Thoughts of the Day

America in the House!!! Last week one of the biggest socialites in HCMC
had his going away party and the theme was to dress like someone from
your country. Therefore, I decided to dress as someone from a “Red
State” and although my state of Ohio turned out red this time, I think
that was simply an irregularity as most people from Ohio are most
excellent. Perhaps my costume could have been construed as someone from
Michigan or perhaps Indiana.
I also ran into a few of my friends from the State Department who also
happen to be on my darts team and when I explained the costume they just
shook their heads in disappointment.. 🙂
But speaking of the red states, I was contemplating on how it could be
that Bush got elected for another term. I think one of the main reasons
is that Bush just connected better with the people than Kerry. He was
able to get them wound up just like an owner would get his dog excited
over fetching a ball. “Come on Boy! Get the weapons of mass
destruction, come on, come on, Lets Go! Let’s go attack an Arab country
that is very little threat to us!!! Yea Yea!! ” This is what people
in the blue states would call a “demagogue.” Now please don’t confuse
this with demi-god, you people in the red states, it’s not the same
But on a serious note, my buddy who just returned from the states says
that the lack of honest debate in the USA is quite scary. Everyone who
has lived abroad for any amount of time understands that leaders can
whip the people up using demagoguery while vilifying those of a
different opinion. The one thing that Bush is very good at is getting
things done, and not getting bogged down in that horrible thing called
debate and consensus. The democrats should also be castigated for not
being able to get their act together and actually do something.
Now don’t get me wrong, I still think America is one of the best
countries in the world, but has simply hit a rough patch. It is fun
from time to time when people get too negative about America to ask them
where all good things come from…. TVs’, computers, cars, robots to
Mars, the internet… where did all these things come from??? If it was
up to other countries, we would still be riding donkeys and whatnot..
But why oh why, is America so polarized when we have such excellent
universities and an educated population? Anyone who has taken a debate
class knows that there are positive and negative aspects to both sides
of a conflict. I think most of the world’s problems stem from a failure
to understand the other side. If you take the war in Vietnam for
example, the communist fighters really did believe in what they were
fighting for and if we look at their situation, they had been oppressed
by the Chinese for thousands of years, and then by the French. But if
we look at the other side in terms of the French, the French people
thought they were bringing good things to Vietnam and “modernizing them”
but it all came at a price. The Americans thought that Communism must
be stopped because it was “oppressive” when the other side thought that
Communism would be “liberating.” The truth is, the more one studies and
understands the other side, the harder it is to define one side as good
and right. If one reads Ho Chi Minh’s writing and read their
constitution it speaks of liberty and freedom. The western powers
wanted to keep Vietnam divided while Ho Chi Minh was trying to unify his
country to make it strong. Many people will be angry at this opinion as
I am just a foreigner in this country and they will say it’s none of my
business. But this brings up another issue which I will address shortly
as I don’t want to get off my main point.
We have made so much progress in the USA that it’s disheartening to see
the current administration define conflicts in terms of “Good and Evil.”
Although they did get it right in calling North Korea Evil which the
current leadership truly is. As you can tell by my writing, it’s very
easy to go back and forth on every issue and this is what learning and
experience does to you. But this will always be attacked from the
extremists on both sides as fence sitting as though it that is a
negative thing.
Now back to me being a “foreigner” in this country. I think in this age
of air travel, the enthusiasm to learn other languages and understand
other cultures people are integrating with each other much faster than
before. Just take the massive protests in the USA at the moment. These
people are just seeking the “American” dream like the Italians, Poles,
Chinese and Irish before them. The borders of countries change and new
lines are drawn such as when the USA took half of Mexico in the 1800’s.
But people migrate and seek out better circumstances. The detractors to
immigration point to the fact that they are “illegals” which they are.
The laws are there for a reason which may be the stability of jobs for
those who are already “Americans.” But laws will not stop people from
seeking out a better life such as Americans did when the forefathers
broke the laws of their King, and the black civil rights leaders broke
the unjust laws of the white rulers. So again it is quite easy to see
both sides of the issue. The Statue of Liberty stand for freedom and is
one of America’s greatest monuments. Other people too wish to come to
America and good for them. So while the laws are in place for a reason,
we must also understand why people want to come to America and be proud
of that. I think the government is doing a good job of understanding
both sides and trying to navigate this issue delicately.
Now let me digress to people calling me a foreigner in other countries.
Sometimes it irks me when people call me a “foreigner” while I’m in
their land. Anyone can come to the USA and become fully American. But
we cannot do this yet in the Asian countries and are always treated as
outsiders. One lovely older lady kept saying during her speech at some
business event that we must remember Vietnam is not our country and we
are “guests” here. For those “foreigners” who have lived here a long
time, will it ever be possible that our cultures integrate so much that
people from other nations will be accepted as the locals are? Many of
them speak Vietnamese, Japanese, Chinese quite well. It may sound
ridiculous now, but cultures can come together quite well in America,,,
so will it ever be the same in other countries? Just a thought..

By Mateo de Colón

Global Citizen! こんにちは!僕の名前はマットです. Es decir soy Mateo. Aussi, je m'appelle Mathieu. Likes: Languages, Cultures, Computers, History, being Alive! (^.^)/