10 Things Most Americans Don’t Know About America

10 Things Most Americans Don’t Know About America

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Imagine you have a brother and he’s an alcoholic. He has his moments, but you keep your distance from him. You don’t mind him for the occasional family gathering or holiday. You still love him. But you don’t want to be around him.
This is how I lovingly describe my current relationship with the United States. The United States is my alcoholic brother. And although I will always love him, I don’t want to be near him at the moment.

I know that’s harsh, but I really feel my home country is not in a good place these days. That’s not a socio-economic statement (although that’s on the decline as well), but rather a cultural one.

I realize it’s going to be impossible to write sentences like the ones above without coming across as a raging prick, so let me try to soften the blow to my American readers with an analogy:

You know when you move out of your parents’ house and live on your own, how you start hanging out with your friends’ families and you realize that actually, your family was a little screwed up? Stuff you always assumed was normal your entire childhood, it turns out was pretty weird and may have actually fucked you up a little bit. You know, dad thinking it was funny to wear a Santa Claus hat in his underwear every Christmas or the fact that you and your sister slept in the same bed until you were 22, or that your mother routinely cried over a bottle of wine while listening to Elton John.

The point is we don’t really get perspective on what’s close to us until we spend time away from it. Just like you didn’t realize the weird quirks and nuances of your family until you left and spent time with others, the same is true for country and culture. You often don’t see what’s messed up about your country and culture until you step outside of it.

And so even though this article is going to come across as fairly scathing, I want my American readers to know: some of the stuff we do, some of the stuff that we always assumed was normal, it’s kind of screwed up. And that’s OK. Because that’s true with every culture. It’s just easier to spot it in others (e.g., the French) so we don’t always notice it in ourselves.

So as you read this article, know that I’m saying everything with tough love, the same tough love with which I’d sit down and lecture an alcoholic family member. It doesn’t mean I don’t love you. It doesn’t mean there aren’t some awesome things about you (BRO, THAT’S AWESOME!!!). And it doesn’t mean I’m some saint either, because god knows I’m pretty screwed up (I’m American, after all). There are just a few things you need to hear. And as a friend, I’m going to tell them to you.

And to my foreign readers, get your necks ready, because this is going to be a nod-a-thon.

A Little “What The Hell Does This Guy Know?” Background: I’ve lived in different parts of the US, both the deep south and the northeast. I have visited most of the US’s 50 states. I’ve spent the past three years living almost entirely outside of the United States. I’ve lived in multiple countries in Europe, Asia and South America. I’ve visited over 40 countries in all and have spent far more time with non-Americans than with Americans during this period. I speak multiple languages. I’m not a tourist. I don’t stay in resorts and rarely stay in hostels. I rent apartments and try to integrate myself into each country I visit as much as possible. So there.

(Note: I realize these are generalizations and I realize there are always exceptions. I get it. You don’t have to post 55 comments telling me that you and your best friend are exceptions. If you really get that offended from some guy’s blog post, you may want to double-check your life priorities.)

OK, we’re ready now. 10 things Americans don’t know about America.

1. Few People Are Impressed By Us

Unless you’re speaking with a real estate agent or a prostitute, chances are they’re not going to be excited that you’re American. It’s not some badge of honor we get to parade around. Yes, we had Steve Jobs and Thomas Edison, but unless you actually are Steve Jobs or Thomas Edison (which is unlikely) then most people around the world are simply not going to care. There are exceptions of course. And those exceptions are called English and Australian people. Whoopdie-fucking-doo.

As Americans, we’re brought up our entire lives being taught that we’re the best, we did everything first and that the rest of the world follows our lead. Not only is this not true, but people get irritated when you bring it to their country with you. So don’t.

2. Few People Hate Us

Despite the occasional eye-rolling, and complete inability to understand why anyone would vote for George W. Bush, people from other countries don’t hate us either. In fact — and I know this is a really sobering realization for us — most people in the world don’t really think about us or care about us. I know, that sounds absurd, especially with CNN and Fox News showing the same 20 angry Arab men on repeat for ten years straight. But unless we’re invading someone’s country or threatening to invade someone’s country (which is likely), then there’s a 99.99% chance they don’t care about us. Just like we rarely think about the people in Bolivia or Mongolia, most people don’t think about us much. They have jobs, kids, house payments — you know, those things called lives — to worry about. Kind of like us.

