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The Ugly American
Thursday, October 21, 2004
  The Ugly American
This is my original post on BlogCritics.org. It gathered quite a few comments, some good some bad.

Hello everyone my name is Andy Marsh and I’m an ugly American. This is part of the 12 step program that I’ve decided to put myself through after being called an ugly American the other day on this very site. It was revealed to me that I’m an ugly American after responding to a post about who the rest of the world thinks should be my president. Being the sensitive man of the new millennium that I am, this deeply hurt my feelings. I’ll give you a little background and lay down my thoughts on this issue and then you can decide if I am indeed, an ugly American.
I’m a Jersey kid that spent most of his school years in a Catholic school. I joined the U.S. Navy when I was 17 and spent the next 20 years defending my country in a relatively peaceful world. I was stateside for most of Desert Storm, so I was never involved in any conflicts in any of my time in the Navy. The only “action” I saw in 20 years was in 1993 when Husseins’ plot to assassinate the president was discovered and the ship I was stationed on at the time fired 14 Tomahawk missiles into downtown Baghdad to blow up the Iraqi intelligence center.
One quick not on that cruise: My job was security team leader for a boarding party. It was our job to board merchant ships bound for Aqaba, Jordan and inspect their cargo to determine if they were carrying anything to Iraq that was not on the approved UN list. I spent my days attempting to communicate with people of many different nationalities and I feel it was actually one of the most rewarding experiences I had in my 20 years. On one Russian freighter they were watching the movie Hot Shots with Charlie Sheen (dubbed in Russian) and actually asked me if that’s the way the US Navy really was! I laughed and said “of course!”
I am now “retired” from the USN and work in the technology industry as an instructor. Oh yeah, I’m a registered Independent. I tend not to vote down party lines. I don’t believe in the philosophy of ‘my country, right or wrong.' Enough about me.
Anyway, there have been some articles written lately about polls taken in various other countries and who they think we as Americans should choose as our next president. I’m not sure how scientific these polls are, or what segments of the populations of these various other countries were actually polled, but for the most part, it seems, that the rest of the world wants John Kerry to be our president. What got me in trouble, or at least got someone to call me an Ugly American, along with a few other choice names, was when I asked why I should give a damn what the rest of the world thinks about who should be our president.
I have several reasons for thinking this way. First and foremost, I don’t really care what the rest of the world thinks about who should be my president. It’s one of those stones and glass houses kind of things. They can’t run their own countries, they shouldn’t be telling us how to run ours. That’s what probably makes me the ugly American. I mean, I don’t care who their presidents or prime ministers or premiers are so why should they care who I pick? Yeah, yeah, superpower and all that nonsense, I know, I know.
Second, I don’t read foreign newspapers, so I have no idea how politically biased they are and which way they “lean”. I know how bad the press is in this country, so I can only imagine what it’s like in the rest of the world. I have had the opportunity to see some news shows in foreign lands and they usually tend to be pretty anti-American. Some of them even have their respective governments looking over their shoulders to make sure they only print the current party line.
Third, I have been around the world and I can say this with a clear conscience: There is no better place on the planet than the good ole’ US of A! I have traveled to just about every country that has an ocean border and I know what I’ve seen everywhere else. I know that sounds extremely arrogant and I’m not going to apologize for it. I don’t want the things they have in other countries. I don’t want socialized medicine. I don’t want a state recognized religion. I don’t want part of my country having one recognized language while the rest of it speaks another (although that may already be happening). I don’t want even more of my money going to the government for BS social programs. I could go on, but you get the point. We’re not perfect, but you know what? we are the best thing since sliced bread!
Some will say that this is the attitude that caused the crimes against all of humanity on September 11, 2001. I say that’s BULLSHIT! Sorry for the language, but there really is no other word for that statement. These fanatics did what they did for some quantity of virgins (I don’t remember the number) wait until they find out it was Virginians!
Finally, I’ll say this (hooray, long winded bastard is gonna shut up). Like I said before, I have traveled the globe and I’ve always tried to be very respectful to the people of the countries I visited. The one thing I never did while I was there was tell them how I thought they should run their country or who I thought should be their next leader. I don’t think they should try to tell us how to run ours.
Am I an “ugly American”?
 
Comments:
It was a pleasure to get to know you through this piece. People often have a better understanding of your words, when they know the place they are coming from. I enjoyed very much, and now will have some insight into your ocmments elsewhere...

Claire
 
Just to shed a little light on your question, "why do foreigners care about who we elect?"...well, I spent two of the last three years living France as an American (not the best time to be there, you might think) and basically what non-Americans fail to understand is that for us, the US President is a domestic leader first and foremost. The truth is, and this is a reality for every country in the world, people think about themselves first, what's directly in front of them second, what's ten feet away third, etc. This will sound callous, but if you're unemployed or unhappy with your current domestic situation, why would you give a crap about what's going on in a place you've never been to or doensn't have a direct effect on you? That's the reality for everyone, regardless of nationality. It just so happens that what we do, or our government at least, has an effect on a lot of people outside of this country, and that's why they feel somewhat invested in our election.

Well, that's my two cents anyway.
 
I think Jessica misses the point here...I wasn't asking why foreigners care who I elect as my president...I was asking why I should care what they think!!!
 
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Not sure if I am THE ugly American, but I must be AN ugly American, because some Canadian told me so!!!

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20 year Navy vet, originally from NJ now living in Virginia Beach and yeah, Life Is Good!

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