Lesson from An Old Woman

by Hardly Waite


In the days just after the 9/11 events, when the President avowed that he had not a clue about “why they hate us,” I heard an old British woman, now a U.S. citizen, address the issue on an NPR call-in show.

She had a simple explanation.   “What Americans don’t understand,” she said, ” is how it sounds to the rest of the world when they brag constantly.  That’s the main thing that other nations notice about Americans. That they brag all the time.  What Americans need to do is stop bragging so much.”

After hearing her, I started to listen. I urge you to listen, too.  Try to imagine what it must sound like to our friends and foes alike to hear our current stable of arrogant politicians spewing constantly about how wonderful and superior America is and how terribly inadequate, weak,  and “evil” is the rest of the world by comparison.

And what’s really sad is that what most often passes for “patriotism” is nothing more than tasteless and unfounded boasting.