Americans tend to assume that the rest of the world either loves us or hates us (this is actually a good litmus test to tell if someone is conservative or liberal). The fact is, most people feel neither. Most people don’t think much about us.

Remember that immature girl in high school, who every little thing that happened to her meant that someone either hated her or was obsessed with her; who thought every teacher who ever gave her a bad grade was being totally unfair and everything good that happened to her was because of how amazing she was? Yeah, we’re that immature high school girl.

3. We Know Nothing About The Rest Of The World

For all of our talk about being global leaders and how everyone follows us, we don’t seem to know much about our supposed “followers.” They often have completely different takes on history than we do. Here were some brain-stumpers for me: the Vietnamese were more concerned with independence (not us), Hitler was primarily defeated by Russia (not us), there is evidence Native Americans were wiped out largely disease and plague BEFORE Europeans arrived and not just after, and the American Revolution was partly “won” because the British invested more of their resources in beating France (not us). Notice a running theme here?

(Hint: It’s not all about us. The world is more complicated.)

We did not invent democracy. We didn’t even invent modern democracy. There were parliamentary systems in England and other parts of Europe over a hundred years before we created government. In a recent survey of young Americans, 63% could not find Iraq on a map (despite being at war with them), and 54% did not know Sudan was a country in Africa. Yet, somehow we’re positive that everyone else looks up to us.

4. We Are Poor At Expressing Gratitude And Affection

There’s a saying about English-speakers. We say “Go fuck yourself,” when we really mean “I like you,” and we say “I like you,” when we really mean “Go fuck yourself.”

Outside of getting shit-housed drunk and screaming “I LOVE YOU, MAN!”, open displays of affection in American culture are tepid and rare. Latin and some European cultures describe us as “cold” and “passionless” and for good reason. In our social lives we don’t say what we mean and we don’t mean what we say.

In our culture, appreciation and affection are implied rather than spoken outright. Two guy friends call each other names to reinforce their friendship; men and women tease and make fun of each other to imply interest. Feelings are almost never shared openly and freely. Consumer culture has cheapened our language of gratitude. Something like, “It’s so good to see you” is empty now because it’s expected and heard from everybody.

In dating, when I find a woman attractive, I almost always walk right up to her and tell her that a) I wanted to meet her, and b) she’s beautiful. In America, women usually get incredibly nervous and confused when I do this. They’ll make jokes to defuse the situation or sometimes ask me if I’m part of a TV show or something playing a prank. Even when they’re interested and go on dates with me, they get a bit disoriented when I’m so blunt with my interest. Whereas, in almost every other culture approaching women this way is met with a confident smile and a “Thank you.”

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

If you’re extremely talented or intelligent, the US is probably the best place in the world to live. The system is stacked heavily to allow people of talent and advantage to rise to the top quickly.

The problem with the US is that everyone thinks they are of talent and advantage. As John Steinbeck famously said, the problem with poor Americans is that “they don’t believe they’re poor, but rather temporarily embarrassed millionaires.” It’s this culture of self-delusion that allows America to continue to innovate and churn out new industry more than anyone else in the world. But this shared delusion also unfortunately keeps perpetuating large social inequalities and the quality of life for the average citizen lower than most other developed countries. It’s the price we pay to maintain our growth and economic dominance.

In my Guide to Wealth, I defined being wealthy as, “Having the freedom to maximize one’s life experiences.” In those terms, despite the average American having more material wealth than citizens of most other countries (more cars, bigger houses, nicer televisions), their overall quality of life suffers in my opinion. American people on average work more hours with less vacation, spend more time commuting every day, and are saddled with over $10,000 of debt. That’s a lot of time spent working and buying crap and little time or disposable income for relationships, activities or new experiences.

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

In 2010, I got into a taxi in Bangkok to take me to a new six-story cineplex. It was accessible by metro, but I chose a taxi instead. On the seat in front of me was a sign with a wifi password. Wait, what? I asked the driver if he had wifi in his taxi. He flashed a huge smile. The squat Thai man, with his pidgin English, explained that he had installed it himself. He then turned on his new sound system and disco lights. His taxi instantly became a cheesy nightclub on wheels… with free wifi.

If there’s one constant in my travels over the past three years, it has been that almost every place I’ve visited (especially in Asia and South America) is much nicer and safer than I expected it to be. Singapore is pristine. Hong Kong makes Manhattan look like a suburb. My neighborhood in Colombia is nicer than the one I lived in in Boston (and cheaper).

