My greatest surprise in life was learning that the USA was not respected and even hated by other countries.
I always thought “we” were the good guys and that most of the world agreed.
It was when I moved to Spain that I learned differently.
Conversations with friends from other countries was when I first encountered antagonism toward the U.S.
Once I mentioned in conversation that before moving to Spain, my “job” was volunteering.
Whoa! That set off a tirade about how volunteers took away jobs from those needing an income; was benefiting only corporations; that only USA promoted volunteering.
One day I went to a private Spanish lesson with a local teacher.
As soon as I stepped in the door, she said, “Today your country killed a man!”
It was a few minutes before I knew what she was talking about.
It was the day Timothy McVeigh was executed for the Oklahoma City bombing.
Capital punishment is not conceivable in many countries.
Owning guns was a topic I stayed far away from.
USA and only two other countries consider it a constitutional right to own guns.
This was a volatile subject.
I traveled to Turkey with two British friends while I was in Spain.
We had to purchase visas when we arrived in Turkey.
My British friends paid $10 for a visa.
A sign saying, “If you are from the USA your visa will cost $100” is not too subtle a hint.
I encountered anti-Americanism every day of the four years I was in Europe.
I was in Spain on 9/11.
A friend called to tell me to “turn on the TV.“
What I was seeing was unbelievable.
I was stunned. Is this real?
“I am so sorry about want happened in your country”, is a comment I heard often.
Just as often I heard, “USA deserved it.”
In Barcelona I had to go to the American Consulate to register.
You register so that in case of an emergency the USA knows where to find you.
The Consulate was on the outskirts of Barcelona.
I went there by bus.
As we were nearing the Consulate, I looked up and in the distance I saw Old Glory flying high in the sky.
The sight brought me to tears.
The sight of our flag in a foreign country would still be emotional for me.
I am not a political spokesman; I speak only for myself.
Today I am embarrassed for my country.
I wish the USA could go back to only being hated instead of being a laughingstock.
It is better to be hated than to be a joke.
– Sue Williams