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Appreciation for American Culture

 
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What do I most like about America? Well, there are a lot of things. Having come from a country where
corruption and bureaucracy make a common man's life miserable, I appreciate the efficiency and the
service oriented working of the government here(I am not referring to the politicians. I am only
talking about the lower echelons of the government who serve the public). If you were born here, you
might be taking this for granted, but believe me when I tell you that I find it very impressive.
I like the way youngsters work for their tuition fees. My tuition fees were paid by my mother, and I
was very irresponsible at college. Only when you pay for it from your pocket, do you understand how
valuable it is.
I like the civic sense of the general population. When I first came to the US, I was living in Denver,CO.
The summer that year was really hot, and Public Service company of Colorado had to issue a warning
about rolling blackouts, if consumption did not go down. The response from the public was something
that I never expected. The very next day, consumption fell by a large extent. People cut back on the
use of electricty.
I like the way the government is made accountable to the public, because it spends the 'tax payers'
money'.
When I first came to the US, there was some activity in the senate, to pass a bill that bans the
burning of National flag in public. I remember this letter in the newspaper, which said "when I am
asked why I do not burn my flag, I like to answer because I love my country, and not because it's
illegal in my country". That letter opened new doors of thought for me, because in my country, it IS
illegal to burn the flag in public and I never had the idea of questioning it. Perhaps, this is
single most important thing that I learnt here - not to accept any thing without questioning.
There are a lot other things I like about America and some things that I do not like. I like the
way America calls herself 'America'. I like the interstate freeways. I like the wealth that's
created here. I like this country since it's been my home for the past three years.
 
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It has been MY home for the past 15 1/2 years and my country since last July. I love so much about my new country, there is no words to describe the feeling. I work for what I own without having to resort to bribery. I can go anywhere I wish and say anything I please without being afaid to be thrown in prison. I can be who I am without being judged and feeling like an outsider. I'm awed by people's sense of duty and obligation to their communities. I donate to charities, to conservation organizations, and my other favorite causes. I volunteer my time for the same. Nobody thinks that I'm an idiot for doing so. I have many friends. But no one pokes their noses into my business or believes that my life should be an open book to them. I love riding my bicycle to the country and smell the fresh air and picking the wild flowers along the way. I love walking down the sidewalk, looking a passer-by in the eye, smile, and say "Hi" (I'm in the Midwest, what do you expect?). I never felt free until I came to America.
I hate to see some people bad-mouth this country and still choose to live here. As for me? I love my life in America and I haven't regretted the decision to stay for a single second. Thank you, America, from the bottom of my heart, for giving me a new life.
 
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Thanks for reminding me why I love the USA!
 
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Originally posted by Ling Wu:
I never felt free until I came to America.


How do you define freedom. Being able to do what you want to? Suppose someone wants to poop in the swimming pool, should you let him? Can we ever be truly free ?

"Bin gar keine Russin, stamm aus Litauen, echt Deutsch.
And when we were children, staying at the archduke's,
My cousin's, he took me out on a sled,
And I was frightened. He said, Marie,
Marie, hold on tight. And down we went.
In the mountains, there you feel free.
I read, much of the night, and go south in the winter."
She feels free in the mountains, you feel free in America. Freedom is a subjective thing.
According to Johnson Chong, freedom is the absence of suffering. Desire (carnal or otherwise) is the source of all suffering. Hence the absence of desire is freedom.


Cheers
Sahir


[This message has been edited by Sahir Shibley (edited May 05, 2001).]
 
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Beats me why you have to be Anonymous, to say something nice!
 
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Originally posted by Sahir Shibley:
How do you define freedom. Being able to do what you want to? Suppose someone wants to poop in the swimming pool, should you let him? Can we ever be truly free ? [This message has been edited by Sahir Shibley (edited May 05, 2001).]


Freedom comes with great responsibility. That responsibility is not to tread on the freedom of others.
Matthew Phillips
 
Ling Wu
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Originally posted by Sahir Shibley:
How do you define freedom. Being able to do what you want to? Suppose someone wants to poop in the swimming pool, should you let him? Can we ever be truly free ?

She feels free in the mountains, you feel free in America. Freedom is a subjective thing.


