Open the boarders, and send our young abroad!!

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Huckleburry, Mar 28, 2005.

  1. Huckleburry
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    Huckleburry Member

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    This posting will be slightly different. I spent spring break back-packing around Argentina and would like to reflect on some conversations I had with people from other countries and explain why I think these conversations are relevant to US foreign policy.

    I stay in youth hostels. The youth hostel crowd is typically very diverse, very smart, very talkative and, unlike a proper dinner table, very willing to talk politics. This particular trip highlighted three things that I think are quite important.

    First, America is perceived as united. In the eyes of the rest of the world the US is not divided by red and blue, east and west, north or south, we are just one giant red bull, tramping about the globe hitting things when we do not like. I lost count of how many times a fellow traveler remarked, "But you don't sound like you're American". This perception is a dangerous one. It makes America an easy target for politicians who see anti-American rhetoric as an expedient path to the top of the political pile.

    Second relative to other developed countries, America is underrepresented in the youth hostel scene. While the Europeans, the Brits, The Scandinavians, the Aussies, the Israelis, and the Kiwis were all out in droves I met precious few Americans. If you believe that perceptions matter (and I do) than the lack of young Americans abroad is a problem. In the first place, it contributes to problem number one. That America is giant red bull tromping about the globe. However, it also limits the Americans. If our only perception of the French is what we see on TV, if our perceptions of Australians are based on the "croc hunter" then America will approach the negotiating table uniformed, biased, and unprepared to meet the challenges of tomorrow. There is also a more subtle problem here as well. American young people are not forming relationships with people from abroad. We are not hearing the "street" level stories and do not understand what I call street politics. That is, the politics being discussed in coffee houses, bars, and at the water cooler. In the future, we will not have trusted friends abroad with whom to discuss problems of international politics. In short, we are limiting our worldview to one that few other nations share.
    Most Americans do not have a passport. This was one of the most widely discussed and mysterious fact among the international crowd. How could eighty percent of a population not even have a passport. Was it arrogance? Did Americans feel that Europe had nothing to offer? Were Americans afraid of traveling abroad? Or had the country (founded on the pioneer spirit) simply lost its fire, content to sit at home and travel through our television set, and computers. This single fact was at once the most offensive and most baffling thing for the great majority of foreign travelers.

    Finally, Entering America has become exceedingly difficult. No longer do our boarders cry out "give us your hungry, your tired, your weak" but rather "get out, stay out, we have no interest in anything you could possibly say. This last point is best illustrated by a brief anecdote. I flew all night from Buenos Ares to Washington DC. At six in the morning after ten hours of cramped seats and crying babies every foreigner was shuffled off into a separate line where one customs agent systematically, finger printed and photographed every person. The line must have taken three hours. All I could think of was "Welcome to America...Please go home" I spoke to a Canadian who said attaining an American work visa had become just short of impossible.

    I have now outlined the problem, namely, a lack of cultural exchange. I have a solution though and it is one that is not terribly costly. It comes in two parts. First, when you turn eighteen a passport should automatically be issued. This would not be difficult as all the information needed to attain a passport is already collected when you are required to register for the draft. The only additional thing would be a picture. Second, begin what I call American adventure for a smarter tomorrow. This program would offer a plane ticket and a few thousand dollars to any high school graduate with a B average or above. This would get the smartest (most likely future leaders) young people out into the world. They would begin forming those ever-important relationships mentioned in problem two. It would also dispel the notion that America is one giant hegemonic bull tromping through the world mentioned in problem one. It would also expand America’s worldview and improve America's understanding of the way the world actually functions.
    Lastly, reopen the boarders. Immigrants built America. It was made great by immigrants. It is a country of immigrants. If we now begin closing our boarders, excluding those very people that have been at the center of American innovation for her entire short life, then we cease to be what we are. We cease to be America and become instead some alien thing. A powerful beast with no understanding of what or who it is. We squash the American dream, extinguish the beacon and bulldoze the hill. In closing our boarders, we deny who we are. So at the risk of our own security, but in the interest of our identity, we must open our boarders, issue more visas and once again welcome the down trodden of the world to come and live the American dream.
     
