I am in Ithaca, New York, teaching a short course at Cornell University. Have you ever visited Ithaca? It was once voted the “most enlightened city in America” by the far-left magazine Utne Reader. Plenty of Volvos with “Impeach Bush” bumper stickers on them, a score of Tibetan bead shops in a desolate downtown area called the Commons, a own home-grown currency called “Hours” which is supposed to be more politically correct than greenbacks, and so on.
I was in a popular bar called the Chapter House (fantastic beer selection) and met a gentleman from England who was at Cornell taking a course from a well-known labor educator. This gentleman’s flight back home was canceled because of a thunderstorm. He is a union organizer for the Transit Workers in London. We had a nice chat over a few beers.
The bartender found out that my new friend was from England and asked him, “You must hate us over there.” By “us” he meant “Americana.” My friend said “No, we generally like Americans.” The bartender refused to accept this. “But you must hate us. Look at everything we have done!” My friend’s reply: “I was happy to come here. America is a great place.”
(By “we”, I assume the bartender did not include himself.)
This went back and forth a few times, my friend even describing a trip to Walmart to buy inexpensive jeans. The bartender lost heart and gave up. I felt sorry for him. There was nobody around to confirm his feelings of inferiority or to show him that he was not hated as he hoped he would be.
So the next time you are in Ithaca, please stop and tell somebody how much you dislike them. It will be sure to cheer them up.