When you haven't got a whole lot of freedom, when you feel that your body and mind (especially mind) don't belong to you, you will know what I mean by being free.
It may be true that someone can feel free in the mountains. And I agree that freedom is a subjective thing in certain sense. But if I had no freedom to live wherever I choose, how would I ever get to the mountains? Of course, once you have achieved that bottom line, you have the luxury to conduct more sophisticated conversations about subjective and true freedom. Keep in mind that there are still millions out there who have not yet been able to enjoy the very basic freedom that every human being is entitled to.



 
Sahir Shibley
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I presume you are referring to the PRC. I met a chinese developer at a java user group meeting recently.
During the course of the conversation he said "I wish I could have a boy and a girl like you. If I have a second child I will go to prison". I was a bit taken aback. Then he explained the reason for such a rule. It made sense to me. Dire situations need dire remedies. Then I asked him if he ever felt he wasnt free in the PRC. He said "No. The educated rich sometimes feel slightly claustrophobic. But the working classes are happy and they are looked after by the state. If at all I feel deprived of some freedom I think of it as a sacrifice I make for the greater good of the country."

This is where the analogy with the man who desperately wants to poop in the swimming pool kicks in. If he thinks of the people in the pool he will restrain himself.

Ling Wu. Do not misunderstand me. I am not spouting communist doctrine here. Though I used to be a member of the party's student wing, I have revised my views. Not because I disapprove of their methods but purely on ideological grounds. I am finally convinced that a laissez-faire economic policy (tempered with the attributes of a welfare state) makes more sense.
Cheers
Sahir


[This message has been edited by Sahir Shibley (edited May 07, 2001).]
 
Thomas Paul
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According to Johnson Chong, freedom is the absence of suffering. Desire (carnal or otherwise) is the source of all suffering.

So if political prisoners in Chinese prisons would abandon all their desires then the daily beatings wouldn't be suffering? So abandon all those desires like the desire to provide food for your children and you too can be as happy as Johnson Chong. Johnson Chong is proof that people will believe any stupid thing you say if you make it sound profound.
 
Thomas Paul
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I presume you are referring to the PRC. I met a chinese developer at a java user group meeting recently.
During the course of the conversation he said "I wish I could have a boy and a girl like you. If I have a second child I will go to prison". I was a bit taken aback. Then he explained the reason for such a rule. It made sense to me. Dire situations need dire remedies. Then I asked him if he ever felt he wasnt free in the PRC. He said "No. The educated rich sometimes feel slightly claustrophobic. But the working classes are happy and they are looked after by the state. If at all I feel deprived of some freedom I think of it as a sacrifice I make for the greater good of the country."

Oh what a brave new world is this. As long as the alphas are doing well and we keep the epsilons happy all is well.
The question to ask is who exactly is "the greater good" and why does it always seem to be the rulers of the country and not the citizens?
 
Thomas Paul
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How do you define freedom. Being able to do what you want to? Suppose someone wants to poop in the swimming pool, should you let him? Can we ever be truly free ?

As long as it's his own swimming pool, yes. You are free to do what you want with what you own.
A community pool is a different story. You have voted for elected officials to create the rules for using the pool. If you don't like the rules then you can get your fellow citizens to elect the pro-poop candidates. Strangely enough, you won't end up in a political prison or even banned from the pool because you fought to change the rules.
That is what freedom is about. You have the freedom to protest those things you disagree with, the freedom to work to have them changed, the freedom to elect officials who agree with you, the freedom to appeal to officials to hear your complaints.
 
Ling Wu
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Originally posted by Sahir Shibley:
I presume you are referring to the PRC. I met a chinese developer at a java user group meeting recently.
During the course of the conversation he said "I wish I could have a boy and a girl like you. If I have a second child I will go to prison". I was a bit taken aback. Then he explained the reason for such a rule. It made sense to me. Dire situations need dire remedies. Then I asked him if he ever felt he wasnt free in the PRC. He said "No. The educated rich sometimes feel slightly claustrophobic. But the working classes are happy and they are looked after by the state. If at all I feel deprived of some freedom I think of it as a sacrifice I make for the greater good of the country."


