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Sergej
August 3rd, 2006, 02:10 AM
Hi everybody. My name is Sergej. I'm from Latvia. It is the small country in the territory of the former USSR. I've never been in New York, USA, but i'm interested in the culture of other countries. We (russians) use to watch hollywood movies, eat hamburgers, drink coca-cola, but we can not understand american mentality. In this topic I invite You to speak about our differences.

ablarc
August 3rd, 2006, 07:33 AM
We (russians) use to watch hollywood movies, eat hamburgers, drink coca-cola, but we can not understand american mentality. In this topic I invite You to speak about our differences.
At this time, America is deeply and evenly divided. There are two American mentalities: that of Bush and his supporters and that of Jeffersonian liberalism.

Bush is supported by Christian moralists and big business, as was Germany's leadership in the Thirties, while the opposition is unable to assemble a program to appeal to centrists. The next election will, however, reflect the nation's disillusionment with today's government.

Some illustration of America's division, turmoil and incoherence can be found here: http://www.wirednewyork.com/forum/showthread.php?t=9402

Lots of babble makes a rabble.

.

Ninjahedge
August 3rd, 2006, 09:19 AM
No, you are a rouser....

ZippyTheChimp
August 3rd, 2006, 09:54 AM
We (russians) use to watch hollywood movies, eat hamburgers, drink coca-cola, but we can not understand american mentality.To better answer this, what is your impression of the American Mentality?

Sergej
August 3rd, 2006, 10:41 AM
To better answer this, what is your impression of the American Mentality?
Dear Zippy,
Your questiuon is too global to answer it in several words. There are two sides of American Mentality for me. The first side admires me. The second forces to feel sorry about Your Great Nation. But it is only my impression, only my point of view, depending on my Russian Mentality. For example American life style both admires and surprises me. Some aspects are simply inexplicable.

SilentPandaesq
August 3rd, 2006, 10:55 AM
For example American life style both admires and surprises me. Some aspects are simply inexplicable.

If you could give some examples, we might be in a better position to provide you with information. Specifically, give some examples of things that surprises you about americans and something that you find inexplicable.

MrSpice
August 3rd, 2006, 11:04 AM
Hi everybody. My name is Sergej. I'm from Latvia. It is the small country in the territory of the former USSR. I've never been in New York, USA, but i'm interested in the culture of other countries. We (russians) use to watch hollywood movies, eat hamburgers, drink coca-cola, but we can not understand american mentality. In this topic I invite You to speak about our differences.

Serjei - I was born in St Petersburg in the former Soviet Union and have lived in New York for the past 11 years. I can tell you that your general assumption about the American culture is not the right one. Secondly, New York City is quite different in many ways from the rest of the country (just like Moscow is quite different culturaly from the smaller cities). Americans - especially those who care about their health - eat fewer and fewer hamburgers and drink less Coca Cola (both Pepsi Co and Coca Cola invested quite a bit in the past few years in Juice and Bottle Water business).

I think it would be a good idea for you give us some examples of what you don't like in the American culture. I predict that some of those things you don't like are just misconceptions about the US culture.

As far as GW Bush is concerned, his approval rating in Russia is higher than it is in New York where about 90% of people don't like him and don't support his policies (especially the Iraq war).

Sergej
August 3rd, 2006, 11:11 AM
Serjei - I was born in St Petersburg in the former Soviet Union and have lived in New York for the past 11 years.
As far as GW Bush is concerned, his approval rating in Russia is higher than it is in New York where about 90% of people don't like him and don't support his policies (especially the Iraq war).
А русский ты ещё не забыл?:) Про Буша полностью согласен.

MrSpice
August 3rd, 2006, 11:18 AM
А русский ты ещё не забыл?:) Про Буша полностью согласен.

Let's stick to English, as that's the language other people speak on this forum.

Sergej
August 3rd, 2006, 11:28 AM
Let's stick to English, as that's the language other people speak on this forum.
Ok. that'll do!:cool:

lofter1
August 3rd, 2006, 11:48 AM
If I were to view America only based upon the images that America sends out via music videos / TV shows / advertisements (which is what the majority of the world -- including those in Russia -- sees as "American Culture") I would be (and often am) appalled.

You should be aware that all of those ^^ are forms of "selling" a product -- and only reflect what is going on in the head of the marketing divisions of the companies selling you their goodies. Those images have little to no relation to what goes on in the day-to-day life of Americans.

American films have for the most part turned to dross ... once in a while a good film appears (almost miraculously!). Very few films reflect anything honest in their depiction of America.

As far as the American "life style" -- There are now almost 300,000,000 American citizens who each, individually, make choices about how they live their lives. Almost all would most likely say that their choices are based in their belief in a pursuit of personal freedom in order to enrich the lives of themselves and their family / loved ones (both monetarily and in the broader sense).

As Ablarc points out those beliefs tend to split from that core position into two very divergent directions.

