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Positive responses

I received the following positive responses, some of which I also answered:

You spoke for many like-minded, frustrated born and bred Americans.
You laid it out, chapter and verse, and ON FOURTH OF JULY week!  From  childhood Americans have been taught that we are the greatest, best,  most charitable, bravest nation on earth and that those who don’t
agree with that view might as well “love it or leave it”.  That’s
dangerous propaganda and, among other things, results in young men and  women dying in foreign countries to ‘protect our liberty and  the
American way of life.’

Just before the 4th , the Leader printed the entire Declaration of
Independence.  I read it all for the first time in many years and was
inspired, but cynical in a way, wondering what the real motives were
behind that brave document. A group of powerful men who wanted
independence to pursue their economic interests or were their actions
a pure exercise in altruism to benefit the common man..  I suspect it
was the former.

One of the characteristics attributed to Americans is that we are an
optimistic people.  As a nation we are going through a really rotten
time but there are signs of hope that attitudes are changing about our
position in the world.  Through the miracle of the internet,a  new
generation of young people is seeing and getting to know their
contemporaries on the rest of the planet. (And vice versa).  It’ll be
much more difficult to convince other people of our ‘wonderfulness’
when they can YouTube the latest discouraging word from America.

I agreed with the thoughts expressed in your letter and thank you
for writing it.      MaryLu Walker


Mary Campbell commented on your link.

Mary wrote: “Excellent video (on fracking – another subject althogether)… sharing wildley! Loved your letter in the paper, BTW.”

Harvey Greenberg, Dundee wrote:

Dear Mrs Whitehouse

I admire your courage in speaking out to The Leader and hope you do not take too much grief over it.  For what it’s worth, I am a US citizen and a retired Air Force Colonel.  Sadly, the country I served for 22 years no longer exists for the reasons you so eloquently stated

July 9, 2012

My reply:

Dear Mr Greenberg,

Thank you so much for taking the trouble to write to me in support of my letter to the Leader.  I want you to know that the title was theirs not mine.  “Proud” not to be an American is not how I would express my feelings.

I am quite happy to take some grief for expressing these opinions as I feel very strongly that Americans need to take a good look at what the country has become and decide if this is what they want.

However, so far, the only feedback I have received has been positive.  Perhaps there is reason to hope that reason will prevail.

Again, thank you for writing.  I appreciate it.

Blaine Strimple wrote:

Hi, Elizabeth- As an 82 year old who has been traveling 6 continents since age 22, both as a 20 year member of the USAF and subsequent independent explorer of the world, I have had the opportunity to compare various aspects of the USA with those of many other countries. With regard to your recent letter (yes, THAT letter), I can say that you hit the nail squarely on the head. The USA has many virtues, but it also has some areas that need improvement, a fact which many of us are reluctant to admit, and indeed render us hostile if anyone, especially a foreigner, should dare to mention them. You have, in my opinion, done us a fine service, and I’m reminded of those 2 lines by Robert Burns: ” O would some power the giftie gie us, to see ourselves as others see us”. Thanks, and why not send that letter to the USA TODAY.

My reply:

Dear  Mr Strimple,

Thank you for your letter. I love the Burns quote.

I had been expecting to take some flak for my letter, but so far the response has been overwhelmingly positive.  I can only think that those who might disagree choose to keep their opinions to themselves.

And I may just follow your suggestion and send it to USA Today. (I did)

Thanks again for writing.  I appreciate it.




Letter to the editor generates discussion

On July 4th I wrote the following letter to The Leader, which they published under the title:Proud not to be an American (not what I said but so be it):

Letter to the Editor

I have lived in the United States since 1984, but I am still a British subject, a fact which shocks many Americans who are convinced that the entire world wants to be American.  This is not so.  I have not taken out citizenship because, quite frankly, I do not want to be known as an American.  I do not want to be a citizen of a country which is defined by greed and animosity. I do to want to be part of a system that allows 6 people (the heirs of Sam Walton) to control as much (unearned) wealth as the bottom 30% of the population.

The vast majority of Americans go along with the idea that the United States is the greatest country that has ever been.  Please define greatness.  To my mind, a great country is one where the people can live their lives free from bigotry and oppression; where they can earn a decent living doing the work they are most suited to; where they contribute as much as they can to the good of the country; and where they have the expectation that if things go very wrong for them, there is a safety net to help them recover.  A country like New Zealand, or Denmark, where there is 100% literacy and virtually no poverty.

A great country does not have 15% of its population living in poverty and therefore hungry; a great country does not squander and destroy its natural resources in pursuit of profit; a great country does not assume that its ways are the best for everyone else as well; a great country does not throw its weight around just because it can; a great country does not destroy smaller nations in pursuit of an ideology. And socialism is not the end of life as we know it.  Current policies may be.

A great country does not allow slander, mudslinging and venomous attacks against someone whose only fault is that they belong to a different political party.  My political philosophy is definitely left of center, but I simply cannot espouse blind devotion to a party on the strength of name alone.  I cannot support anyone for whom being elected and staying in power is more important than representing constituents.  I cannot support anyone who sees elected office as a lucrative career rather than service to country.

On election day in November, I beg citizens and voters of the Southern Tier to look carefully at the candidates that affect us most – Tom Reed or Nate Shinagawa, President Obama or Mitt Romney.  Don’t be swayed by publicity.  Do some research and think for yourself.

Ask yourself two simple questions:  Is he for us or for himself; if he is elected who stands to benefit most – him, or me.

(And I am happy to engage in further conversation along these lines: please contact me at

Elizabeth Whitehouse

Corning, 936-4732

They didn’t include the bit about further conversation.