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Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Oh Canada...

So, glancing through cnn.com I see this article about a t-shirt company in Albuquerque, New Mexico selling shirts with the Canadian flag for American tourist traveling in Europe.

There's a Canadian flag T-shirt, a Canadian flag lapel pin and a Canadian patch for luggage or a backpack. There's also a quick reference guide -- "How to Speak Canadian, Eh?" -- on answering questions about Canada.

This is all fun and games, but we have heard about people doing this. It is wrong on several accounts. The first and most obivious, you should not be ashamed to be an American because your party is not in power. This country still is the best place in the world to live. While there may be actions the current administration is doing that you don't agree with you should still believe in our system and be proud of the fact that you can voice your alternative opinion.

The company selling the shirts say they are doing it because often people that vacation in Europe are bombarded by questions about US politics from the Europians. This brings me to the second wrong. I thought that the Americans were the rude ones when they traveled to Europe. If I'm on vacation in Germany, I do not represent the United States government, I may or may not have voted for the current administration, and it is really none of their damn business either way. I just find it rude that someone would accost me because they don't believe in the war in Iraq soley because I'm American.

1 comment:

Mollina said...

I would like to comment on your last paragraph. I am not doubting that some Americans get hassled about our politics when they travel overseas. But it is not a guarantee that this will happen. I can tell you from experience....on my 8-month deployment with the Navy last year, we stopped in a few ports here and there. Some were in Europe and some in the Arabian Gulf. I met and talked with people in all of those ports. They knew that I was an American and that I was a member of the US Navy. I did not ever get hassled about my country or it's politics in any of those cities. From anyone, regardless of race or religion. I wasn't a tourist, but a sailor supporting America, regardless of politics. And I didn't get hassled.

American's do have a reputation for being rude and obnoxious when travelling abroad. I wonder how we got that reputation? If you can learn to subdue your own personality enough to soak in and respect the culture in which you are visiting, then you would never draw enough attention to yourself to need to claim a different nationality while there. I'm no expert, but when in Rome....