Bow Wow! Wow!

Posted on 23. Nov, 2009 by in Uncategorized

 alg_bow_barack-obama Last week former Vice President Dick Cheney got in his Obama-bashing for the week by  commenting on our current president’s sign of respect to Emperor Akihito on a recent visit to  Japan.  Cheney told that “There is no reason for an American president to bow to  anyone.  Our friends and allies don’t expect it, and our enemies see it as a sign of weakness.”  Does he mean the enemies that he and his budy George W. Bush helped amass during their  tenure in office?  It is exactly that kind of attitude that had us regarded as the most hated country  around the world in the pre-obama era.  It is that “bow-to-no-one” / “we-don’t-give-a-fuck-about-  you-or-your-culture” prespective that has given us a bad name not just in our foreign policy but  also as tourists as well.

 Every time I travel outside of the US I am met with the consequences of Cheney’s attitude.  People  are actually suprised when I seem interested in how they live, their local politics and the simple fact that I want to take the opportunity to get to know people and share experiences while I’m on vacation.  Sadly most expect that I’ve just come to see the sights, do some shopping, taking some pictures and engage with NO ONE.  Yet to me, the important part of my trips abroad are my interactions with the locals of the country I’m visiting.  

Meanwhile, back at the ranch we build chain resturants in major metrolitan cities so that the tourists can feel at home.  Isn’t the point of going away NOT to be at home?  Just steps from the j school’s front door can be seen the abnoxious neon claws of the Red Lobster logo.  Chain seafood in a city that already offers so much variety as to render Red Lobster’s existence unnecessary(some of it in walking distance from Red Lobster).  On the corner of 23rd street and sixth avenue there’s an Olive Garden – chain Italian food when rows of restaurants can be found serving delicious Italian fare in every corner of the city, including the two blocks of Little Italy.

While I  freely admit to stopping at McDonald’s during most of my foreign travel, I tend to order things I can’t get on the menu at home – England makes a kick ass Mexican chicken sandwich and Paris has a McIndia Burger with a curry sauce that is to die for! (Btw, the McIndia is made from chicken not beef)

Perhaps we should all follow Obama’s lead and bow to the fresh perspective of what other cultures have to offer.  Every country has something of value, and though it may be foreign to us, it is still to be respected and not to perceived as less than, just because we don’t have it at home.

Bowing to an Emperor in a land where that is the cultural custom is no more a sign of weakness, than admiting to a mistake (perhaps saying there were WMD’s in Iraq for example) and making amends to the offended party as quickly as possible (perhaps LEAVING Iraq).

Finally we have a president with enough sense to find subtle ways to show an inclusiveness and respect for things beyond our borders.  That’s a political attitude we haven’t seen here in almost a decade.

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