Traveling earlier this week via plane from Washington D.C. to Los Angeles, CA., I had the honor and pleasure to sit beside a beautiful, articulate, intelligent, fresh-out-of-the-military young Israeli woman.
It was total culture shock for me.
We talked for the entire 5 hour trip about everything from art and politics, to romance and business. But the portion of the conversation that rattled me was the fact that this woman was stunned to learn in her first month in the States that so many Americans didn’t like George W. Bush.
“When he visits Israel, we roll out the red carpet. He’s a hero. He fights terrorists. I thought everyone in America loved him.”
Now I suppose this shouldn’t come as a shock to me given America and Israel’s long history as allies–and it by no means suggests that all Israelis think this way–but it was nonetheless disturbing to me to consider that A) anyone could view Bush as a hero and B) that people think we as Americans overwhelmingly believe Bush to be a great man and a great president. I immediately confirmed what she was slowly discovering: many Americans, if not most Americans, consider George W. Bush a criminal and, perhaps, the worst, most dangerous president in U.S. history!
What disturbed me even more (really? More?) was her proclamation that most Israelis feared Barack Obama and believed that if he were elected president of the United States, he would choose not to be a friend of Israel’s. She went on, in fact, to let me know that many Israelis believe Obama to be an Arab. I guess the GOP’s misinformation machine still has frighteningly long arms.
The good news here is that one person’s perspective does not a whole country make. However, it is indicative of a school of thought that does exists and may or may not be rampant. I, for my part, did my duty to inform her of my beliefs and the beliefs of most of the people I know and respect as to the dangers of the Bush Administration and McCain’s intention to continue the devastating policies of that Administration.
I sincerely hope that most people the world over can see Bush for what he is and that my experience of culture shock was a limited one. And let’s hope and act to educate people as to exactly who and what John McCain is and what he represents and what the landscape might look like, both here and abroad, if he were to be elected president of the most powerful country in the world.