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Letter: The ‘ugly American’ reaches a new low in the highest office

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.

John Nelson


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