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  2. Avatar4321
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    Avatar4321 Diamond Member Gold Supporting Member

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    Not that I have any problem with learning about other cultures and meeting new people. but where exactly do you get the money to send all these youth overseas?

    Also, maybe if these Europeans want to get to know Americans they can come here.
     
  3. pegwinn
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    pegwinn Top of the Food Chain

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    Backpacking in South America is worthy. But, with respect, are you wealthy? Never in my life was this an option for me. HS then work. You've already placed yourself into a minority.

    You stated that "First, America is perceived as united. In the eyes of the rest of the world the US is not divided by red and blue, east and west, north or south, we are just one giant red bull, tramping about the globe hitting things when we do not like." Well we perceive the other nations as united as well. In fact, I would bet that more foriegn students know more about us than we do them. It's the ugly american syndrom.

    Then you move into discussing that Americans don't travel enough. I believe that is because we are larger than many euro nations combined. If you have travelled extensively within the USA, you are still well travelled. Also explains why most Americans do not have a passport. It isn't arrogance, except that we believe our country already offers wonders galore. Doesn't hurt that for most of my forty short years I have heard about / read about terrorism in African/Asian/Euro nations. The IRA, red brigades, etc. Travel in Israel? Not with my kids. Nope, about as safe as downtown NYC, in the dark, while flashing cash.

    Entering America is of course more difficult than it ought to be. I concur that we should open the borders. With a catch. Every unique DNA that crosses over should be cataloged. I don't care if you are a tourist or getting a work visa. If you are undocumented, you are illegal and should be deported. We were built on LEGAL immigration. Not my (or your) fault that someone took advantage of our freedoms to attempt to do us in. Fool me once......
    I like your solution. But I don't see the money for it coming in from any source. Plus, if the feds gave the funds, it'd be regulated to death.

    Good start, don't give up
     
  4. Merlin1047
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    Merlin1047 Senior Member

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    There's no polite way to say that I believe your post to be an immature, idealistic and highly unrealistic view of the world. I don't have a great deal of time to address all your points, so I'll cherry-pick just a couple.

    "Most Americans do not have a passport". So what? Is this some sort of cultural failure on our part? Europe is a hodge-podge of small to medium sized countries, most no bigger than the average state in the USA, a couple barely bigger than the average county in a state. If the US consisted of 50 independent countries, each with its own governments, currency and language, then you can bet your ass that most of us living here would have passports. It would simply be a necessity - as it is in Europe. So the passport issue is a non-starter contrived by Euroweenies to make themselves feel culturally superior and somehow you seem to have swallowed their party line.

    Yes, perhaps we are content to "sit at home". What other country on the planet offers what we have here? Why should I go to the Swiss Alps when I can go to Colorado, Idaho, New York, Arkansas, Tennessee, Utah, Washington, California, Idaho etc etc etc??? Why should I go to France and put up with their rude bullshit when I can get the same thing in New York? The benefit there is that I won't have to translate the insults.

    Your assertion that gaining entry to the US is "exceedingly difficult" is unsupported by any factual data. But getting in SHOULD be difficult. We had a little thing on Sep 11 2001 - or have you forgotten?

    And you know what - if you're going to quote the inscription on the Statue of Liberty, at least take the time to get it right. But the truth is that old saw is extremely out of date. We need to encourage immigration, but we need to stifle the influx of those who come here merely to be leeches on our social programs. We need to screen prospective immigrants and accept those who have something to offer the country.

    And I'm really sorry that our security measures seem to inconvenience your Euroweenie crowd. But I think the thousands of Americans who have NOT been blown to hell due to the LACK of terror attacks since 9-11 probably appreciate the effort. No one is forced to come to this country. If they don't like the security measures which we have been forced to adopt, well perhaps they can go back to their youth hostels feeling ever more superior to those paranoid Americans.