As Americans, we have this naïve assumption that people all over the world are struggling and way behind us. They’re not. Sweden and South Korea have more advanced high speed internet networks. Japan has the most advanced trains and transportation systems. Norwegians make more money. The biggest and most advanced plane in the world is flown out of Singapore. The tallest buildings in the world are now in Dubai and Shanghai. Meanwhile, the US has the highest incarceration rate in the world.

What’s so surprising about the world is how unsurprising most of it is. I spent a week with some local guys in Cambodia. You know what their biggest concerns were? Paying for school, getting to work on time, and what their friends were saying about them. In Brazil, people have debt problems, hate getting stuck in traffic and complain about their overbearing mothers. Every country thinks they have the worst drivers. Every country thinks their weather is unpredictable. The world becomes, err… predictable.

7. We’re Paranoid

Not only are we emotionally insecure as a culture, but I’ve come to realize how paranoid we are about our physical security. You don’t have to watch Fox News or CNN for more than 10 minutes to hear about how our drinking water is going to kill us, our neighbor is going to rape our children, some terrorist in Yemen is going to kill us because we didn’t torture him, Mexicans are going to kill us, or some virus from a bird is going to kill us. There’s a reason we have more guns than people.

In the US, security trumps everything, even liberty. We’re paranoid.

I’ve probably been to 10 countries now that friends and family back home told me explicitly not to go because someone was going to kill me, kidnap me, stab me, rob me, rape me, sell me into sex trade, give me HIV, or whatever else. None of that has happened. I’ve never been robbed and I’ve walked through some of the shittiest parts of Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe.

In fact, the experience has been the opposite. In countries like Russia, Colombia or Guatemala, people were so honest and open with me, it actually scared me. Some stranger in a bar would invite me to his house for a barbeque with his family, a random person on the street would offer to show me around and give me directions to a store I was trying to find. My American instincts were always that, “Wait, this guy is going to try to rob me or kill me,” but they never did. They were just insanely friendly.

8. We’re Status-Obsessed And Seek Attention

I’ve noticed that the way we Americans communicate is usually designed to create a lot of attention and hype. Again, I think this is a product of our consumer culture: the belief that something isn’t worthwhile or important unless it’s perceived to be the best (BEST EVER!!!) or unless it gets a lot of attention (see: every reality-television show ever made).

This is why Americans have a peculiar habit of thinking everything is “totally awesome,” and even the most mundane activities were “the best thing ever!” It’s the unconscious drive we share for importance and significance, this unmentioned belief, socially beaten into us since birth that if we’re not the best at something, then we don’t matter.

We’re status-obsessed. Our culture is built around achievement, production and being exceptional. Therefore comparing ourselves and attempting to out-do one another has infiltrated our social relationships as well. Who can slam the most beers first? Who can get reservations at the best restaurant? Who knows the promoter to the club? Who dated a girl on the cheerleading squad? Socializing becomes objectified and turned into a competition. And if you’re not winning, the implication is that you are not important and no one will like you.

9. We Are Very Unhealthy

Unless you have cancer or something equally dire, the health care system in the US sucks. The World Health Organization ranked the US 37th in the world for health care, despite the fact that we spend the most per capita by a large margin.

The hospitals are nicer in Asia (with European-educated doctors and nurses) and cost a tenth as much. Something as routine as a vaccination costs multiple hundreds of dollars in the US and less than $10 in Colombia. And before you make fun of Colombian hospitals, Colombia is 28th in the world on that WHO list, nine spots higher than us.

A routine STD test that can run you over $200 in the US is free in many countries to anyone, citizen or not. My health insurance the past year? $65 a month. Why? Because I live outside of the US. An American guy I met living in Buenos Aires got knee surgery on his ACL that would have cost $10,000 in the US… for free.

But this isn’t really getting into the real problems of our health. Our food is killing us. I’m not going to go crazy with the details, but we eat chemically-laced crap because it’s cheaper and tastes better (profit, profit). Our portion sizes are absurd (more profit). And we’re by far the most prescribed nation in the world AND our drugs cost five to ten times more than they do even in Canada (ohhhhhhh, profit, you sexy bitch).

In terms of life expectancy, despite being the richest country in the world, we come in a paltry 38th. Right behind Cuba, Malta and the United Arab Emirates, and slightly ahead of Slovenia, Kuwait and Uruguay. Enjoy your Big Mac.

