Sunday, January 25, 2004

A view from across the pond and a view from this side

A fine survey of the recent spate of books reviling Bush's foreign policy has been presented in the NYT, by an American residing now in France, with this conclusion:
"Though I have lived abroad for many years and regard myself as hardened to anti-Americanism, I confess I was taken aback to have my country depicted, page after page, book after book, as a dangerous empire in its last throes, as a failure of democracy, as militaristic, violent, hegemonic, evil, callous, arrogant, imperial and cruel."

I'm an American residing in America and I'm here to tell ya, I'm taken aback that the reviewer's taken aback. And it doesn't take book learnin' to know whazzup in America. It just takes a few afternoons.

As I've said before, I do an hour-long "peace march" on Saturdays with a handful of like-minded folks, and then about three afternoons a week I station myself at a well-traveled intersection here in SB with my protest sign that contains on one side an anti-war chant and on the other (recently revised) an anti-Bush message. I receive an equal number of favorable honks (including furtive displays of "peace signs") and furious glares accompanied, sometimes, by middle-finger signs.

The most troubling reactions, however, are those where the driver hangs out of the window and yells (this happened twice today, about average for an hour), "God Bless American and George W. Bush." I shit you not.

I'm not taken aback at how America is perceived abroad. Just like Nazi Germany was perceived.

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