Yes, I was from PRC (mainland China). No, I never said that everybody living there was craving for the same kind of freedom that I was. The reply you quoted from your friend sounds to me more like something that we were taught to say in school, whether you believe it or not, although I would have to say that I'm sure some people did believe it (I did when I was young). Being happy for being looked after by the State is exactly what I meant by body and mind being owned by the government (although I sure didn't mind the State picking up my medical bills). Sure, not everybody will feel suffocated by that. Frankly, if I had chosen to go back, I would have been a lot wealthier than I am now. I would have the freedom of buying anything that I desire and have plenty of my affairs taken care of by the State. If that is the kind of freedom that one is seeking. But I'm sure you are clear by now that this is not what I was looking for.

Ling Wu. Do not misunderstand me. I am not spouting communist doctrine here. Though I used to be a member of the party's student wing, I have revised my views. Not because I disapprove of their methods but purely on ideological grounds. I am finally convinced that a laissez-faire economic policy (tempered with the attributes of a welfare state) makes more sense.


No, I would never accuse you of spouting communit doctrine. Even you were, this is a FREE COUNTRY! Isn't that great?

[This message has been edited by Ling Wu (edited May 07, 2001).]
 
Sahir Shibley
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Thank you Ling Wu. That sounds much better. I live in an asian country that is geographically quite close to China and we have a sizeable chinese community here. Some of my friends also travel frequently to China on business. The picture of China we get here contrasts sharply with the "monster regime" portrayed by the media. Maybe, they persecute intellectuals like writers , artists etc. who speak out against the regime. Not by the wildest stretch of imagination can you call a programmer an intellectual. Maybe Delphi developers but definitely not java developers .
Thomas,
Re:


So if political prisoners in Chinese prisons would abandon all their desires then the daily beatings wouldn't be suffering? So abandon all those desires like the desire to provide food for your children and you too can be as happy as Johnson Chong. Johnson Chong is proof that people will believe any stupid thing you say if you make it sound profound.


Johnson Chong's theory about the correlation between desire and suffering isnt very original. Unknown to the Master someone named Gautama Buddha beat him to it about 2700 years ago. He even started a religion called Buddhism. It has a lot of followers in Japan , India , Srilanka , Thailand etc.
The "Four Noble Truths" which form the foundation of all Buddhist belief are
<pre>
1.) All human life is suffering.
2.) All suffering is caused by human desire, particularly
the desire that impermanent things be permanent.
3.) Human suffering can be ended by ending human desire.
4.) Desire can be ended by following the "Eightfold Noble
Path": right understanding, right thought,
right speech, right action, right livelihood,
right effort, right mindfulness,
and right concentration.
</pre></pre>
See the similarity ? I dont think Johnson Chong is all he is made out to be. I think the man is a blatant plagiarist.

Cheers
Sahir


[This message has been edited by Sahir Shibley (edited May 08, 2001).]
 
Ling Wu
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Originally posted by Sahir Shibley:
Thank you Ling Wu. That sounds much better. I live in an asian country that is geographically quite close to China and we have a sizeable chinese community here. Some of my friends also travel frequently to China on business. The picture of China we get here contrasts sharply with the "monster regime" portrayed by the media. Maybe, they persecute intellectuals like writers , artists etc. who speak out against the regime. Not by the wildest stretch of imagination can you call a programmer an intellectual. Maybe Delphi developers but definitely not java developers


I thought you were in UAE. Isn't that in the Middle East? Anyhow, I can understand both sides of the fence, with one portraying China as "monster regime" and the other contrasting that image. Well, the media does tend to blow things out of proportion. People do get thrown in jail there. But only if you are caught organizing an event/movement, openly or underground, against the goverment. You don't get thrown in jail simply by complaining about the government with your friends or family. A lot of that stuff is not nearly as blantant today as it was before. For someone who is not too opinionated, does not mind to be fed the Party lines, and considers material well-being is above other kinds of freedom, sure, he/she can live pretty comfortably there these days. Just make sure you don't get involved in anything political, and try to keep your mouth shut, and repeat Party lines when they are called for, you'll probably be OK.
 
Thomas Paul
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Originally posted by Ling Wu:
People do get thrown in jail there. But only if you are caught organizing an event/movement, openly or underground, against the goverment. You don't get thrown in jail simply by complaining about the government with your friends or family.