10. We Mistake Comfort For Happiness

The United States is a country built on the exaltation of economic growth and personal ingenuity. Small businesses and constant growth are celebrated and supported above all else — above affordable health care, above respectable education, above everything. Americans believe it’s your responsibility to take care of yourself and make something of yourself, not the state’s, not your community’s, not even your friend’s or family’s in some instances.

Comfort sells easier than happiness. Comfort is easy. It requires no effort and no work. Happiness takes effort. It requires being proactive, confronting fears, facing difficult situations, and having unpleasant conversations.

Comfort equals sales. We’ve been sold comfort for generations and for generations we bought: bigger houses, separated further and further out into the suburbs; bigger TV’s, more movies, and take-out. The American public is becoming docile and complacent. We’re obese and entitled. When we travel, we look for giant hotels that will insulate us and pamper us rather than for legitimate cultural experiences that may challenge our perspectives or help us grow as individuals.

Depression and anxiety disorders are soaring within the US. Our inability to confront anything unpleasant around us has not only created a national sense of entitlement, but it’s disconnected us from what actually drives happiness: relationships, unique experiences, feeling self-validated, achieving personal goals. It’s easier to watch a NASCAR race on television and tweet about it than to actually get out and try something new with a friend.

Unfortunately, a by-product of our massive commercial success is that we’re able to avoid the necessary emotional struggles of life in lieu of easy superficial pleasures.

Throughout history, every dominant civilization eventually collapsed because it became TOO successful. What made it powerful and unique grows out of proportion and consumes its society. I think this is true for American society. We’re complacent, entitled and unhealthy. My generation is the first generation of Americans who will be worse off than their parents, economically, physically and emotionally. And this is not due to a lack of resources, to a lack of education or to a lack of ingenuity. It’s corruption and complacency. The corruption from the massive industries that control our government’s policies, and the fat complacency of the people to sit around and let it happen.

There are things I love about my country. I don’t hate the US and I still return to it a few times a year. But I think the greatest flaw of American culture is our blind self-absorption. In the past it only hurt other countries. But now it’s starting to hurt ourselves.

So this is my lecture to my alcoholic brother — my own flavor of arrogance and self-absorption, even if slightly more informed — in hopes he’ll give up his wayward ways. I imagine it’ll fall on deaf ears, but it’s the most I can do for now. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some funny cat pictures to look at.

Note: My responses to common criticisms can be found here.
Double Note: If you’re young and live in the US and want to know why you should work abroad, go here

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3,290 Comments

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  • Reply

    Marissa

    5 weeks ago

    For the most part, and in a very general sense, I agree with this article. One thing I did want to pick out, was that the rise in depression and anxiety disorders in this country is not due to people not being able to confront their fears. I confront fears every day. We all do in one way or another. The sudden spike in mental illness is actually quite complicated and due to a sleu of different factors, so trivializing it is not appreciated. Also, the spike is not just occurring in the US. It’s happening in countries all over the world, so to say that it is due to our country’s own fear just doesn’t even make sense. I understand that this was a very small and rather insignificant part of the article, but since you are so fond of gaining perspective, I thought I would share this.

  • Reply

    mrNoName

    5 weeks ago

    what interests me (living in England) is that in some respects (not all) america is so radically different from ours. one of them being while our government officials are simply out of touch idiots some of the american officials seem to be genuinely evil. the reason being if you were promoting war in parliament mow people would start to edge away and give you funny looks (yes i realize there are exceptions to this like (Iraq)) but in america if some people said this they would stiil support them; without realizing they were supporting the slaughter of innocent civilians. this is just my perception if someone who was not biased either way could inform me slightly more i would appreciate it.
    please do not comment on my grammar or spelling if incorrect.

  • Reply

    brolylss

    5 weeks ago

    I read your replies to comments and legitimate criticism. The only thing I had a problem with is what to call citizens of the United States. I mean what should we call ourselves other than Americans, we can’t call ourselves United statesians. That isn’t even a word. But Brazil has brazilian. Which could be a problem if you’re getting waxed but do they really need to be called Americans to. While we can call ourselves new yorkers or new englanders or texans or me personally Wisconsinite. I prefer to believe we gave up identifying ourselves by state after the end of a conflict we had that kill 600,000 of us by 1865. Turning us from the United States are into the United States is. And with your comment of the drunk brother. From my personal experiences, just like family, America isn’t perfect, nobody and no place is but you care about them no matter there quirks and flaws.

