"No. There is another."

From a friend of a friend on the Book of Faces: "Non-European Country"
I'm afraid that one of the reasons there are problems of communication and diplomacy right now across the Atlantic is the incorrect European assumption that "the US is essentially a European country". It's true that America is more like Europe than anywhere else on the planet, but it would perhaps be more accurate to say that the US is less unlike Europe than anywhere else on the planet. 
Someone pointed out a critical difference: European "nations" are based on ethnicity, language or geography. The American nation is based on an idea, and those who voluntarily came here to join the American experiment were dedicated to that idea...
Indeed, it seems to bind us much more strongly than most nations...
You're French if you're born in France, of French parents. You're English if you're born to English parents (and Welsh if your parents were Welsh). But you're American if you think you're American, and are willing to give up what you used to be in order to be one of us. That's all it takes. But that's a lot, because "thinking you're American" requires you to comprehend that idea we all share. 
Not really a new idea, but an articulate expression nonetheless.

He does mention one country whose people "are not confused by us".  Go, read the whole thing - but I think you can guess who he's talking about without too much effort.

No comments: