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What do you think of the US?

(68 Posts)
Enviousamerican Sun 14-Jul-13 15:28:00

I might be opening a can of worms here but I am so curious about your opinion of the US...after being on Gransnet for awhile it seems quite negative.Could some of be blamed on believing what you read? Dont hold back your response on account of me!

Wheniwasyourage Sun 14-Jul-13 15:40:47

My father visited the US during the war when he was in the Navy. He always said that he wouldn't trust the USA as a country as far as he could throw it, but that the individual Americans he met then, and ever since, were some of the nicest, kindest people he ever met. I haven't seen any reason to disagree with that analysis.

Perhaps the US gets a bad reputation for throwing its weight around and trying, by might rather than kindness, to get its own way, but on (only 2) visits to the USA and thinking of Americans I have known here (including a SIL), I have been struck by the friendliness of people. (That includes the immigration officer at Newark Airport.) People were kind and helpful in New York City and State and we enjoyed both visits very much, largely due to the lovely people we came across every day.

Hope that's of some interest, envious. It's good to have you on GN!

ninathenana Sun 14-Jul-13 15:48:17

I think it very much depends on the region. Being such a vast place, culture and scenery vary enormously.
I have never visited though would love to. Especially Grand Canyon. New York and other big cities don't attract me due to the crime and violence you hear about. But then that is hearsay. I don't agree with the gun laws.
Some would say Americans are all full of themselves and think they're the greatest. Yes I'm sure some do.

HildaW Sun 14-Jul-13 16:12:46

Envious....we have had several holidays in the US and have probably touched on a good 12 States. What this has taught us is that its almost dangerous to view the US as one country......its a bit like judging the whole of Europe by just visiting France.
We have really enjoyed our trips and have met some wonderful 'real' Americans but, as with most places on this earth there are good bits, bad bits and just plain weird bits.
However, even if I ignore the sort of horror stories that the media love to wallow in, I do find that attitudes to guns in the US are a worry. I was also surprised by the anti North opinions of quite a few people we spoke to in one of the Southern states at a Civil War memorial ceremony . They tried to separate their arguments from matters of race but it was noticeable that there were very few Afro/Caribbean or Hispanic people at the event.
Am not saying we all get along in the UK....far from it, was just surprised by the scale and strength of opinion expressed at a family orientated picnic and re-enactment in the middle of a lovely city park.

Brendawymms Sun 14-Jul-13 16:24:44

At the start of the Iraq war my DH said to his nephew " never mind the enemy just watch out for the Americans". Subsequent to this his nephew was in the tank behind the one blown up by an American pilot!,
Having said that individually the Americans are lovely friendly people who unfortunately also appear brain washed as to their role in the world.
Very few Americans leave their country on holiday and have quite a strange view or knowledge of the rest of the world
America also has some of the most spectacular scenery and is a wonderful place to visit especially the west. The national parks of America are well worth a long visit especially the Masa Verde National park.

Enviousamerican Sun 14-Jul-13 16:35:02

Those re-enactments of the Civil War attract such people...gun loving over the top people.Why would the average person want to re-enact a war? Not a way to respect the ones that were killed in my opinion.

Enviousamerican Sun 14-Jul-13 16:45:53

Yes I agree most Americans don't know much about other countries. I've come to the conclusion our everyday news should take a lot of the blame. I watch BBC America to learn what's going on...regular news we get is just local and US news. I do think it's getting better for the people who do want to know more like CNN news.