You also get thrown in jail for practicing your religion if it isn't an approved religion. Catholic bishops are routinely arrested and beaten. American citizens who were born in China are often arrested in China because of things they have written in American newspaers. China is a monster regime. They routinely violate the rights of their citizens and foreign citizens. They sell missiles to criminal states without concern for how those missiles will be used. China is a blight and the world will not be safe until China destroys the current dictatorship and achieves democracy.
 
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Originally posted by Thomas Paul:
A community pool is a different story. You have voted for elected officials to create the rules for using the pool. If you don't like the rules then you can get your fellow citizens to elect the pro-poop candidates. Strangely enough, you won't end up in a political prison or even banned from the pool because you fought to change the rules.


Why don't they ever list how the candidates stand on this issue? They need another column on the candidate comparisons to divide the pro-poops from the anti-poops. And is George Bush pro-poop or just plain poop?

[This message has been edited by David Junta (edited May 08, 2001).]
 
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Thanks for the post, anonymous person. It is quite nice to see a positive example posted rather than the typical biting post. Sahir, Chong's wisdom, whle appealing in many ways, is also distressing. Certainly life contains suffering, we can all attest to that. But that does not mean we have to accept all suffering. Striving to change things toward a better world seems to be a very noble and worthy way to live--and if I'm going to be suffering anyhow, why not suffer nobly? Were I to merely accept that a govt.'s terrorist acts against its people was a natural evolution of a perpetual human cycle, I may never push that cycle towards less suffering.
OP
 
Ling Wu
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Originally posted by Thomas Paul:
You also get thrown in jail for practicing your religion if it isn't an approved religion.


If you are talking about Fa Lung Gong (sp.?), I heard a lot of talks from ordinary people while visiting in China that it distroyed lives and marriages (as a cult would do to its followers) These were conversations I had with close friends during behind door conversations. And the cases were about their friends and co-workers. So they are not government officially published version of the truth.
On one hand, I'm not disputing the fact that Chinese government is oppressive. But in this particular case (Fa Lung Gong), I would interpret what I hear from outside of China with a grain of salt.

China is a monster regime. They routinely violate the rights of their citizens and foreign citizens. They sell missiles to criminal states without concern for how those missiles will be used.


1) It is not China, but its current government, that is a monster regime. If and when the regime is gone, China will still be standing.
2) Some democratic governments, including American government, have also been known to sell weapons (and providing other forms of support) to criminal states, although at the time of the sales these states might have been considered useful. That is just what the governments do.

China is a blight and the world will not be safe until China destroys the current dictatorship and achieves democracy.


I don't disagree with you on this. But many people with this view are also strongly against trade with China. The demand for democracy are largely influenced by ourside/Western world, which became available to the Chinese population when Nixon pried open the door in 1972. Isolating China will only afford more power to the Communist government, thus less safety to the world.
[This message has been edited by Ling Wu (edited May 08, 2001).]
 
Thomas Paul
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Originally posted by Ling Wu:
If you are talking about Fa Lung Gong (sp.?), I heard a lot of talks from ordinary people while visiting in China that it distroyed lives and marriages (as a cult would do to its followers).


Actually I was talking about that other cult, Roman Catholics.
http://detnews.com/1999/religion/9911/02/11030006.htm

"China frequently imprisons priests and worshippers who remain loyal to the Vatican and refuse to participate in the state-approved church, set up in the 1950s. Beijing has stepped up efforts to crush dissent in recent months. The recent wave of religious arrests shows that widespread persecution continues to worsen, said Joseph Kung, president of the Cardinal Kung foundation. "

http://www.petersvoice.org/chinarrest.htm
http://www.petersvoice.org/chinarrest2.htm
http://www.petersvoice.org/chinarrest3.htm

[This message has been edited by Thomas Paul (edited May 08, 2001).]
 
Thomas Paul
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1) It is not China, but its current government, that is a monster regime. If and when the regime is gone, China will still be standing.
2) Some democratic governments, including American government, have also been known to sell weapons (and providing other forms of support) to criminal states, although at the time of the sales these states might have been considered useful. That is just what the governments do.


1) No country is evil in itself. It is evil because of the government that runs it.
2) America does not have a history of selling missiles with strategic range to terrorist nations. It also does not sell submarines to terrorist nations. China does both.
 
