The View from Abroad, by Fred Reed

The rest of the world doesn’t see Americans in quite the same way that Americans see themselves. From Fred Reed at theburningplatform.com:

American Homeless picking their way through garbage

Americans are brought up to believe that the United States is a shining city on a hill, a light to mankind, that the world envies us for our values and freedoms, and hates us because we have them. This is ground into us from birth. Those of us now long in the tooth remember the Fifties when Superman jumped out of a window while the announcer spoke of a strange visitor from another planet fighting for “truth, justice, and the American way,” then thought to be related.

As one who has traveled much and lived in several countries, I can tell you: It ain’t so. The world does not regard America with admiration.

Today the internet profoundly affects the world’s view of America. The Web makes graphic and easily found things that in earlier times would have been out of sight from abroad.

For example, people in Kathmandu and Moscow can see horrifying and entirely truthful photos of the homeless living in piles of garbage in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Portland, and dozens of other American cities. They can read of trade conventions avoiding San Francisco because of needles and excrement on the sidewalks. Such scenes are rare even in most upper-Third World countries. To the orderly Japanese, accustomed to spotless cities and responsible government, such things are, in the strict sense of the word, incomprehensible.

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