  • Reply

    Eric

    5 weeks ago

    Great read.

    “Throughout history, every dominant civilization eventually collapsed because it became TOO successful. What made it powerful and unique grows out of proportion and consumes its society. I think this is true for American society. We’re complacent, entitled and unhealthy. My generation is the first generation of Americans who will be worse off than their parents, economically, physically and emotionally”

    Perhaps there is an opportunity for an article to elaborate on the above statement.

    However, referring to an ACL surgery as “free” is a little short sighted

  • Reply

    Alison

    5 weeks ago

    Couldn’t agree more and I’ve never even been outside the US (besides Canada)

  • Reply

    Brian

    5 weeks ago

    To say that Russia primarily defeated Hitler and France was primarily responsible for our independence is either extremely ignorant, deliberately malicious, or both. The United States and it’s allies, including Russia, all played critical rolls in the liberation of Europe. However, most experts agree that Russia’s roll was largely that of attrition and morale devastation that would have ultimately been replaced by the efforts of the other allies. And France’s roll in the American Revolution was largely due to the diplomatic urging of Benjamin Franklin, who spent the majority of the war in France coaxing both financial and military support from the French.

  • Reply

    Jessica

    5 weeks ago

    Thank you for this perspective. I respect your gumption for speaking of your opinions and experiences, however I respect you even more for your unprejudiced tone and neutrality. You have respect. And that will help this reach more people than any slander could.

  • Reply

    Sam

    5 weeks ago

    What a refreshingly honest article.

  • Reply

    Billdave

    5 weeks ago

    Americans also like information condensed to lists and bullet points, sweeping generalizations, and attention even in negative forms. Every one of us.

  • Reply

    Susan de Geus

    5 weeks ago

    So totally right on I wanted to give you a standing ovation. We moved to Fiji and lived there for 15 years and were friends with not only the Fijians but the expat Australians and New Zealanders. Our children were schooled in an international school where they became mates with youth from across the globe. And it was such an eye opening experience. We were there during Clinton’s Monica Lewinsky debacle. And our Australian friends looked at us and said “so”? One of my daughter’s school teachers said to her “Americans think America is the world.”

    Every single point you made I also discovered in not only our travels, but in living abroad. The only think that I got asked by the Fijians, when they found out I was an American, is if I knew “Walker, Texas Ranger” – one of the popular shows on their TV. Other than that, we were lumped in with, and referred to as, “Europeans.”

    We are back in America – but totally changed from our experience. And so glad our children were raised over the pond, as they are more globally minded individuals now.

    But in case anyone things your points aren’t spot on, I’m here to say, as someone who has experienced America from a distance, you hit that proverbial nail right on the head.

  • Reply

    Michael Burkett

    4 weeks ago

    I agree. In my own personal life I mirror all those attributes myself.

    One thing I see living in San Francisco, California are the non-profits and the, to me, insane monies many spend to be in a better neighborhood, have coffee to drink, and pat themselves on the back while the poor clients cannot even afford breakfast. I was volunteering in the Tenderloin, home to many of the poorest people, at an agency called Tenderloin AIDS Resource Center. One women asked a guy that worked there if he could buy her some food across the way as she was hungry. He gave her a list of all the free food sights in San Francisco, of which there are many. After she walked away I asked him what he was drinking and he proudly informed me he was having a latte, extra shot, with soy milk, and it was in a Starbucks cup. That drink was a minimum of $5, and he lived in an area of town that the median rent on a studio would be around $1000 or more, and 1 BR even more, drove to work, and he saw no difficulties in refusing to spend a coupla bucks to feed someone. I stopped volunteering almost immediately.

    Also, when I ate out and had leftovers I used to give them to people who asked for food on the street. I stopped this practice because the last few times I did the people looked at what I handed over stated “I won’t eat that ****!” and threw it on the ground. I have no problems with someone not accepting what I offer for any reason. What I fall down on is that they don’t say they won’t or can’t eat what I give and return it, rather they immediately go to destroying it’s usefulness for anyone.

    Lastly, I have visited Mexico and England. In both places the street signs where they were working stated things like – “Please excuse the inconvenience while we…???” or something similar. Here we just have “Men Working”, “Detour Ahead”, “Road Closed”, or some such. Never is any polite phrase included.

    It takes two seconds to say “Please”, “Thank you”, “Good Morning”, nod your head and smile. Yet when I greet people here, unless they are from other countries, I will not even get an acknowledgement.