Anonymous
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So, ultimately it boils down to a game of holier-than-thou. And I guess no country beats America in that game.
 
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THis thread had good beginning
 
Sahir Shibley
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RE :


THis thread had good beginning


Dont expect everyone to go around waving the flag and saying "I love America". Dont assume that everyone (who posts messages in this forum) lives in America. I dont know about the other guys. For me America is just another country . So is Guatemala , Thailand , Japan , Russia , Peru, Ghana, China etc etc. Apart from a couple of holidays there as child I have never ever set foot on your soil. So why should I go around waving your flag and not the Brazilian flag or the Mexican flag. As Rahul would say "the reasonable man would expect Sahir to go around waving his country's flag"
If you guys can criticise other countries, people from other countries also have the freedom to criticise your country. Or you could say "Not in this forum, you dont, because the guy who runs this website is an American". But that sounds rather childish.
Just in case you are interested I have never ever posted any anti-american message here. I am not sure if defending china can be counted as being anti-american.
Thomas,
The chinese SCJD (who now lives in Dubai. UAE) I was referring to earlier is a Roman Catholic. He goes to church every Sunday just like every other Roman Catholic in China. The crackdown that you read about is on the illegal underground churches that are formed with a political motive. Any good Roman Catholic should be ashamed of these men who would use religion as a vehicle to achieve their political objectives.
OP,
All that stuff about Johnson Chong's philosophy is supposed to be a joke.

[This message has been edited by Sahir Shibley (edited May 09, 2001).]
 
Ling Wu
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Originally posted by Sahir Shibley:
RE : THis thread had good beginning

Dont expect everyone to go around waving the flag and saying "I love America".


Sorry if my posts started to get a bit argumentative. The bottom line is: I do love America, which is MY country now. And I also don't think going around and calling an entire country evil is being fair. Governments do things out of political motives. Just because one government is leading a democratic system and another isn't, doesn't mean the former is pure and clean. However, people are all the same no matter where they happen to live. Majority of them are peace-loving and work hard to make a better future for their children. We can't always choose where we live and what upbringing we have. But living under a dictatorship does not make one evil by associaion.

[This message has been edited by Ling Wu (edited May 09, 2001).]
 
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RE Good beginning ...
Map, this is typical guy talk - competitive, hostile and assertive. Ask any reasonable psychologist
Map I share your dismay
I was particularly amazed by the instance where the public voluntarily reduced the electricity consumption merely on an appeal by the Govt. Is that real ? Utopia? I am just trying to imagine the same situation in India. The Govt, or anybody can cry hoarse (as it regularly does through all news media) to reduce power/water consumption, but does anybody care a damn. I suppose it is unfair to compare because extreme poverty/scarcity generates an extreme attitude of self-survival - others be damned. In the upper classes it is self-enrichment - others be damned.
Flag-waving or not there can be no debate that today the US Empire is dominant, the US Civilization is most advanced. The generation of wealth and the protection of freedoms is an example which other countries have to emulate. The Indian democracy has borrowed so many ideas from the American. And the American culture spreads everywhere (including McD outlets ). I have never ceased to be amazed and mesmerized by this great country. I hasten to add patriotically that I am not deprecating the greatness of India.
And while China does not generate the same friendly image in my mind, I do admire its amazing achievements. At least in one area- viz. population I even admire its compulsory controls, and secretly hope that India could take such decisive action. Its economy has grown at a stupendous rate - much faster than the Indian economy. Today Chinese goods threaten to flood the Indian market wiping out the local industry. It is even threatening India's USP viz. IT. But I think it would shake of its dark and forbidding image when it adopts democracy. I think democracy is the only noble/moral form of govt. I think the movement to democracy is inevitable.
A "reasonable man" would now expect Sahir to respond with some juicy stuff
[This message has been edited by Rahul Rathore (edited May 09, 2001).]
 
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I would just like to say that in response to the Anonymous starter of this thread and Ling Wu I also experience the joy you both have in the place you live. I have grown up in Australia and marvelled in its truly democratic, mulitcultural society. I am very excited about making my first trip overseas next week to the US (WWDC San Jose).
I also look foward to finding other countries in the world where they too have mutual respect for one another, improving the world we live in.
Peace
James
 
Thomas Paul
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Originally posted by Sahir Shibley:


Thomas,
The chinese SCJD (who now lives in Dubai. UAE) I was referring to earlier is a Roman Catholic. He goes to church every Sunday just like every other Roman Catholic in China. The crackdown that you read about is on the illegal underground churches that are formed with a political motive. Any good Roman Catholic should be ashamed of these men who would use religion as a vehicle to achieve their political objectives.

