Something that Americans with interest in how the rest of the world thinks of them find themselves saying more and more as the country and its people manage to bother, annoy, and offend everyone else in bigger and bigger amounts.

Whether it's Congress saying "Screw a nuclear test ban, we want to nuke the world," loud American tourists disrupting foreign cities and culture, or the INS finding as many ways as possible to make it difficult for foreigners to get visas, and in the meantime ruining their lives and messing up the businesses that have hired them after the INS suggested that those people would actually be allowed to stay.

As an American, I do apologize on behalf of my country, as I wish it would act more like an adult than a hyperactive and selfish child. And sure, maybe there isn't anywhere that's better, but that doesn't mean it's good.

I cannot apologize for my country (of origin). Not because I agree with the social, political or economic policies and practices of the United States, but simply because:

I am not my country.

I do not represent my country.

I am not responsible (at least, not personally responsible) for all of the shit it inflicts upon the rest of the world.

Now I bet you're thinking, woah, hold on there, cowboy: of course you're part of the American system. You are an adult citizen. You have the right to vote.

This is true. But I don't.

Do you really think that simply by voting I am going to change minds, tear down walls, prevent the CIA from installing fascist dictators in countries on the brink of socialist revolution, feed the poor, and eliminate military build-up? Chemical warfare? Nuclear weapons?

I have no idea what someone whom I've helped elect is going to do "in my name." Am I supposed to trust these people to follow through on their platforms? How much do I or anyone but the intelligence agencies know about what nastiness America (and other nations too) gets into? How much control do I actually have over the political machine?

I stay as far out of the bloody mess as I can.

In fact, I don't even live in my country. I am immigrating to Canada this fall, as long as the Canadians agree to take me. I may have to rub the mark of Cain off my forehead first.

Please don't snub me because of where I was born. I really had no control over it.

Pointing fingers at me simply because of my nationality isn't going to shame the American government into behaving decently.

Coffy-

It's easy to claim smallness and lack of responsibility. It's also easy to take responsibility when the results are tangible and immediate. It takes courage and belief in abstracts to take responsibility when one's own individual efforts may never show direct results, but when only a mass of people behaving the same way will make a difference - and you don't know if they will, but you do so anyway.

You're welcome to emigrate to Canada; this is all about freedom, after all. But please, consider for a moment standing to fight the fight that America asks of you through its painful visage, even if from Canada. Fight to make this a country you don't feel you need to apologize for. Fight to make it a country that you feel proud to claim as your birthright.

Because if you don't, then perhaps no one will- and the venal fools who cause it to be viewed the way it is will be uncontestedly in charge - and the rest of us will be in Canada.

Please don't take this as censure, but as a plea.

hehe - er.. BBC news online, 5th September 2000:

... the North Korean delegation arrived at Frankfurt airport on their way to the Millenial peace summit in New York. They met with American airline officials, who consulted their guidelines and found North Korea to be a 'rogue state'. After the strict cavity search, the diplomats for some reason declined to continue on to the US.

Hopes of a settling of N. Korean / US relations have somewhat diminished. Strange though, there's no mention of the incident on CNN.

USA! USA! USA!

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