HildaW Sun 14-Jul-13 16:47:39

Envious, funnily enough we have re-enactment groups over here, everything from Normans vs the Saxons, English Civil War (16thC) right through to WWII. However, the atmosphere of these things are much more history geek than celebrating war for wars sake. Its more about getting the weapons and costumes as historically accurate as possible. But we do not have the US's modern gun culture - buying, owning and using a gun here is very much a specialized and highly monitored thing.
Even basic shotgun needs a police visit to make sure its securely kept and you must prove you either need it for your work (farming or game keeping) or for a recognised sport. No one can just walk around with one - even the police have to have a special reason, justify its use, and are called to account (usually) if something goes wrong.

tanith Sun 14-Jul-13 16:48:43

I have several American online friends I've know for 10+years they all seem very interesting, kind and family orientated but they have very limited knowledge of what goes on in the rest of the World , only two of them has ever travelled outside the USA and have no desire to do so either which to me is odd. I also find their fascination with all things gun related very odd, but they think the fact that I've never even seen much less held a real gun here in the UK unbelievable, they really couldn't understand it, one had no clue that our Police force aren't armed.
I've visited only once and was enthralled by much of the scenery and the people who were intrigued by any English accent. They are very generous and we have swapped gifts and cards and I've watched their grandchildren grow up via the internet, the children seem to have unending opportunities for sport and spending time in the wild, I would love to go again .

Enviousamerican Sun 14-Jul-13 16:51:00

I've always admired your gun control laws.Too many children and adults get killed accidentally here.

Tegan Sun 14-Jul-13 16:53:48

A country that does nothing to control gun ownership after so many massacres I've lost count; anitiquated ideas on abortion and not only votes in one George Bush for President but then [blow me] votes for another one confused. But every American I've ever met doesn't understand any of that either. To sum up; lovely people, strange ideas smile. I won't mention Sarah Palin..heck, I just have wink.

HildaW Sun 14-Jul-13 16:59:05

Like you Tanith I hope to visit again......though the last visit nearly put me off for life, the combination of Atlanta Airport and Homeland security had me thinking they did not want me to visit!
However, those memories are fading and we are seriously planning another trip next year as I too love the real people, the vastly varying countryside, the breakfasts, just pottering around quirky towns and taking in the sights and then doing the really cheesy things like the helicopter ride over Grand Canyon and sailing under Golden Gate bridge!!! So really - many, many happy memories .

HildaW Sun 14-Jul-13 17:03:19

Yes but they did put Obama in.....but we heard some pretty harsh, and quite widespread, anti Obama views in places like South Carolina and Georgia. I know we moan about whoever we have in power but this was widespread nasty stuff about him trying to bring in some pretty tame healthcare reforms.

whenim64 Sun 14-Jul-13 17:04:11

I have loved each part of the USA I have visited, and have covered about half of all the states. The people were kind and friendly, and like any other country didn't engage vistors and guests in policies like gun law and the penal system. They wanted us to see the best they had to offer, and we appreciated their hospitality.

When I went on a coach tour of the Southern States, as we drove acoss each state line we were given lots of information by the tour manager about things like local industry, correctional facilites and the death penalty, history including the slave trade, cotton fields, swamps and bayous, the Mississippi, civil wars and conflict with Britain, and the general geography of the region. It's shocking to learn about the disproportionate numbers of black people on death row, and to see gangs of mainly black prisoners cleanng state highways, wearing handcuffs and long chains. In a New Orleans hotel, we thanked the black porter for our cases being brought to our room and went to engage him in conversation, but he wasn't allowed to chat to us, and apologised! What was that about? All the higher grades of staff were white! On Bourbon Street? Didn't seem right.

It's gun laws, foreign policy, the death penalty that undermine this fabulous country. The USA does flex it muscles too much, but the people I met day to day weren't all loud and brash at all. Just friendly and helpful.

Enviousamerican Sun 14-Jul-13 17:15:35

Yes! I will never understand the abortion ideas.Its been legal since the 70's.They should get over it and go on. As far a gun control the powers that be don't want the Constitutional right to bear arms abolished. We shouldnt be allowed to buy an Uzi!!!!

