The ‘ugly American’ reaches a new low in the highest office
Fresh out of college I spent a month and a half in Europe. Along the way I crossed paths with a young American couple. He was what used to be called an ugly American.
When an Italian couldn’t understand his English, he repeated what he’d said more loudly. In a crowd he would talk disparagingly and loudly about, and sometimes to, the Italians he would encounter, assuming that, not being Americans, they were too stupid to understand him. I didn’t stay with them any longer than I had to, and even now I like to think that he said something ugly to the wrong person at some point in his travels.
It was embarrassing for me to have the people who lived where I was visiting automatically assume that I was a jerk, too. Though I’m not up for sainthood, as far as I know, I can say that I generally tried to practice the courtesy and deference taught to me by my parents and grandmother.
Newly retired now, I’d like to go with my wife to Europe. But I just won’t subject my wife or myself to the sort of treatment that otherwise decent Europeans would inevitably, and not unfairly, assume I deserved.
I hope I’m still able to travel by the time the stench of the ultimate ugly American has dissipated.