Anyone who has lived for longer than a year in a different country knows that, by default, you become the physical embodiment of that country.
I lived and worked in two different countries for a decade, enduring comments from British students such as, “How come, like, you ain’t fat?” or “You was a cheerleader, wasn’t you? Admit it!” More often than not, it was embarrassing to be American because people leveled the entire country’s flaws at me. And I lived abroad during the Bush administration!
But Monday’s debate was particularly humiliating, because sitting beside me, in the form of my husband, was a *gasp* foreigner who, funnily enough, had an interest in America’s foreign policies. This is how the debate sounded to him: America. Fuck yeah.
In the last and final presidential debate, just 33 minutes in, the dead horse known as the economy was beaten yet again while foreign policy somehow transmuted into growing American jobs. We are, after all, the “hope of the earth,” according to Romney. (The earth meaning the Middle East and Israel. Duh.) I’m certainly not the only pundit to mention the narrow global scope probed by the candidates – and being the pokiest, I am also four days late to the party. I offer only my candor and my status as a n00b for you to laugh at (and occasionally with).
I grew up in America until I was 20, but sometimes I struggle to define myself as purely American – perhaps because I authentically saw the world from a different viewpoint. For an entire decade, I was shrouded from the American media machine and, thus, unindoctrinated by the ‘Isn’t America great’ unofficlal task force. I saw that the world carries on at its own clip, with little regard to what America is up to. No one – I repeat, no one – knows who Kim Kardashian is outside the 50 states. And that is a great and noble thing.
For us to actually be “a torch of freedom and hope and opportunity,” we must own up to our own role in the earth’s demise, and admit we are not the its nucleus. And Romney must learn why he cannot use a flat ‘a’ to pronounce Iraq or Pakistan.
I have provided a tiny, little cheat sheet that might help those of us who doubt America’s dominion over the earth. Yep, that’s right: other world leaders. Many people around the world are following our election – the least we can do is brush up on some of the elected officials elsewhere, with a few pictures thrown in for fun. (For a comprehensive list, click here.)
UK – David Cameron. Germany – Angela Merkel. Australia – Julia Gillard. China – Hu Jintao. Canada – Stephen Joseph. France – Francois Hollande. Syria – Bashar Al-Assad. Pakistan – Raja Pervez Ashraf. Russia – Vladimir Putin. Israel – Benjamin Netanyahu. Mexico – Felipe Calderon. India – Pranab Mukherjee. Brazil – Dilma Rousseff. Saudi Arabia – Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. South Korea – Lee Myung-bak.