I'm finally ashamed to be an American

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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.

Comments (37) Add comment
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scgator
1042
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scgator 07/21/11 - 09:33 pm
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Sounds like you watch too

Sounds like you watch too much of the boob tube; I could care less who Charlie Sheen is or what he is doing....................

Taylor B
5
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Taylor B 07/21/11 - 09:51 pm
0
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At least we didnt invent

At least we didnt invent mimes.

nowhine
5373
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nowhine 07/21/11 - 09:56 pm
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0
Let me give something to

Let me give something to consider. Obama and his socialist foolishness

Piperpig
9
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Piperpig 07/21/11 - 10:01 pm
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The writer's obsession with

The writer's obsession with celebrities makes me ashamed ... for her.

broad street narrow mind
348
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broad street narrow mind 07/22/11 - 02:17 am
0
0
ashamed because j lo is
Unpublished

ashamed because j lo is getting divorced? is this divorce what we're supposed to be in the streets protesting or something else? i'll agree americans should stop watching tv and protest more. is that it? maybe this letter could be more speciific in the government part and less specific on the hollywood part.

allhans
24964
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allhans 07/22/11 - 12:12 pm
0
0
Is it possible that the

Is it possible that the French woman has seen a report on our educational system and that is why she said "stupid"? I sure wish she was right about all being rich (I think).
The writer might have asked the woman rather than writing a letter for all and sundry to read , leaving it open for interpretations that may or may not have an ounce of truth.
It makes one wonder just what stupid acts the French woman has been witnessing from Americans.

What a strange letter.

southernguy08
532
Points
southernguy08 07/22/11 - 05:54 am
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0
Hey Vickie, are these the
Unpublished

Hey Vickie, are these the same French who needed us to save their sorry butts twice in a century? Since you seem to admire them so and think they are so moral, how about former French president Mitterand's funeral a few years ago when his wife AND HIS MISTRESS showed up? Holding us up to the French for comparison? What...are you kidding? Yeah, I'm laughing. Riddle: How many Frenchmen does it take to defend Paris? Answer: Nobody knows, its never been tried. You guys want another? Okay, did you see the ad for a French army rifle for sale? Excellent condition, never been fired, and only dropped once. Oh, I am hot today!

Carleton Duvall
6308
Points
Carleton Duvall 07/22/11 - 06:18 am
0
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It is difficult to comment on

It is difficult to comment on this letter. There is not enough space allowed in the comment section to tell you why I am proud of America. With all of its faults America is the best country in the world. I cannot believe that any right thinking person would feel otherwise.

harley_52
26074
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harley_52 07/22/11 - 06:58 am
0
0
I understand her point,

I understand her point, though I certainly would have found another way to state it.

Personally, I am not ashamed of America. The United States of America is the greatest nation ever created. No nation has ever done more for world peace nor for world suffering than has the USA. We are the most compassionate, most generous, most dependable Country the world has ever seen. I have fought for our freedoms and our way of life and wouldn't even consider trading my American citizenship for any other.

Having said that, I will say that I am ashamed of many Americans and this, BTW, is what I think the writer really meant to say.

harley_52
26074
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harley_52 07/22/11 - 07:00 am
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0
Southernguy08....I was going

Southernguy08....I was going to use that French joke about the rifle, but I saw you beat me to the punch.

southernguy08
532
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southernguy08 07/22/11 - 07:08 am
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Sorry HARLEY, I just couldn't
Unpublished

Sorry HARLEY, I just couldn't resist.

swcohen
625
Points
swcohen 07/22/11 - 07:15 am
0
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We Americans have much to be

We Americans have much to be proud of. Even at its most disfunctional point (say, right about now,) our government works exponentially better that that no-headed, multi-tailed monster called the EU. Not to mention, we didn't marry our economy to perpetual debtor nations such as Italy, Portugal, Ireland, and Greece. (Seriously, WHAT were they thinking?)

Yes, we export our tawdry and vapid pop culture around the world, yes, folks in third-world backwaters who know nothing of life in the U.S. are familiar with J.Lo and Charlie Sheen... But seriously, so what? All around the world, people wear our jeans and drink our soda pop. You can eat at McDonalds or KFC in places it'd take you a month to get to, upriver by dugout canoe. American culture is what the whole world wants, warts and all.