    The USA has lost focus, but I still hold on to hope. We have The Constitution and it’s the only document outlining how a government works that has lasted as long.

  • Reply

    Tony

    4 weeks ago

    I must say I enjoyed your article – more so because if Americans understand how they are perceived ‘abroad’ there might be hope for them ;-)
    “I got dollars” doesn’t really cut it any more. Since the US instigated the movement away from an international currency standard (gold) in 1971 the US has been running at a negative trade balance for years – currently around US$ 40 Billion per month – which means, realistically, the US is bankrupt. Which you didn’t note in your ’10 things’.
    The US still ‘rates’ AAA according to financial institutions (which are funnily US ratings agencies – the same ones who rated Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae et al AAA ratings too).
    However, I digress. Your article indicates that there are ‘concerned Americans’ and that perhaps, with more Americans like yourself I can once again rate Americans as genuinely concerned (and knowledgeable) individuals on world affairs and not just ‘Protecting American Interests’ as we get as ‘excuses’ from your current administration.
    Whatever happened to “Make love not war”?

  • Reply

    eduardo lima

    4 weeks ago

    try the countries in the south like africa :), people are very human, very close to the people, i have already lived in places like london, lisbon, and Angola, wich one gives you very diferent perspectives of life, you ve got to believe, its crazy! But im living in lisbon now and im lovin it !! :D

  • Reply

    ILoveAmerica

    3 weeks ago

    I hated this article with a passion. Yes, some of it may be true, but it doesn’t mean we all worship satan or something. Not all of it is so bad, like we deserve to be in prison for the rest of our lives with no paroll. Just like other countries, we have our differences. There are still good things about our country, and I’d rather live here than anywhere else. The things you put in this article, like it or not, are just a part of American culture. One article isn’t going to change that. If it did, would we be any different from any other country? No. The world would be boring to say the least. And yes, we played a major role in winning independence from the British!

    • Reply

      Chim Richalds

      3 days ago

      “’I’d rather live here than anywhere else.”

      Why?

  • Reply

    Matthew Hall

    3 weeks ago

    Americans have the largest residences on average of any country on earth. Even after the crash.

  • Reply

    Imp

    3 weeks ago

    I can replace all of the “American” with the word “Bangkok” and it would still make sense to me. I know you’ve been to Bangkok and probably have a completely different view from me but in my opinion I still think this American thing sums up many countries’ middle to upper class society.

  • Reply

    Nate Claussen

    3 weeks ago

    I think you should have made it more clear that you were talking about the “majority of Americans” rather than the majority of people reading this article. It seems like you are describing a culture that your readers are not wholly a part of despite it existing in most places in the US.

  • Reply

    Nate Claussen

    3 weeks ago

    P.S. Your analogy just makes you seem more like a raging prick than before.

  • Reply

    Person

    3 weeks ago

    You know how you said the rest of the world doesnt care about us, well guess what, we dont really care about what you have to say. Like you said, we have a thing called lives, so I dont really care what you or any other country thinks of me. You gonna cry cuz people dont like us, awww he is gonna cry. Let me taste ur tears

    • Reply

      ...

      2 weeks ago

      That means you suck in other countrie’s terms. Go to hell and taste the wrath of it all.

  • Reply

    Kris Sturm

    3 weeks ago

    Very well phrased! Sometimes I get so mad at the ignorance displayed by so many people from the U.S. , but then again I tell myself that it is a learned behavior and not out of pure malice.

    I hope that there will be some change in the future because the world needs you to change! Desperately!

    All the best from Germany
    and thanks for the good read

  • Reply

    Tiffany

    3 weeks ago

    I can’t say I disagree with all of the statements you make here, but you make it sound like the rest of the world is full of angel countries who are on the brink of perfection. Yeah, we might be ignorant and fat but compared to some other countries, those aren’t too bad of flaws.

  • Reply

    Tosha

    3 weeks ago

    If the rest of the world is so amazing and peachy why does other countries people run to the U.S.? It isn’t just Mexicans its Russians , Africans and people from all over the globe they get smuggled into the U.S. . I always thought it was kind of funny everyone runs to the U.S. until we break a major law then we run to them…….

  • Reply

    Kim

    2 weeks ago

    Excellent blog post!! I too have referenced alcoholism to that of our government. Nice to see someone else do the same!

