Sunday, August 31, 2008

Other Countries

I have an interesting passport since I travel a lot for my work. I get to go to some out of the way places, and have had the opportunity to get to know a lot of people I would not have otherwise met.

One good thing about traveling is the perspective it provides on the U.S. It's unfortunate that more Americans don't go abroad, because it would help open their eyes about what is happening here, and how we are viewed by others. We are falling behind, and that is most clear when you look at the country from elsewhere.

I spent some of August in Argentina and most of it in Canada. Argentina has gone through some very tough times but is picking itself up and reestablishing itself as one of the leading countries in South America. Buenos Aires is a beautiful city and it would be a shock to many Americans who think that Spanish speaking people only do yard work or clean hotel rooms. You could easily think you were in Paris on some streets in BA.

Anyhow, what I heard in Argentina was the same thing I have heard on five continents: "We understand that you made a mistake electing Bush the first time; we like Americans and love your country. But when you reelected him, we began to wonder if maybe we really don't understand America; maybe you really are a violent, racist and selfish culture."

It is very, very clear to me that electing Barak Obama will re-establish American in the eyes of the world as an amazing place that can recover from its mistakes. If we elect McCain, many people are going to turn their eyes away from America and look to other countries for inspiration.

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