We do more things right on a bad day than other nations do in their entire histories.

Next time an assertive Frenchwoman says that we Americans are stupid,
you can reply "Où est le drapeau tricolore sur la lune?" (Where on the moon is the French flag?)

billyjones1949
1
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billyjones1949 07/22/11 - 07:33 am
0
0
I will take the United States

I will take the United States any day with all its wrongs and all its rights. Always be proud to be Americn.

mtxbass1
0
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mtxbass1 07/22/11 - 07:34 am
0
0
Wow. I fully expected this

Wow. I fully expected this to be a letter about our clowns in the government on both sides of the isle and yet I was blindsided by the mention of "celebrities". Celebrities hardly represent the American people.

I agree with piper on this one. I'm ashamed for this woman and her obsession with celebrities lives.

Craig Spinks
818
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Craig Spinks 07/22/11 - 07:36 am
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Victoria, "Disappointed"

Victoria,

"Disappointed" rather than "ashamed."

Iwannakno
1533
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Iwannakno 07/22/11 - 08:02 am
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So if the French know so much
Unpublished

So if the French know so much about our celebrities wouldn't that mean they watch to much TV also? This country is the greatest on the face of the planet. We try to do the right thing although we may fail sometimes. Who gives billions when natural disasters strike other countries? France? Germany? No it's us...always!! I didn't see other countries rushing to give us billions during 911...or Katrina...or any other disaster. Maybe, since we are so shameful, we should show just how arrogant we can be and never bail France out again...ever!

allhans
24964
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allhans 07/22/11 - 08:27 am
0
0
From the letter it appears

From the letter it appears that the French woman said nothing about celebrities, she said "Americans are very, very rich, but they are very, very stupid.". It could be that the group the writer was with wasn't behaving to the Frenchwoman's standards.
The remarks about celebrities is the writers opinion on why Americans are called stupid. She should have asked, she might have a better understanding of why the woman had reached that conclusion.

I am NOT defending the French, I simply see no connection with the French woman to celebrities other than the opinions of the writer.

lsmith
105
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lsmith 07/22/11 - 08:35 am
0
0
I agree with much of this
Unpublished

I agree with much of this letter. Ashamed is probably an extreme exression but I can understand how she got to that conclusion. Ashamed, disappointed both describe a view few Americans would have abscribed to a decade or two ago.

For all the good this country has manifested during it's short life, we are racing down a road of moral, social, ethical and cultural decay of unprecidented proportions. Suffice it to say this is no longer the land our forefathers envisioned. If they're watching over us today, I can assure you they too are not proud of what they see. Those great visionaries that constructed our constitution would probably love to have another crack at it. They had no idea of the incorrigible nature of many who would become attracted to our shores. The last three generations has taken a real toll on the fabric of America.
Victoria, I'm not gonna hassle you about your use of the world "ashamed" I can surely see how you got where you are. It's good to see you care enough to at least put a pencil to paper and publicly take a stand. If more people would call out the creepy crawlers and aberrant behavior maybe things could get better eventually.

BanjoStang
32
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BanjoStang 07/22/11 - 08:48 am
0
0
I'm ashamed of the Augusta

I'm ashamed of the Augusta Chronicle for printing this drivel. Sensationalism will not increase your circulation in the long run; quality articles and commentary will.

Chillen
17
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Chillen 07/22/11 - 09:18 am
0
0
American to Frenchman: "Do

American to Frenchman: "Do you speak German?"
Frenchman: "No."
American: "You're Welcome!"

RunningMan
346
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RunningMan 07/22/11 - 09:19 am
0
0
There are times when I am

There are times when I am also ashamed and embarrassed at the conduct of some Americans; however, I am not ashamed to be an American. At some point, we must realize that to continue being a great nation, we must learn to police each other.

Iwannakno
1533
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Iwannakno 07/22/11 - 09:32 am
0
0
Q: What's the motto of the US
Unpublished

Q: What's the motto of the US Marine Corps?
A: Semper Fi (Always Faithful)
Q: What's the motto of the French Army?
A: Stop, drop, and run!

Iwannakno
1533
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Iwannakno 07/22/11 - 09:33 am
0
0
Q: What’s the new French flag
Unpublished

Q: What’s the new French flag look like? A: A white cross emblazoned on a white background

Iwannakno
1533
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Iwannakno 07/22/11 - 09:34 am
0
0
Why don't the French really
Unpublished

Why don't the French really want the US to attack Iraq?Don't want their record for surrender broken.

