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Bush Baiting at Home and Abroad

Thursday, 28 October 2004 12:00 AM

For me, under the thin crust of the European Union there still smolders centuries old histories of fierce nationalism, intense xenophobia. and an ethnic stereotyping that fosters prejudice and too often bigotry

In my case I recall my very first attendance at a lecture in a European University. A Swiss-German student sitting next to me said, "You’re an American! Have you ever heard of Beethoven?”

In France in 1951 the country swarmed with Americans taking advantage of highly favorable exchange rates. The common complaint among Parisians was, “The damned Yankees have liberated Germany and are now occupying Paris.”

Also in Paris, walls were covered with graffiti reading: “Yankee Go Home!” (As a counterforce some American students added to s the graffiti the words “Via Pan American!”)

In England the conventional wisdom among many English was, “The trouble with Yanks is they’re over-sexed, overpaid, and over here.”

From living in Europe I also learned that we Americans are not the only victims of ethnic profiling.

The English call the French “frogs” and regard them as shamelessly discourteous.

All over Europe the French are regarded as “discourteous intellectual snobs.” The Italians are regarded as “slovenly,” and the Germans as “boisterous and arrogant.”

During my long stay in Europe what has surprised me more than its nationalism and anti-Americanism is the internal ethnic stereotyping that occurs within each country.

For example in the United Kingdom there is prejudice in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales against the English, who are regarded as snobs.

In England there is a disdain for the Welsh. The pejorative term for a Welshman is “Taffy.”

In France the Parisians tend to regard residents of the provinces as ignoramuses. In turn the provincials tend to regard Parisians as snobs.

In Italy the typical middle class family in Milan would be appalled to have a son bring home a girl friend from any where in Italy south of Rome. At the same time, the Sicilians in particular are regarded as third class citizens at best.

It does not surprise me that in France and Germany in particular the viruses of xenophobia are now infecting the left wing’s vilification of George W. Bush in France and Germany in particular.

In that regard I was dismayed by an article titled "USA Oui! Bush Non!" in the pro Kerry Nation arguing that the European opposition to Bush is highly justified.

The article reports that French newspapers are filled with blistering criticism of the U.S. role in the world. Le Monde, for instance, pulled no punches when it recently termed Bush's Middle East policies "extraordinary, unjust and arrogant."

The article also reports that when Bush visited Berlin, the mayor announced that he would have to leave town, and tens of thousands of Germans participated in more than twenty-five large anti-U.S. demonstrations.

After attending a Paris concert by Bruce Springsteen (a prominent campaigner for Kerry) the author concluded, “You can't be anti-American if you love Bruce Springsteen... You can take issue with the policies of its unelected, unusually aggressive and unthinking Administration. But you can't be anti-American.”

It was also with dismay that I read an article of October 23, 2004 titled "Dumb Show" in The Guardian (my favorite left wing British magazine). The article concludes with:

“On November 2, the entire civilized world will be praying, praying Bush loses. And Sod's law dictates he'll probably win, thereby disproving the existence of God once and for all. The world will endure four more years of idiocy, arrogance and unwarranted bloodshed, with no benevolent deity to watch over and save us. John Wilkes Booth, Lee Harvey Oswald, John Hinckley Jr - -where are you now that we need you?”

As I see it, President Bush has become a whipping boy for atheist left wingers - both at home and abroad. They read into him some of the stereotypical qualities of the “Ugly American” - the villain in a best selling novel popularized by the left in the 1950’s to discredit the foreign policy of the Eisenhower administration.

Admittedly, Bush is God fearing and unabashedly patriotic. He has all of the appearances of “Jack Armstrong, the all-American boy who years ago advertised Wheaties as the “breakfast of champions” In his youth he was a cheerleader at athletic events. Today he is the world’s leading cheerleader for bringing freedom to totalitarian countries – some of which have been long exploited by Western Europe.

Consistent with the old adage that the character of a man is best judged by the nature of his enemies it is a credit to Bush that he is being vilified by the Democratic National Committee, and such publications as The Nation and The Guardian.

In my own case, even though I have been, and remain a life-long Democrat, I will vote for President Bush next Tuesday – and pray that he is re-elected.


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For me, under the thin crust of the European Union there still smolders centuries old histories of fierce nationalism, intense xenophobia. and an ethnic stereotyping that fosters prejudice and too often bigotry In my case I recall my very first attendance at a lecture in...
Thursday, 28 October 2004 12:00 AM
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