There is a buzz, a vibe, radiating from the United States. The great, free nation thought to be the land of opportunity, a place of optimism and fair democracy is buzzing but not necessarily in a positive way. There are many factors affecting the social capital of the United States in the eyes of other countries. Our politics, policies, social unrest, the media, and the deterioration of decorum within the office of the presidency are some of the factors. The constant barrage of buffoonery in the news has other countries watching with their popcorn. Each shock and awe headline chips away at our social capital with our allies across the globe. We are losing trust, debasing our values, and tarnishing our international relationships. The question is, how do we make it better?
Here are some things people from other countries see. They are interesting and a little depressing:
- “Over more than two centuries, the United States has stirred a very wide range of feelings in the rest of the world: love and hatred, fear and hope, envy and contempt, awe and anger. But there is one emotion that has never been directed towards the U.S. until now: pity,” wrote journalist Fintan O’Toole in the Irish Times (Myre).
- “Capitalism. Money rules everything. Overweight people, Donald Trump, elections, shootings.” – Ingerlise Kristensen, 68, retired bank employee, Copenhagen, Denmark (CBS News).
- “Most mornings in Australia begin with news from America—the bid to buy Greenland, adjustments to a weather map hand-drawn with a Sharpie or another self-aggrandizing tweet. Our headlines and news bulletins, like headlines and news bulletins everywhere, are full of Trump,” said an Australian reporter (Berkowitz).