULD have discussions about other major historical events on other continents, but I do not think that is why people come to this site - I guess that is why sometimes the discussions do seem rather one sided.
: Anyhoo, that is my two-pennyworth, for what it is worth.
: Adele (who loves EVERYBODY!!)
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