During my first European tour as part of my graduate work, my friends and I were waiting at Orly Airport in Paris to board our plane. A French woman whose English was excellent said loudly enough for us to hear, "Americans are very, very rich, but they are very, very stupid."
I was outraged and appalled. However, I have learned several lessons in the years since my first trip to Europe. Any American criticism of French rudeness is hypocritical. Americans far surpass the French and many other nations in their lack of manners and civility.
And I agree with the French woman that Americans are very, very stupid. Why?
Look at what has happened in the Hollywood establishment. Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony are divorcing. Charlie Sheen could be back on a television series. Sheen, Ms. Lopez and her soon-to-be ex-husband are the basis for the perception of what Americans are all about for many people in other countries.
Charlie Sheen's behavior is unconscionable. Neither he nor Ms. Lopez and Mr. Anthony nor many others in the entertainment industry can hold a relationship together. Behave appropriately with good taste, ethically and morally, or respect the fans who gave them fortune and fame. These kinds of behaviors are the norm in the Hollywood establishment. What arrogance!
What is more appalling is the passive indifference and stupidity of the American people who put up with this kind of behavior without protest -- especially when their children often look up to these people as role models. Even those youngsters who do not see these celebrities as role models think that, because the celebrities get away with the behaviors, so can they.
And Americans have put up with the corruption of the government for years. Watch what happens in France when the government does what the people dislike. The French are out in the streets protesting.
Do Americans care so little? Or do they not understand what is at risk -- not only their lives and freedoms, but the lives and freedoms of their children and grandchildren?
For the first time in my life, I am ashamed to be an American. For those of you who would say "love it or leave it," you might consider leaving the country since so many of you are sitting on your behinds not doing anything about the country's problems except complaining. You have your heads in the sand and refuse to believe that there are solutions for the problems in our country.
Americans need to get to work, make the government responsible and get the job done! Do the right thing.