Thursday, June 28, 2007

Made in America

Do you trust me?
A new, global survey suggests more and more people trust Americans less and less, although we still are liked by a majority of 45,000 people polled by the people at Pew.

The Pew Global Attitudes Project finds "Anti-Americanism since 2002 has deepened, but it hasn't really widened," and Uncle Sam’s image “has worsened among [our] European allies and is very, very bad in the Muslim world. But there is still a favorable view of the United States in many African countries, as well as in 'New Europe' and the Far East."
Thank goodness.
For a minute, there I didn’t think they liked us anymore.
The Pew people canvassed 47 countries in Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Africa and the Americas. Among other things, they found concern about global warming has increased dramatically in the last five years, and most of the blame is heaped upon the United States and, to a much more limited degree, China."

Well fine.
Wonder what the world opinion would be if we just packed our stuff and went home?

Let the Taliban run unfettered…allow Al Qaida to commit its atrocities with impunity. Let the North Koreans lob their chintzy missiles anywhere they want, and let the Arabs and the Jews nuke themselves back to the Stone Age.

I guess Americanism ain’t what it used to be, if you’re into public beheadings, female mutilations, ignorant populations, and living your life based on the whims of some old wheezer in a cave somewhere, reading tea leaves and puffing opium. Yeah, living in the USA must not be quite as attractive as driving through check points and dodging IED’s in your neighborhood.

What’s the point of this Pew Survey?
Oh, you ugly, mean, conniving, interfering Americans—why don’t you just leave the rest of the world the hell alone?

Careful what you ask for.
We did a story this week about a family that went a year without anything that was made in China. Wonder how that experiment would work out, were the tables turned…let’s let the rest of the world go a day without anything Made in America

You can’t have it both ways.
You can’t have a democracy without trouncing the dictators and despots.

You can’t create an economy and encourage commerce when armed thugs are running around shooting people they don’t like, blowing up cars and busses, and hiding in mosques.

Sure the US has warts and flaws…but there is a benefit that’s being overlooked in this Pew poll.
One of the true measures of the wealth of a nation is found not in its GDP or performance of its stock markets, but in the amount of money its citizens are willing to give away.

Sure, the economic metrics of gross output have a direct correlation to the ability of people to make donations to charitiable and philanthropic causes, but philanthropy’s scope transcends ability, captures opportunity, and reflects the level of responsibility we feel to take on financial obligations above and beyond the norm.

Yes, I’m tooting our horn, so if you’re reading this from outside the US, please indulge me or a moment. According to numbers massaged recently by the Giving USA Foundation, American’s give a much larger percentage of their disposable income than other “charitable” nations. And it doesn’t take a 9/11 event or a natural disaster, like a hurricane, to open the purse strings.
Last year $300-billion were donated to charitable causes, surpassing the record amounts donated in 2005 in the wake of twin disasters, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

Coincidentally, we had a decent stock market last year.
I often wonder which drives which?

It’s no accident that much of the world’s innovation and cutting edge research happens in America. We put our money where our mouths—and our hearts—are. The Charities Aid Foundation noted in November 2006 that We-the-People chipped-in twice as much as the next most generous nation—at 1.7% of our GDP.
The second place honors went to the country that devoted 0.73% of GDP to charitable concerns: England. France racked up a third place finish at .14%.

Some other interesting factoids emerged from the study: More individuals than organizations or corporations give money to charitable causes, and 65% of those come from households earning under $100,000.

This reveals something about the American culture and character that is often lost when we’re being bashed by loudmouths like Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, being threatened by punks like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran, or being painted by polls that tend to gleefully report the demise of American global influence.

We believe that the best way to help ourselves is to help others.
Success is most often achieved when you help someone else achieve their goals. Preferably with limbs and heads intact.

No comments: