Letters to the Editor

Americans shouldn’t be so arrogant

Re: “Jealousy fuels the fires inside those who hate America,” Erik Raymond, Aug. 30

As an American, I’m angered by Erik Raymond’s take on the world opinion of America. While pride in one’s country is important, Mr. Raymond doesn’t convince me that the world has an unjustified, childish position against American success.

In fact, his flat-out disregard of the significant events that shaped such opinions makes me wonder if some American attitudes don’t need adjusting.

Mr. Raymond doesn’t take into account that American prosperity isn’t the product of the last six years, the time over which the cited polls showed a decline of international opinion.

This nation has been economically successful over several decades now – through much of which America was held in high regard. But after Sept. 11, America’s actions have become increasingly controversial.

President Bush has named an “Axis of Evil,” invaded two countries and ignored the United Nations on several military and environmental issues. Regardless of whether you agree with Bush’s decisions, it’s understandable that affected nations will have their own opinions. To downplay these significant issues is a disservice to those nations and to Americans.

While I won’t speak for all Americans on the subject of arrogance, I’d say there’s certainly an arrogance Mr. Raymond carries in his column. Among America’s strengths, he cites freedom and economic prosperity, but even here he overlooks some significant realities. America’s freedoms – pioneering, significant and highly important -are now in place in a number of developed nations around the world, in no way unique to Americans. And economic prosperity is neither wholly exclusive to this country nor universal to all Americans.

There is, in fact, a large gap between rich and poor in this country that is widening all the time. While most places desire a certain standard of living and human rights, no nation is without its flaws.

None of this means I don’t love and value my country. But pride in a nation means committing to it through difficult times and strong ones, acknowledging the realities of its problems and place in the world, and fighting to make things better where they’re lacking.

Maybe if this is the face Americans show to the world, they won’t be accused of dangerous arrogance so often. That would certainly be better for globalization – because contrary to Mr. Raymond’s belief, America actually does need the rest of the planet in order to maintain this ever-beloved prosperity.

Kimberly DeCina is a junior majoring in social work.