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Americans Need To Get Out More

Americans Need To Get Out More

Ruth Conniff
As much ink as Trump has generated with his flagrant appeals to his racist base, it’s our President's ignorant provincialism that jeopardizes our relationships in the rest of the world

Should one not be able to travel abroad, for goodness sake explore the local restaurants that are owned and operated by immigrants. Get to know them. You will learn much from such experience and your tastebuds will thank you.


Trumpism is all about isolation-of truth, information, movement, all of it. It is ultimately sealed borders, like Paraguay was for years. No roads in or out. While diaper boy and friends hoard, and others huddle in fear…


I am always amazed at the way probably half of even Buffalo/Niagara Falls, NY has not ever been across the river into Canada. Detroit and Port Huron too…


The last time that I was preparing to travel abroad was in February 2003. Little Georgie Bush was readying our Murderous Military to invade Iraq.

I was flying into Schippol Airport outside Amsterdam for a pleasure vacation. I had grown my hair and a beard in order to not look too “American.”

During my stay I was careful about where I went, and my surroundings.

Again, the Republican Party makes being an American something to be cautious about when traveling overseas.

Within two weeks of returning from the Netherlands, W started the “Shock and Awe” and mass murder he will never be charged with.

Now, we have another half wit in the White House that is itching for a War, either at home or abroad.

I am all for giving him one right here, however most of my fellow Americans are not.


“the citizens of a country do not necessarily share the views of their leaders”

This is something everyone should understand. As US military readies for war around the globe, we must think of the citizens of those countries as fellow sufferers of shitty regimes.


“Americans are famous for our ignorance of other cultures. Three-quarters of us can’t speak another language, and more than half have never been outside the United States”

Err, this is a little insulting. I know there are two parts to her argument, but this part of it seems to be calling someone an ignoramus or provincial when the issue is they don’t have money to travel outside the country, let alone take their family to live for an entire year somewhere else. And how much of the monolingualism is the credit of school districts that don’t have the money to devote to teaching a foreign language?


It is almost impossible to find an intelligent conversation about immigration. Part of the reason is regional differences and of course our obsession with racism. There isn’t a discussion that examines immigration outside of the racist context imposed by Trump and accepted by Americans as their reality. Personally, I think why can’t anyone get out of their fourth chakra on this and have an intelligent conversation instead of the polarized issue of which side of the racist issue their on. This is an important issue that should be examined and an opportunity to fix a broken system. Just calling the US a dirty racist country isn’t going to fix it. The truth is there are problems on both sides all exploiting a system that is being squeezed into a capitalist corporate model and how people go about subverting that. We really have to recognize that our lowest base energy has this country stuck in more ways than one.



I live in a very small town but am lucky enough to be a traveler. Over the winter break visited Saint Louis and Memphis and their diverse restaurants. Travel is very illuminating as well as refreshing. I sure wish more people could do as you suggest. It would make a tremendous difference in opening our minds.


In regards to resistance movements, I say the citizens need to take back our schools. If possible each local area should know their school board members and insist on having input into the curriculum. I know how difficult it is just maintaining a household while holding down a “job” but our youth is most important. And then there are inner schools that lack windows and heating. But for those who are able to become involved, they need to do so.


That is a great idea. Remember we can do that one class at a time by being a class room volunteer, Or, organize other learning opportunities.


as a military brat i got to spend 3 yrs in panama. 45 yrs later i still miss it. the colors, sounds and the people were fascinating. as a third world country the poverty was appalling. something i have never forgotten. now as i see it in my own country i wonder how much longer we will keep our rating. and with a leader such as trump? we have military bases all over this world. by the age of 15 i had lived in 2 countries, 8 states, went to 11 different schools so i learned about how people are different everywhere. get off your butts and travel so you learn other cultures and realize our freedom is at stake. do it now.


It’s funny, except for their obsessive need to stockpile guns and ammunition. This is a form of mental illness, a delusion brought on by spending decades listening to Limbaugh/O’Reilly/Hannity and their ilk.

Fortunately, not all of us old white guys partake of that Kool-Ade. Several of us are regular posters on this forum, believing in love, peace and compassion over all else.


And…you will get better food than what the corporate chains give you.
And…you will be keeping your money in your local community.


It’s the same way in northern Maine. Here in the West we MOVE. 500 miles is nothing in a weekend. One of the quirks of western third of the U.S. When I moved from California to Maine I literally could not believe it. It would be healthier for a lot of northeastern people to get out of their hoods once and awhile. I have exactly that problem with progressive media like The Nation. I know it’s New York based, but I live in California, as does one in 7 people. BTW, I lived in Portland, Peaks Island when I lived in Maine. Where Common Dreams is based. This group does a very good job of representing all of the country politically.


You missed my point. This is not a east-west/propensity to travel thing. And we could do with less California provincial-chauvinism - I’ve been bombarded with it all my life. My point was USAns fear of anything different or foreign - forget a different language, even just metric units freak them out! I suspect a comparable percentage of residents of Seattle, in super-hip “Cascadia” have never even been the short distance to Canada and Vancouver either.

And burning all that gasoline every weekend is hardly something to be proud of. Recall from the movie “Supersize Me” that New Yorker’s rank high in cardio health because they often don’t use cars at all and walk vastly more than any Californian.

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Sorry man, it is NOT California provincial chauvinism. Every region has
it’s pluses and minuses. If you knew how sickening it is right now to hear
all the bashing of us. It’s kind of like, sometimes in history, life, some
places/institutions have it together in certain ways. See Paris: Belle
Epoque. Then get back to me. As to your comment about driving, yes, how
could I disagree? You could broaden your vocabulary a bit. I find right
now a large feeling of negative energy in the northeast. Period. And frankly, especially, Pennsylvania.

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I’m sure the air travel, cruise, tourism, and transport fuel industries would wholeheartedly agree with this article. But I’m not so convinced that what this world needs is the added carbon footprint of many billions of additional tourism passenger miles. It also smacks of more than a little elitism to disparage those who simply don’t have the time and resources to be world travelers.

And if we were to become a nation of well-traveled people, what would that accomplish? Would it make our bought politicians more likely to follow the policy preferences of voters over those of their paymasters? Would it make us more enlightened? You know who has traveled even more than Ruth Conniff? Donald Trump. Is there any indication all that travel has made him enlightened and broad-minded?

The problem the rest of the world is having isn’t that Americans are not flooding out into other nations enough. It’s that we are doing it way too much. The rest of the world would more likely benefit if we did a better job of containing ourselves within our own borders.


Why is that amazing? What’s across the river?

Too many Americans, in a sense, have too little appreciation of how diverse our country is.

Maine was a topic a moment ago. Do Americans appreciate how much northern Maine is like Quebec? Including speaking French. And nearly the same at the other end, in large parts of southern Louisiana?

Do we go past the tourist-attraction of New Mexican Indian pueblos and communities to appreciating that the people who live there are a bit different from you or I?

I once knew a co-worker, living and working in the Denver suburbs, who refused to go to downtown Denver. His loss.

I am told that the view of the Niagara Falls is better from the Canadian side. Also, nearby are the Lundy Lane and Chippewa War of 1812 battlesites, where the British and Canadians ‘licked us’ and we fled back to our side of the river.