Tuesday 24 September 2002

''Honk if you hate America''

Can you hear it? Pretty deafening, isn't it? Since September 11, "why do they hate us" has been a frequently asked question. This question usually presupposes that "they" means Arabs or other Islamic people.

Here's a newsflash - lots of the world has hated America for decades. Even in my home in Canada, where you can't get much closer to America without actually being American, there is a sizable population that at least dislikes America. We like to posture that we are somehow better people than Americans while Americans know very well they are better than everybody.

That's where the problem begins. Americans really do believe their country is better than anything else; that America is entitled to as much of the resources and riches of the planet as it wants and it doesn't matter whomever else might have to suffer or go short; that all other nations are enemies if they don't march to the American drum in virtually any arena you might care to mention; that it has the right, indeed the obligation, to enforce its will wherever it sees fit by whatever means it wants; that it has the right to invade sovereign nations as a way of deflecting attention from some domestic political scandal or if there is some neat new weapon that really needs a good field testing; that killing of foreign civilians doesn't really count because they're always in season and there's no quota; that somehow a bullet-ridden and trigger-happy American society is in every way superior to any other place on earth.

Astonishingly, Americans seem to have a hard time grasping that some folks might just be a little annoyed about all that.

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