Monday, March 14, 2005

American conservative's Field Guide

Over at Crescat Sententia Raffi Melkonian has posted the first part of his (American) Conservatives' Field Guide (to Europe).

He puts the basic question faced by those like him thus:

You can fight, of course - but literally everyone will disagree, ...and sometimes it's hard to counter arguments you haven't heard before. Or, you can join the ranks of what I began, near the end of my time over there, to call the "study abroad apostates" - people who were perfectly sensible republicans or democrats at home, but upon finding themselves seemingly on the wrong side of every issue in Europe, fall over each other to denounce America.

From a slightly different placed (ie UK citizen) I am someone who is quite open and honest about my admiration and liking for President Bush, and I am bemused, though not surprised, by the knee-jerk hostility this can provoke. What is though in many respects worse is that people will just assume that, as an educated person, I am going to dislike Americans in general and George Bush in particular. It's a poisonous atmosphere, and can be very oppresive.

I have, amusingly though, encountered something similar on the other side of the fence when I was US (in Chicago actually) and someone expected me, as a European, to be anti-Bush. I think I quite shocked his worldview when I turned out to be nothing of the sort.

Of course, there was a time when I was much less forthright in my views, when I felt almost apologetic for holding them (which is the perniciousness of the prevailing atmopshere). No longer - it is far better for my self-esteem to be true to one's feelings. Even if it does get you into some arguments, and loose some friends (but, one should ask, are they friends worth having if they let politics get in the way of friendship).

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