  • Reply

    Lizzy

    2 weeks ago

    I am an American and I whole heartedly agree with everything in this article. I have lived abroad for almost two years myself, first in Asia and now in Europe, and it’s nice to find like minded souls articulating things people who have traveled can relate to. Props.

  • Reply

    Daniel

    2 weeks ago

    “In the past it only hurt other countries. But now it’s starting to hurt ourselves.”

    Clearly, you’re an american, just like you exposed them. lol

  • Reply

    Itsme

    2 weeks ago

    Well, an extension to your analogy- Remember when we see other friends and families, and we then see our own, and realize, how much we take for granted sometimes?
    Well, thats what I think. I am not in american, and unlike you, haven’t traveled so much, but I have lived in a country, where people’s lives are of no value, and there is no such thing as calling 911. I mean I know you will think that yes, I am providing one exception to you, and that doesn’t defy the general theme. But this is the only article of yours with which I disagree.

    Americans live a lifestyle, most countries may not want, consider the kind of culture it entails, but they are surely jealous of. Particularly the countries you gave example of. As I said before, I havent travelled much, But for 23 years I have lived in a part of the world, where even being the best wont get you anywhere. Where merit doesnt count. where there is no concept of social security. Democracy is a farce. doesnt

    When I entered united states, I was amazed at how this country respects its people. Being able to walk alone at 11 pm, felt so good. Being able to lie down in a park, and watch the stars, felt so good. You will not believe. Now my parents do not worry much, because I am much more safer than they are. However, when I call my dad and he doesnt pick up, then I know what I go through. Because where I come from, nothing is a big deal. A few people dying is just a random thing in a day. Something to flip the page of a newspaper with.

    I know americans will never understand that. They just cant, understand the kind of power USA has. Also, most of your experiences, will be different, and world will seem better to you. There is a reason for this. You hold an american passport. No countries crimes will ever affect you. Everybody in the rest of the world knows what are the consequences of messing with an american, thanks to the back you are provided with your embassy. Try travelling to all these places with a russian passport, or a ukrainian passport, or an indian passport. You will know the difference.

  • Reply

    Fornik Tsai

    2 weeks ago

    I understand it! Although I’m not an American.

  • Reply

    Owen

    2 weeks ago

    You must have a lot of time on your hands to write about how horrible your country is. And telling us wherever you have been or the hospitality of others is useless on the internet. Stop being a downer and do something about America, for goodness sake. I don’t listen to Geography/History at school, yet I have more knowledge about America than anywhere else. Also, have you ever considered the fact that America is made up of multiple nationalities? Either way though, we don’t need you to speak the obvious, jeez. But then again, you are an American, right? Typical.

  • Reply

    Dee

    2 weeks ago

    Another point to make would be how we Americans perceive our military strength compared to that of other countries. Since the birth of America, we have constantly been at war with someone somewhere. Many Americans have the belief that we are the most powerful nation on earth when it comes to military. And why do you suppose that is? I think part of the reason is because all throughout history, and even to this day, American officials have constantly showcased our advancements in weapons and technology to the world via film for propaganda purposes. And while it is true that our military is indeed strong, I’m sure we’re far from being the most powerful on earth. There are MANY other countries that possess the same level of advanced weaponry and technology as we do, but not every country chooses to flaunt their strength to the rest of the world the way America does. And so because of that, many Americans believe that we have the most advanced weapons and technology in the world and that we are impervious to defeat. That’s just my opinion of course.

  • Reply

    Amy

    1 week ago

    It is always important to stay critical to your environment, not only America but elsewhere as well. As someone mentioned, no country is perfect (but what is perfect anyway?) but we can always strive towards something better and that is why this post is so important. Thank you for being such a critical human being. The world needs more of them :)

  • Reply

    Williams

    1 week ago

    I don’t understand about America because i’m not a citizen in there and by the ways America is too big country.

  • Reply

    Kathelyne

    1 week ago

    Really good eye-opening article. You have given me the desire to experience the rest of the world and to see if you are right. Of course, as an American i winced at some points while reading but I appreciate your honesty and respect. I will definitely be reading more your articles. Keep doing you.

  • Reply

    Fatima

    5 days ago

    Funny, but true! Though I don’t think I have travelled as extensively as you have, I’ve had all of these realizations ( and then some) while overseas. I should add that you DO also learn to appreciate the good things about the US and Americans when you are abroad for long enough…

  • Reply

    Chris

    23 hours ago

    I found your article by searching “is this country as fucked as I think it is”. The answer is yes.

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