Iwannakno
1533
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Iwannakno 07/22/11 - 09:35 am
0
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Q: Why did the Statue of
Unpublished

Q: Why did the Statue of Liberty take karate?
A: She wanted to be the first French person to be able to defend
herself!

Iwannakno
1533
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Iwannakno 07/22/11 - 09:35 am
0
0
Ok I'm done!!
Unpublished

Ok I'm done!!

edubb
10
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edubb 07/22/11 - 09:37 am
0
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Im always proud to be an

Im always proud to be an American. If we would really try to live up to what the founding fathers spoke about we would be an even better nation.

wordwright
134
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wordwright 07/22/11 - 10:05 am
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0
I would bet that most of the

I would bet that most of the people who are commenting here have never set foot on French soil. I was lucky enough to be in Paris for 6 weeks. While I was there, I spent lots of time apologizing for "ugly Americans." We expect foreigners to conform to our expectations of behavior when they are here, but when we go to abroad, many of us refuse to observe their rules of appropriate behavior. I heard an American asking a French salesperson, "Well, we don't do this in America? Why don't you do things like we do in America?" Why should they? They are not American. I cannot remember the specific thing she wanted the salesperson to do, but that is not important. What was important was the American's response. If everyone were just like America, the world would be a boring place--not that America is boring, but that countries would lose those qualities that make them unique.

We Americans get many things right, but we are getting more things wrong lately. If you still think American is the best, you need to really investigate what's going on in government to save us while you can. I do my part--I vote and write my representatives. I don't have lots of money, so that's about all a normal person can do. But, many normal people don't even do that.

Everyone told me before I went to France that the French would treat me badly. However, I was treated with much more respect by them than I am by most Americans. Foreigners are curious about America and Americans. I had many wonderful conversations with the French man or woman on the street. Many of them went far out of their way to help me navigate in Paris and figure out the wonderful train system they have in Europe. They were so proud of their beautiful city that they wanted to show it off to an American.

I agree with many of the comments that have to do with our moral decline. This decline is evident in our celebrities, government officials, and the man or woman on the street.

I was reading an article yesterday about the Koch brothers and other Big Corporate (ALEC, I think is the group) paying major bucks to sit down with our legislators to craft legislation--why are corporations crafting legislation? Our government is for sale to the highest bidder, which obviously tells you where the little guy stands. If low- to middle-class Republicans think the Republican party represents their interests, they have been sold a bill of goods.

I want a disinterested politician who will look at corporate vs. the little guy and make a fair decision for both. Fair decisions cannot be made while money is funneled to politicians by Big Oil, Big Pharma, or Big Anything. Maybe we could form a PAC for the little guy that was similar to what Daniel O'Connell did for the Irish--everyone contributes just a little money, but by sticking together, we could be larger than the corporations, who, by the way, have taken our jobs overseas.

Young economists are now taught in universities that manufacturing cannot be done in American anymore--I just had a long discussion with a young economist a few days ago. With that philosophy, the coming generation will not even consider bringing manufacturing to America. The middle class who normally hold those types of jobs will continue the downward slide to lower class, while countries like China will continue to grow a burgeoning middle class. Does anyone see any correlation? America--declining manufacturing/declining middle class. China--growing manufacturing/growing middle class.

What I get from this person's post is frustration. I understand the frustration. America should be the best, and it hurts when you hear comments from people of other countries that you know are true.

When people don't have anything intelligent to say, they make jokes. I noticed that I didn't see any jokes about French healthcare, which happens to be rated first in the world.

wondersnevercease
9218
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wondersnevercease 07/22/11 - 10:13 am
0
0
I have traveled this world
Unpublished

I have traveled this world more than once...there are "Ugly" people of ALL nations everywhere....................I need no one to apologize for me.

wordwright
134
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wordwright 07/22/11 - 10:19 am
0
0
True, wondersnevercease,

True, wondersnevercease, there are ugly people everywhere--I just seemed to run into far more Americans behaving badly than any other nationality. If you are as widely traveled as you claim, then no one should have to apologize for you, and I'm not sure why, of all the comments I made, that you were set off by that one.

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