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Speak Badly About the USA

Speak Badly About The USAI am in Latin America. Many of the people here blame the USA for the perceived state of decay that their countries are in. To a large extent, they are correct. In what seems like an attempt to even up the ante, many people try to force me into conversations in [...]

Speak Badly About The USA

I am in Latin America. Many of the people here blame the USA for the perceived state of decay that their countries are in. To a large extent, they are correct. In what seems like an attempt to even up the ante, many people try to force me into conversations in which I am expected to speak badly about my country.

I am from the USA. I have only paid 36 cents of federal tax in my lifetime. I do not waste my time voting. I am not responsible for any action of the US government, past or present. I will not accept any blame, or feel guilty.

I also will not speak badly of my country. Any place in the world within the grasp of governmental control is under the sway of tyranny. I do not believe that there are good or bad governments. But there are ones who have more power and ones that have less. The USA is powerful. The USA exerts that power. Any country, empire, or kingdom with power has done this, it is nothing new. Powerful countries attack those of lesser might. I do not know why, but patterns show me that they do. If Costa Rica was a powerful country, and even had a military (besides that of the USA), I would place a bet that they would be the ones dropping the bombs on Iraq . . . or the USA. Power seems to exists only in its actualization.

Read history, study prehistory. This is the way that it has always been. The Iroquois obliterated the Erie, the Incas most of North Western South America, I do not even have to mention the Aztecs or Mayas. How did the Mapuche gain such a large territory? The gentle Tibetan story is a myth to get money from NGOs. Russia? The Germans decided to try to take over the world, the Romans almost did so, the Chinese are still trying. The British Empire? I do not have to say anything more. The chronicles of Southeast Asian history and prehistory is a patchwork of wars, conquest, and annihilation. The Mogul Empire stretched across much of the eastern world, the Mongols had a field day ravaging Asia.

I refuse to accept any blame for the USA.

Forcing a person to speak badly about their country is rude. I would not try to make a Japanese person apologize for the atrocities their government committed in China over a half century ago. I would not try to make a Brit feel guilty for their heyday of colonialism. I would not make a Chilean apologize for Pinochet. This would be stupid.

It is equally stupid for someone to expect me to speak badly about the USA.

People have no power in their government anywhere. I would think that the people of Latin American would know this better than anyone else. I do not understand why they still try to little dog me, and nip at my heals. I fail to understand why they care so much about my political leanings. I don’t care what politicians they like. They could vote for satan and I would not raise an eyebrow. I simply do not care. I become annoyed when someone tries to make me care. It seems as if every time I meet someone in Latin America I must prove my political un-allegiance. I must demonstrate that I am not a supporter of USA governmental actions, the US sitcoms that people oogle upon all over this planet, or of George Bush.

It is almost like I have to say, “Yes, I am an American, but I am not that kind of an American. I am a cool one who hates my country, culture, and government. I am on your team.”

If I make such a statement I prove that I am worthy to be a friend. If not, I am an imperialist.

I will no longer make such statement. I would rather not have any friends.

I do not even live in the USA. I do not care what the USA does. I do not waste my time thinking that I can change the course of a government, that I can change the tide of human tendency. The pattern of the USA is the pattern that all great powers have followed.

I do not think my country is better than that of anybody else. I do not believe that I am better than anyone by birthright. I too, am bewildered by the fact that USA culture has been imported by countries all around the world. It is not my fault that your sister is “ruining” your culture by obsessively watching DVDs of “Friends.” I do not understand why you want to immigrate to my country.

I call myself an “American” because that is the English word for someone who comes from the USA. I am merely a user of the English language, not its creator. By saying that I am an “American” does not mean that you are not also from the Americas.

I fail to understand why you think that being called an “American” contains so much prestige. Why do you think that I am putting you down by calling myself by the title the English language has given me. I would think that being a Nicaraguan, Ecuadorian, or Chilean would be just as worthy. I refuse to call myself a “United Statesian.” This would be stupid.

It is not my fault if your country is not powerful. Chances are, I would not even notice.

Do not nip at my heals. Do not try to put me or my country down because you think it is great. I don’t think it is great.

Latin America, you have nothing to prove to me.

As Andy says, “Life is Good.”

Wade from Vagabond Journey.com
Barva, Costa Rica
February 14, 2008

Filed under: Central America, Costa Rica, Travel Philosophy, USA

About the Author:

Wade Shepard is the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. He has been traveling the world since 1999, through 89 countries. He is the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China, and contributes to The Guardian, Forbes, Bloomberg, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3465 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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