Trump and Other American Embarrassments

I can see why everyone thinks we’re stupid. In general, the international western community sees Americans as a bunch of people who just don’t quite get it. We can be obnoxious, we don’t quite know how to dress, our knowledge doesn’t include what has and is currently going on around the world, and we can only speak English. We’re uncultured, conservative and, frankly, ignorant.

We’re like the homeschool kids of the Western World. Europe is the public school.

It’s not our fault necessarily. We’re babies. Our country is only 240 years old. We live in The New World, fairly alone, on this huge mass of land an ocean away.

Right now I’m sitting beneath the Pantheon in Rome in a sea of sharp-looking multilinguals. Their history and architure dates back to the BC time. They have thousands of years to draw from. We get excited when we see an American structure dating back to the 1800s. Romans can point out their window and say, “Yeah, that was built in  120 AD.”

We’re new at this.

That’s OK. But the problem is that America is not humble. We think we know better than everyone. And all Europe does is laugh at us. Seriously, I’ve had many Europeans tell me that.

I was on a long bus ride with internationals and, related to our conversation, I made a joke about America. “Well, all the people in your countries just think Americans are stupid and crazy anyway.” I laughed in dead silence. A brave one looked carefully at me and nodded, “I’m sorry, we actually do,” he said. That sentiment was confirmed by the Frenchman and the Belge I hiked around with several weeks later.

And the worst thing: Almost every time I tell someone I’m from America they bring up Trump with a laugh and a snicker. They want to know how someone like him is even in the running to be in charge of our country. Honestly, I have the same question. But to them, it’s just another glaring example of America’s insanity, just another reason to keep us as their laughingstock.


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