The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #20255   Message #210452
Posted By: Gary T
12-Apr-00 - 12:30 AM
Thread Name: Do Americans know?
Subject: RE: Do Americans know?
A little perspective, comparing the U.S. to Europe, geographically. If you're in the center of Europe, and travel throughout a circle with a radius of 500-1000 miles (800-1600 km), how many different countries (with their various languages and cultures) will you see? Waggish but likely accurate answer--all of them. If you're in the center of the continental U.S., you can go 1000 miles east or west and 500 miles north or south and still be in the same country.

We're abutted on the north with Canada, sharing the longest unguarded national border in the world, with much commonality of language and culture. East and west are oceans. Only to the south do we have a neighbor, Mexico, which really seems to be a foreign country. One can do extensive traveling, seeing great diversity of landscapes, and never leave the country. And it would be necessary to leave the continent, or actually the hemisphere, to experience a wide variety of significantly different cultures and languages.

I would submit that compared to Europeans, Americans have less incentive and much less opportunity to interact with much of the variety in the world. Seen in this context, I would find a certain degree of isolationism rather understandable. I seek neither to defend nor castigate that tendency, but to perhaps offer some insight into it.