10 Things Most Americans Don’t Know About America

May 9, 2013

The  paragraph headers were written by Mark Manson in a previous transmission.  My comments (written in blue) are given below his paragraphs and represent MY  responses to his statements.  As you can see, in some cases I do not agree.

I suppose there has been and always be the argument as to what country is the best on the planet. Several factors would and should be considered in making that judgement.  Factors such as 1.) education, 2.) health care, 3.) freedom of expression, 4.) poverty level, 5.) level of private giving to worthy organizations, etc.    I do agree with Mr. Manson that the United States is not the only great country on earth but I still consider the US to be the very best country, all things considered.  I welcome  your comments on this one.

  1. Few People Are Impressed By Us

I think many people in other countries ARE impressed with the fact that we are basically free to express our opinions regarding all subjects and seemingly have no impediments in doing so.  Our level of freedom is unparalleled, although most western countries enjoy the same freedom we seem to protect those vigorously.    Our laws against slander are designed to protect others from malicious information broadcast for the sole purpose of hurting reputations.   The execution of these laws are rare but they do exist.   I can certainly tell you most people in other countries are NOT impressed by our government and actions taken over the past eight years but, they do like American people.

         2.       Few People Hate Us

Absolutely agree with this one.  I have had the great pleasure of traveling to several countries and have always been able to interact with citizens happy to strike  up a conversation.  Mostly, they are very curious and have questions regarding life in the United States, especially if they have not traveled to the US.  I really enjoy their openness and direct conversation.  This is very strange to most Americans because we are so very PC in our approach to life and conversation.  It’s just not that way in other countries.  WE ARE NOT, FOR THE MOST PART, HATED!

3.       We Know Nothing About The Rest Of The World

Unfortunately this is generally true.  We are very  much out of tune with the geography and culture of other countries.  I won’t go into the language barriers we face.  We, for whatever reason, seem to shy away from learning any language but English.  This is a real problem for most Americans.    Also, I have become aware that many, if not most, of our elected political leaders on a the national level know little about other countries.  To me, this is really disturbing and extremely embarrassing.

  1. We Are Poor At Expressing Gratitude And Affection

Having traveled to many  Latin American countries, I can tell you they are very good at expressing affection.  I supported a company called DAKO in Brazil for about eight (8) years.  In the morning after arriving, I got a handshake and a hug from the guys and a kiss on the cheek from the ladies.  That’s just the way they do it and it’s refreshing to know they are happy to see you once again.   Now, I have also spent time in the Middle-East.  The culture is considerably different.  You would never express affection to a lady in the same fashion as Latin America.  It’s not done.  In our country, affection seems to be implied to some degree if a person is a neighbor or coworker.  This is not always the case but generally so.  We simply do not  know how to adequately express gratitude and affection in this country.

  1. The Quality of Life For The Average American Is Not That Great

We do have the freedom to maximize life’s experiences if talented and energetic enough.   I will say the average American definitely works more hours, sometimes for things that do not insure  happiness or even comfort.   Our standard of living is generally the envy of many nations and others would love to live here.  We do pay for that standard of living.  When I retired from GE I had 18 days of vacation remaining.  Very rarely would an employee in the engineering ranks take their full vacation time.  They were actually afraid of losing their job.  Not only that, I am always amazed at the number of individuals who work a second job, generally part time.

  1. The Rest Of The World Is Not A Slum-Ridden Shithole Compared To Us

There are undoubtedly  many places in the world that equal the very nicest places in the United States.  I’ve been to Dubai and was absolutely blown away.    I have  children who have visited Bangkok, Ho  ng Kong  and Singapore.  They tell me these cities are new from the ground up AND remarkably clean for urban areas.  Now, I personally have seen the slums of Cairo, Sao Paulo and Aman, Jordan and they are much much worse than the slums of Detroit, Atlanta and San Francisco.   I would have to agree with Mr. Mason in that we sometimes feel ours is better than theirs.  That is not the case, at least not always.

  1. We’re Paranoid

In all of my travels, I have never been threatened nor felt in danger BUT, due to 911 and incidents such as Boston, we have every right to be vigilant and remain aware.  My second granddaughter’s boyfriend was murdered on the streets of Atlanta; broad daylight, five o’clock in the afternoon.  If that does not make you a little ( or a lot ) paranoid, think again.

  1. We’re Status-Obsessed And Seek Attention

This is a definite.  Look at all of the reality shows, Hollywood and Country and Western award programs, Miss America, Mrs. America, Miss Teenage America, talk shows, etc etc.  Ever watch the news?  It’s not about news, it’s about giving the anchor his face-time.  Admit it we are status-obsessed to a great degree.  We sometimes wish we were in their shoes when ours are just an interesting.

  1. We Are Very Unhealthy

AGREE !  The United States is number one in per capita expenditure for health care yet number thirty-eight in the work when considering the total health of our population.   We are number three in the world for the fattest population.    The administration of health care is horrible and there is no real evidence this will change in the upcoming years.   If  you, like me, are on social security, try to find a doctor.

  1. We Mistake Comfort For Happiness

Mr. Mason states that our country is built on the exaltation of economic growth and personal ingenuity.  Comfort sells.  Bigger TVs, more movies, take-out, etc.  We are into comfort.  Depression and anxiety disorders are soaring.  Suicides are at an all-time high.  Relationships fall apart seemingly every minute.  Divorce is approaching the fifty percent figure.   Throughout history, every dominant civilization eventually collapsed because it  became TOO successful.  They got TOO comfortable and TOO unhappy.  We are definitely on that path.

I certainly welcome your comments.  Please feel  free to express them.



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