There are people all around the globe who hate America. Although it has always been that way, anti-Americanism is increasingly gaining strength. In the not-too-distant past, anti-Americanism had only a couple schools of thought – the first resulting from our government’s policies and the second from our liberal popular culture and progressiveness. Now those people not only hate Americans for more than the aforementioned reasons, but they believe Americans are a force for evil in the world.
I theorize that it’s not just hate that drives these negative ideas, but also jealousy. American exceptionalism is certainly something to be jealous of, but Americans can’t let worldwide sentiment fog the delight that is this country.
On June 13, the Pew Research Center published an investigative study concerning opinions of the United States around the globe. The study mapped favorable opinions of the United States from the year 2000 to 2006. It found that in Great Britain, favorable opinion of the United States dropped 27 percent, 23 percent in France, 41 percent in Germany, 45 percent in Indonesia and 40 percent in Turkey – among many others.
This particular study didn’t reveal whether these opinions were targeting U.S. citizens or the U.S. government, but one published by the BBC makes it clear.
The BBC conducted a comprehensive poll asking questions about the United States around the world. BBC asked 11,000 people if “America is a force for good in the world.” Citizens of Korea, France, Indonesia, Brazil, Russia and Jordan overwhelmingly vetoed the idea. Even allies Canada, Australia and Great Britain hardly agreed with the statement. The only two countries to significantly agree were Israel and, of course, the United States.
A similar query asked whether American economic policy made the respondent’s country poorer. Accordingly, everyone except Great Britain and Israel concurred. A third set of questions asked which entity would be more dangerous: the United States or Iran, the United States or North Korea, the United States or Russia, the United States or China and the United States or al-Qaida?
The United States was thought to be more dangerous than all of them except al-Qaida.
But the real question is “Why?” Why do countries fear America? Why do they believe that this country’s economic abilities hinder theirs? Why do they believe Americans are arrogant? Why are people anti-American?
The answer to these questions is simple – American exceptionalism. American exceptionalism was born when this country was put on the map. It is the idea that America and its people hold a special place in the world – one that offers hope and opportunity to those who otherwise would perish. Even the concept of America is exceptional. It is a nation with economic freedom that rewards hard work and individualism, a nation that is free of socialism and communism. It is a nation that protects its citizens with a lawful and just constitution. Above all, it is a free nation.
Worldwide sentiment has many Americans doubting their country. They see the abovementioned polls and are shocked into dismay. However, there is one more significant poll that the BBC conducted. It asked the same America-condemning nations’ citizens if they would describe Americans as a free people. Seventy-three percent of the respondents answered yes.
No negative global opinion can overshadow unwavering freedom. What has driven this country forward in the past is the faith and humility of its citizens. The United States is the best country, and people are jealous of what they don’t have. These same people who bash this country wouldn’t waste a minute if they had the opportunity to work and live here.
Immigration is a problem because people all around the globe desire to achieve the “American dream.” Other nations may scowl and scorn from afar, but what matters most is that Americans continue to realize that dream.
Erik Raymond is a junior majoring in English and pre-law.