Which shows how easily fools accept lies from their government. The people being arrested are refusing to bend over to the Chinese government who refuses to allow any religious belief that they do not control. But I ask you this, what is wrong with having a religion that demands the rights of the people? What is wrong with a religion that has "political motives"? I couldn't imagine a religion worth practicing that didn't have political motives!!!

 
Thomas Paul
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Originally posted by steven chang:
So, ultimately it boils down to a game of holier-than-thou. And I guess no country beats America in that game.


If you mean that a democracy answerable to the people is better than a communist dictatorship answerable to no one then yes, America is holier than China.
 
Ling Wu
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Originally posted by Thomas Paul:
If you mean that a democracy answerable to the people is better than a communist dictatorship answerable to no one then yes, America is holier than China.


OK, I'll agree that American government is holier than Chinese government. But the two coutries are equal in my eyes. China was called China before Communists took over. It has been called China for eons. It is comprised of millioins of people and beautiful landscapes, just like the U.S. So, no, no country should be holier than any other on this planet, for the same reason America is no holier than Isreal, or Palestine, or Serbia, or Russia, although their governments may be less holy at the moment.
[This message has been edited by Ling Wu (edited May 09, 2001).]
 
Rahul Rathore
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Originally posted by Thomas Paul:

What is wrong with a religion that has "political motives"? I couldn't imagine a religion worth practicing that didn't have political motives!!!


I think what you mean is only that religion may espouse human rights and human values, even though that may bring it in conflict with the political rulers. I agree.
Otherwise (out of context) I think the above statement is dangerous and objectionable. I think a religion seeking political power, or a political regime based on religion, is antithetical to democracy. But I don't think that the catholics were trying to do that.

[This message has been edited by Rahul Rathore (edited May 09, 2001).]
 
octavyn pittman
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Any good Roman Catholic should be ashamed of these men who would use religion as a vehicle to achieve their political objectives.


Call me crazy, but I don't think you have adequately established yourself as a bastion of Roman Catholic theology to convince me that you can say what RC's should be ashamed of. Religion's positive effects on society are primarily in the way conscientious thought and values are imbued into government action and policy. If a govt. is going against the basic tenets of a religion, one would expect that religion to become more politically active.
Regarding pride in one's country, a central theme within this thread, I believe it was Tolstoy who saw that pride in one's country was the root of many basic evils and suffering in this world. I myself find I have pride in my country, and in a greater sense, it is that pride which causes men and women to go to war for their country. It is pride which is beefed up by govt propaganda and school-taught history and ideas. This is dangerous in my eyes.
However, no matter how much I have reasoned away and rooted out artificially pumped up emotions of country pride, like I said, I find pride in that sense of country formation and traditions which go into making my country, as I am sure others do in theirs. There are great things that we all like to believe in about our countries. It is nice to see the anonymous person point those out here.
Sahir, whether Chong's wisdom is a joke or not is often in the ear of the listener. Truths come out of even the lowliest jester (or greenhorn as it were).
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May be this doesnt have to see with the discussion anymore, but, there's only ONE thing I dont like from USA. That is the fact you all call it America, and the rest of the continent AmericaS,
I dont think that's fair, ( I live In Mexico city ), I live also in america the continent, discovered by Columbus on 1492, my city was re-founded in 1521 by spanish, but it exists since 1320 and it was called Tenochtitlan.