Greatnan Sun 14-Jul-13 17:16:19

Most people seem to find individual Americans that they have met to be friendly, kind and hospitable. However, most British people find the overt patriotism embarrassing. I just can't imagine myself standing with my hand on my heart and singing the national anthem. Few people in Britain know more than the first verse of 'God Save the Queen'.
I don't think most Americans understand the British ironic humour, or our self-deprecation. We mostly don't opine that Britain is the greatest country in the world, as many Americans say about the USA but that doesn't mean we don't think it.
The lack of interest in the world outside the USA is hard to understand. When an American says ' Paris, France' our reaction is 'Where else would it be' but of course you have Paris , Texas.

I hate large cities, so I have no wish to visit New York, but I believe the crime rate is less than London. I think I would enjoy driving up the Pacific cost through Oregon and Washington State - I picture it as being very similar to my own surroundings, here in the French Alps.

Many older Britons have not forgiven America for coming so late into WW2, and then possibly only as a result of Pearl Harbour. Similarly, some people feel that the IRA stopped being funded from the States only when you were the victim of terrorism yourselves.

I don't think the CIA are any more ruthless than the British intelligence services and I am sure you could find as many racists in Britain as you would in the Southern States.
Probably the biggest objection most people have to the USA is its self designation as the world's policeman and its habit of interfering in the government of other countries.

For myself, one of the biggest problems is the influence which fundamental Christians have on the laws - often to the detriment of women.

Ariadne Sun 14-Jul-13 17:20:06

I think Tegan says what I feel"! Lovely people..

We have travelled a lot in the States, and it remains one of our favourite places. As well as major cities, we have visited a lot of small town America and found ourselves welcomed by some of the most hospitable people we've ever met.

I think Minnesota and the twin cities are among my favourites, but then I think of Arizona and California and...the only place I wasn't too happy in was Chicago, but it was summer, very busy and hotter and more humid than I had imagined.

The gun laws and attitudes to guns are scary, but so were the relatively few extremely right wing people we met, just before the last presidential elections, (I've mentioned this elsewhere) who, we had thought, were of liberal views like us.

And also, the naivety of many lovely people about the rest of the world, or even another state! But that has already been discussed, and I think, envious that your response was spot on. Fox News isn't terribly informative, is it? smile

Enviousamerican Sun 14-Jul-13 17:25:56

Oh dear! Fox news! A sore subject! [ smile ]

Ariadne Sun 14-Jul-13 17:40:30

Glad you think so! Our "ranters" loved it, and we could not believe what we were seeing!

annodomini Sun 14-Jul-13 17:43:56

I've only crossed the Atlantic once and spent a week in San Francisco. I was utterly enraged by Fox News which at the time was waging war on Obama's health reforms and frequently referred to UK's 'Socialist' NHS. I felt like going out onto the street and showing everyone what the NHS had done for me, free of charge. But then I doubt if a big scar down my right hip would have got a great audience!

Nonu Sun 14-Jul-13 17:49:36

I just love it when posters who never been Stateside profer , an opinion.

As for me I just lurve the Staes have been to all of them excepting Peurto Rico and Hawaii, over a 15 year period, in actual fact we have been 20 times .

driven ourselves around each and every time .

I do think the concenus could be, WE LOVE AMERICA .

sunshine & [smiles]

Ana Sun 14-Jul-13 17:54:19

Nonu! smile

I was wondering where you'd got to...wink

Enviousamerican Sun 14-Jul-13 18:02:30

Nonu,I'm not sure I would like the U.S.if I were English...I wouldn't like the over all interference from bad fast food to our T.V. Shows. Also the news of the U.S.your exposed too. seems like too much to me.

Tegan Sun 14-Jul-13 18:12:30

Nonu; I think Envious actually wanted an opinion from people that haven't been to her country. Out of interest, what is your opinion on the American ideas on abortion, guns etc? [just out of interest smile].

kittylester Sun 14-Jul-13 18:19:38

I've never been to the US - don't like long flights - but I love lots of things American and I worked with a super,well educated, bright, American girl who had volunteered to come to the UK with het church. Apart from the fact that she said 'pled' rather than 'pleaded' it worried me that she would vote for Bush 'as he went to church' confused