Saturday, March 29, 2008

A Beacon of Hope?


One of my coworkers, Mary, has a daughter who is spending her junior year in college abroad. She is living with a family in France, and she has availed herself of the opportunity to travel as much as possible. She's been all over Europe, and recently traveled to Morocco.

Allison has had a wonderful time (even getting to appear in a music video in Amsterdam!), and we've all enjoyed hearing about her adventures in Europe and beyond. Mary was telling me about some of Ally's experiences the other day, especially her time in Morocco. What struck me the most was that Allison said that in talking with some of the shopkeepers and folks in the market, they all love Americans. They don't like our current president and they don't like our current foreign policy, but they asked Allison all kinds of questions about life in America and our politics. She told Mary that they love our freedoms, our abilities to be what we want to be, and the fact that we can get an advanced education.

I had recently heard on NPR that the rest of the world is watching this campaign and the upcoming presidential election with great interest. They said that most of the world considers America a "beacon of hope," and it seems that Allison's experiences abroad are similar.


The world is watching us, and they want us to be that beacon of hope. I know that many have maligned President Bush, and while there's no denying that he has been a big disappointment, he HAS made major commitments to disease prevention and treatment in Africa. (Ask Bob Geldof.)

Allison's experience, as well as the reports from world correspondents, is a reminder that the world still looks to us for help and hope. It seems to me that while we may have lowered the bar for ourselves for a while, the rest of the world has raised it again for us. Are we country enough to rise to the challenge?


queeniemart said...

i can not find one good thing to say about my current President.
Have you ever heard of Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio and their NPR radio station WYSO?  The college is going under and they want to save the NPR radio station. They want someone to pay $12.2 million for the radio and the college. I love Y. Springs....back in the day they'd call those who live there "hippies", very liberal.
I think it is GREAT that those foreigners that Allison has met do not hate America.
Hugs, lisa

cayasm said...

In Morrocco and Turkey, Tunsia those Countries are really under the heel of their governments have very little freedom especially women who have no say at all. American visitors are really good for the economy as they spend much more than the rest of us Europeans, and are more interested when they visit Europe.

In Britain, France, Spain we have much much more freedom to persue our dreams if you will, also in Britain we have been unhappy with our Government for the last eight years(Labour) however unlike you guys we don't even have the "Audacity of Hope", luckily George is only allowed to serve 2 terms in Britain our Priminister's can serve for as long as he or she is voted in I think the record has been 12 years so far.

Have a good Sunday


mpnaz58 said...

Interesting view of how the rest of the world sees us!  While I believe some parts of the international globe sees us as arrogant, power hungry, etc., I also believe many people believe in the American dream...not that its for everyone.  I also believe not everyone wants to come here!  
xoxo ~Myra