    I have a little more I'd like to add, but I'm getting an overwhelming urge to tell you, in graphic and colorful language, what I think of your attitude. So I'll cut it off here and simply suggest that if you find your country and your fellow Americans so embarrassingly gauche, perhaps you should consider emigrating. Then you too can look down your nose at Americans who will be laughing at you.

    Oh and P.S. - there is no "a" in the BORDERS to which you refer.
     
  5. dilloduck
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    dilloduck Diamond Member

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    Boarders---Freudian typo ??? :)
     
  6. William Joyce
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    William Joyce Chemotherapy for PC

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    There are an estimated 20 million illegals inside our borders. They apparently had little difficulty getting in. Bush is proposing amnesty for all of them, which will only encourage more. I can't think of a country easier to get into.

    I'll give you this. Americans are often shockingly uninformed about foreign affairs. They couldn't pick out the country on a map that their leaders want to attack --- yet they'll go along with the idea that the attack would be a great idea. We live uncurious television lives. Whatever Jewish media tells us, we believe.

    But I wouldn't go ga-ga over the greatness of Euro youth. They're often faggotty little shits without half the honor, friendliness and decency of the average American. They also do a good bit of stereotyping America, without bothering to learn much about it. Yes, they're better dressed and educated. But I wouldn't want to fight next to 'em.
     
  7. freeandfun1
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    freeandfun1 VIP Member

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    Did you ask any of them how many had been here (and not to Disney World, NYC, Chicago, etc., but middle America)?

    As already mentioned, Europe is small and you can visit several countries in one day. I have traveled a lot myself and I do acknowledge it has given me an interesting worldview perspective, but I am still conservative. A matter of fact, I am probably MORE conservative BECAUSE of my travels.

    Why don't you try trekking through rural America and see what you can learn from AMERICANS? You would be surprised how different this country is depending on where you visit. I love traveling in America, I love eating at a small diner in a small country town or having a beer in a pub and meeting the locals. It is fun and I learn a lot. For a year I traveled all through New England. It was the first time I had ever been in that part of the country - outside of the cities - and I enjoyed meeting the people. The folks in rural Maine are much more different than say, your average rural Ute, New Mexican or Nevadan. This country offers a lot to see and a lot of heritage to experience. Get out and enjoy THIS country. You might learn something.
     
  8. BR-549
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    BR-549 Member

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    world view thingy!! It's borders not boarders....!!
    Next, I personally could care less what the uninformed Euros and the rest of the world think about the US.. A bull? Hell yes we're a bull compared to the pansy ass Euros who know nothing but greed as their motivation and have long forgotten ideals.. We need to learn something from them? Perhaps since we are the "bull" they had better learn something about us first.. Get a passport and go overseas? What are we a nation of idle, rich kids with little or nothing to do? Your viewpoint is skewed and worthless. I'd bet ten to get you a hundred you were making like the apologetic American for all their anti-US bullshit.. Get a grip son, the rest of the world is jealous, envious, and far less worthy than we to influence the world.... Either alot of them come to an "understanding" of America or they can kiss my red, white, and blue, ass. I've heard your kind of talk from folks I've known from college to the real world for decades... It's always the "I've been to Europe (or insert other nation here) and I know better"..Basically because they, like yourself probably, cloak themselves when overseas as the "I'm an apologist for our country attitude". That's bullshit and you ought to know it.. Or perhaps, as I percieve, you are a youngun with a head full of mush...
     
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  9. rtwngAvngr
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    rtwngAvngr Guest

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    Who cares what stupid, socialist, Eurotrash youth thinks? They should work a little harder to relate to Americans and the burdens we bear guaranteeing their freedoms and protecting all world markets abroad.
     
  10. Merlin1047
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    Merlin1047 Senior Member

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    Oh, I almost forgot - there is one point on which I'm forced to agree with the assessment of your self-righteous euro buddies:
    You don't sound like much of an American to me either.
     
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