I do not want make this personal, but, hearing you say America, is to like a German call his country Europe, and the rest of the countries were EuropeS.
As part of the freedom we have, I just want you to know my opinion,that, after all, is my own opinion

 
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I think the real problem is, we never acquired another name for ourselves which was sufficiently short and convenient to catch on in all the situations we need it to. "USA" or "the US" is OK shorthand for the country name - but what do you call the people? "US citizens" is already too long and formal-sounding I think. If it were my choice I'd call us USAvians, but don't expect that one to catch on anytime soon. Meanwhile our neighbors took nice distinctive names for themselves, leaving "America" unclaimed (sort of). Historically the US was pretty insular (still is, but moreso in the past I think), and its people tended to forget that there were other people who considered themselves American as well. So gradually we developed the habit of thinking of ourselves simply as "American" for short, and now it's too deeply ingrained to easily change.
A side point - in the US we would naver say "Americas" but rather "the Americas" when referring to North and South America. I emphasize this because it sounds like you might think we're saying "America's" as in "property of America (US)". That's not the case at all - the "s" is used only to form a plural; not as part of a possessive form. I realize that some might argue that our government has acted in the past as if we owned the whole area, which would be another discussion - I'm just saying that our use of the term "the Americas" has absolutely nothing to do with any such attitude. Actually it's probably the reverse - people who think "America" means only the US never really use the term "the Americas" at all.
Anyway, I agree that it would've been better if we used a different name - but by now the usage is so entrenched, at least among English speakers, it's unlikely we're going to see a change in this now. You'd have to pick a new term, then write a bunch of good patriotic songs featuring the new term, which we liked better than all our existing songs.
Out of curiosity, what's the preferred polite-but-informal term in Spanish for a person from the US? I remember in Italian it was "statiunitense" ("United-States-ian") but that plenty of Italians just said "American" for short, even while telling me it was the wrong term.
Incidentally, most of us in the US were taught that North and South America are two continents, not one. Also some of us were taught that Europe and Asia might be considered one continent, Eurasia. Obviously it really depends how you define a "continent". I recall discussing this with some Italian friends, who found it incomprehensible that the Americas could be considered two continents "because obviously they're linked by land" - yet of course they completely rejected any such argument to link Europe to Asia or Africa. I thought it obvious that the definition of "continent" was arbitrary anyway, but some people find it very hard to understand other perspectives.

[This message has been edited by Jim Yingst (edited May 10, 2001).]
 
Thomas Paul
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I think Jim pretty much said it all. We have songs like, "God Bless America" and "America the Beautiful". So I doubt that we'll be changing our name soon. And there really isn't a short, catchy phrase to say "a person from the USA". So people from Mexico are Mexicans. People from Canada are "Canadians". And people from the USA are Americans.
 
Anonymous
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I do not want make this personal, but, hearing you say America, is to like a German call his
country Europe, and the rest of the countries were EuropeS.

Do you think it stops there? Absolutely not.
We have the World series' in many games, where the only participants are teams within the USA, with the exception of may be one or two teams from Canada. We have the winners of the Super Bowl, being hailed as World Champions. Pray, what other countries did they beat?
And haven't you heard TV news readers saying 'in the whole world' when they only meant the USA?
 
Thomas Paul
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As far as the Super Bowl, since no other countries compete in US football it makes perfect sense. The World Series has been called the World Series since 1903 when baseball was only played in the USA. Wasn't the World Cup called that even when the US did not compete?
 
Thomas Paul
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Originally posted by steven chang:
And haven't you heard TV news readers saying 'in the whole world' when they only meant the USA?

Actually, no.
 
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with the exception of Japan, i do not see anyone beating our baseball teams in the World Series. as for the Super Bowl, i think Austrailian Rugby players could beat us, but that is about it.
however, it is extremely egotistical for us to call it the World Series when it only involves our teams... we should invite other countries to participate, or call it something else.
 
octavyn pittman
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I think most people from around the world use the term American freely (when speaking English) to reference US citizens--not only people from the US. Egotistical? As much as any other country is, IMO. A lot of people refer to people from the former Soviet Union as Russians... think about how Ukrainians feel about that...
United Statian, USese, Unitian, Unitini, United Statesman(woman)--hmmm... haven't seen anything too good yet...
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A lot of people refer to people from the former Soviet Union as Russians... think about how Ukrainians feel about that...
Good point. Of course, inside of Soviet Union we never referred to ourselves as �Russians�. Official term was �Soviet folk� but who would use it in normal conversation? So basically there was no term to denote SU population as a whole. And if there is no word for something, this �something� doesn�t really exist. I think that�s the main reason why the whole country came apart as soon as such possibility appeared.
So I would not blame US citizens for using �Americans� too much.
 
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