Salt Lake City, UT –
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With the war in Iraq it is painful to watch how much the world has gone from an outpouring of compassion and support after the tragedies of September 11th to the mistrust and outright hatred of anything American that I hear nightly. There is understandably natural who ranks somewhere between Hitler and John Gotti, to dominate us in p public relations is confusing at best.
Perhaps we need to examine our uniqueness not only in the world but also in history to understand how we can be so out of touch with world opinion and how the Middle East thinks.
Firstly, America has the only culture that does not have its roots based on a hierarchical society. Whether it's the royal families of Europe or the clerics and mullahs in the Middle East, the ability to adapt to changes and question the order of things does not come as naturally anywhere but here.
Secondly we don't appreciate how well our democracy actually works. Even with all our problems, it took revolution, evolution, civil war, civil rights, and continual sacrifice to create a society mature enough to handle self-governance. Most people in the world have never experienced freedom and its many responsibilities.
Additionally, we live in a country known as the United States of America. We function despite being the most racially, ethnically, and spiritually diverse nation in history. Thus it is difficult for us to see why seemingly single entity countries like Rwanda, Malaysia, Yugoslavia, or Afghanistan suffer such fragmentation and violence.
There are many other differences that separate us; our emphasis on the individual instead of the community. The way we treat our enemies once we have defeated them. Our desire to expand our customer base instead of our borders.
The fact that we are so ignorant of our obvious differences may seem naive to us, but it's suspicious and arrogant to the rest of the world.
It is time to put more of our resources to use to promote our ideas and hopes honestly and sincerely to the world not just commercially. After all, the people who can sell Big Macs in India, Pizza Hut in Rome, Budweiser to the Canadians and Baywatch in Germany surely can promote democracy and self-reliance to the world - in a way that respects individual peoples, cultures and heritage.