It's about likability. Both his and ours, as Americans. I recently got this email from my niece who spent a semester in London and has traveled in Europe in the past two years:
"Yay we can finally travel again without apologizing for our country and president!"
So true. I was in New Zealand on a multi-sport adventure, the week Bush won the second time (I voted absentee ballot!). When it was over, I toured Christchurch on the South Island, on my own. I was in a souvenir shop at one point and the proprietor heard my American accent. He made a comment about the election. Along the lines of, "how could you?" You being America. I indeed felt the need to apologize.
It's been like that whenever I've been abroad over the past few years. I feel sheepish. I want to shout out, hey sorry about the wars and the other stupidity on our part.
This is very different from when I was a student abroad my junior year in England. People were enamored of the U.S. Oh, certainly they were critical about many things but they admired a lot too.
So it was nice the day after the election of the first black president, to hear the people in many countries who were impressed by our "shining city on the hill" example once again. I can't wait to go abroad now and walk around with a smile. And stop trying to fake some other accent...(no I did not, but maybe if I had been better at it...)
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