This past week we celebrated America’s independence, I was struck by this item that crossed the electronic news site of record, the Drudge Report: Britons See U.S. as Vulgar Empire Builder.
If you had any doubts whether the War of Independence was a good idea, that headline would certainly put them to rest.
The headline was based on something called the YouGov poll, which claimed that Britons have never had such a low opinion of the leadership of the U.S. Specifically, only 12 percent of Britons trust Americans to act wisely on the global stage. Supposedly, the majority of Britons see America as cruel and vulgar…that we are haunted by issues of class and racism…that we are obsessed with money…and that our President is incompetent and a hypocrite.
It’s funny how people who don’t live on our shores can pretend to know so much about what goes on here. According to this poll, more than two-thirds of British respondents saw the U.S. as an “imperial power seeking world domination.” Somehow, I missed the moment when President George W. Bush declared himself dictator-at-large. And I really doubt that most American wage-earners want to rule the world. After all, if American families are asking advice from a telegenic British nanny about how to rule their roost, why would anyone think that they want to take control of the globe?
These poll results are nothing more than British rubbish. And if you don’t believe me, consider the comments of a spokesman for the American embassy, who was quoted as saying that the poll’s findings were contradicted by its own surveys.
The spokesman questioned the judgment of anyone who would say that the world would be a better place with Saddam Hussein terrorizing his own nation and threatening people outside Iraq.
The spokesman conceded that American officials might not have successfully communicated “America’s extraordinary dynamism.” But the spokesman also wryly pointed out that the British press bears part of the blame.
Bashing America is a favorite sport among some members of the foreign press, who never met a Republican American leader whom they liked — or even respected. I don’t blame the general populace of Great Britain for the misconceptions about America. After all, they’re simply operating upon the false information supplied to them by the denizens of the British media.
This Independence week, America actually has quite a bit to be proud of. We emerged from the scandal-ridden Clinton Administration and managed to restore dignity to the Oval Office through the election — and re-election — of the underrated George W. Bush. We have not suffered a domestic terrorist attack since the horror of 9/11. We have a military that’s second to none, filled with men and women who aren’t afraid to fight — and die — for what’s right.
We are finally beginning to recover from the disastrous social experiments of the 1960s. A number of women are readily giving up the “glamour life” of office work for life as full-time wives and mothers. Conservative media have blossomed in recent years, and Americans no longer accept the nightly network news as gospel. Public opinion polls show that young people today are far more pro-life than students of previous decades.
And, despite the many challenges we face as a nation, America remains the world’s greatest hope — a land where anyone, of any race, of any family, of any income level, can rise to achieve the greatest professional success. We remain a country of both dreamers and doers, a place where the impossible becomes reality day in and day out — from the cornfield to the Capitol building.
I’d take that over Windsor Castle any day.