Once upon a time, being an American and traveling overseas, you had this persona like some halo around your head, and you were actually proud to be an American. When my father took me to Europe for the summer in 1964, I had Kennedy half dollars. When people saw I had one, they would forget the bill and settle for just a 50-cent coin. I remember telling my father we should have brought rolls of the new coin with us.
I was in Berlin and looking at the machine gun bullet marks on a concrete wall. An old German guy approached me and yelled – You did that! That incident stuck with me. I came to understand that there were always two views, and what he was expressing was his support for the nationalism of Germany, not actually the policies of Hitler. As they say, history is written by the victor. Both sides always commit atrocities in a war. That is just the nature of war itself.
Years later, I was in Hiroshima. Given the civilian deaths, I was perhaps embarrassed at first to be an American in that city. Yet an old Japanese lady approached me, noticing that I was an American, and apologized to me for her government forcing the United States to have dropped the bomb. I was stunned.
What is unfolding currently is that Americans I know in Europe are being tainted by the likes of warmongers such as Lindsey Graham, who always promotes war and interventionism in international affairs. As we celebrate our Independence Day, Gallup’s recent poll reveals that pride in being American has now plummeted to a historic record low. According to Gallup, indicates that only 39% of Americans consider themselves “extremely proud” to be American. When I was in London, even the Brits liked celebrating the 4th of July. Those days seem to be declining.
Speaking to European friends, they may try to avoid the subject entirely. This is the problem with the Neocons. They paint all Americans with this hatred. In turn, they get people to gate all Russians applying the image of Putin to everyone there. The truth is, the average American and Russian could care less about international objectives. They want to get by and provide for their families. The words of Goring on how to manipulate the people are words we should never forget, for all governments will seek to engage in propaganda to manipulate the people.