One thng that joins most Americans at this particular time is the belief that America is moving in the wrong direction -- a sense that we as the United States have veered off the road that was leading us to the goals of Individual Liberty, Freedom from Want & Fear and Unity as a Country.

Or that America has been hi-jacked by some group with a different agenda

The big question before us as Americans is do we have the intelligence and the fortitude to get things back on track? Or have those who have hi-jacked the agenda taken America so far off course that we are at the point of no return?

Sergej
August 3rd, 2006, 11:54 AM
Dear MrSpice,
the first thing i feel is that You are adjusted to me as to the enemy. It is not truth. i respect Your Nation, and i told that we are very different. it doesn't mean that i don't like something in american culture.:)
SilentPandaesq asks me to give you one example of a difference in our mentality. Ok. For example let's speak about gifts. Russians use to make very smart expensive gifts to their family or friends on their Birthdays or New Year (like Your Christmas). Sometimes gifts cost more then a half of a total income of a month of a men who gives. i think that it is not logically for you. i don't want to discuss if it is good or not, but it is fact. and it is the example of difference.

Sergej
August 3rd, 2006, 12:04 PM
Dear Lofter,
You are right in many things You told about. I'll answer you tomorrow. Now it is evening at Riga (the capital of Latvia, the city i live in). It was nice to tolk with You. Thank You all to Your answers.

Ninjahedge
August 3rd, 2006, 02:53 PM
Dear MrSpice,
the first thing i feel is that You are adjusted to me as to the enemy. It is not truth. i respect Your Nation, and i told that we are very different. it doesn't mean that i don't like something in american culture.:)

Do not think that, so long as you are genuinely inquisitive and willing to accept what people say, we will be insulted by what you dislike about America, or what you have been presented (especially since you are asking us what is real and what is not).

MrSpice is just not being too, well, diplomatic in his phrasing. All he is saying is, give us a few of your conceptions or misconceptions about the US and we will try to set you strait. We are not looking to prove you right or wrong, just to give you information on a VERY large topic.

BTW, if you do not know what we are telling you, or asking you, do not be afraid to say so. The reason a lot of people do not learn these days is because they are afraid to ask about something they do not know...



SilentPandaesq asks me to give you one example of a difference in our mentality. Ok. For example let's speak about gifts. Russians use to make very smart expensive gifts to their family or friends on their Birthdays or New Year (like Your Christmas). Sometimes gifts cost more then a half of a total income of a month of a men who gives. i think that it is not logically for you. i don't want to discuss if it is good or not, but it is fact. and it is the example of difference.

That is hard to say.... We give gifts as well, but the ammount may differ depending on the occasion. The sad part is, with the media trying to convince us that "Every Kiss Begins With K (Diamonds are forever)" and the like, our own views are getting a bit to materialistic.

We are, ironically, turning our chief religious holiday back into the pagan celebration it replaced!!!

So do not think that we are all that different. SOmetimes it is the subtle differences that are the most puzzling, and can sometimes cause the most trouble!!!

Sergej
August 3rd, 2006, 03:52 PM
What do you want to prove me? that all people are the same? :D When i was driving from job this evening, i thought about why it is so hard for me to give You example of our mentality differences. In the beginning i thought that my english lexicon is rother poor that i can't explain my thoughts. But then i understood that i can't formulate even my ideas. And it's truth!- how to explain what does mentality means? It's how we perceive the World aroun us. And the differences in our mentalities are not so significant, but there are too much of them. Speaking with You i feel our difference, but it hard to explain where exactly it is. I can tell exact, i feel agresssion from the most of You. But i tell nothing agressive, intoducing myself. :) and if one of You will come to ANY Russian forum and tell in RUSSIAN (!) that he is interesting in the culture of Russia, i am assured, nobody will be agressive to You. NOBODY in ANY forum! May it is the first great difference.:)

Ninjahedge
August 3rd, 2006, 05:03 PM
nah, you are not seeing aggression here. Most are simply asking you to tell us more about what you see and feel.

Seeing the difference may be hard, but telling us how you see things, or how you see Americans in general (like asking about what puzzles you) would make it easier for us to explain.

Right now yuor question is on the line of "Tell me about science". It is very broad, and we have no clue where to begin..... ;)


NOW GET SOME SLEEP!!! It's late!

ablarc
August 3rd, 2006, 05:09 PM
i feel agresssion from the most of You.
You may think you feel it, but is it real? Perhaps you should read again the posts in this thread; you might change your mind.

MrSpice
August 3rd, 2006, 05:30 PM
What do you want to prove me? that all people are the same? :D When i was driving from job this evening, i thought about why it is so hard for me to give You example of our mentality differences. In the beginning i thought that my english lexicon is rother poor that i can't explain my thoughts. But then i understood that i can't formulate even my ideas. And it's truth!- how to explain what does mentality means? It's how we perceive the World aroun us. And the differences in our mentalities are not so significant, but there are too much of them. Speaking with You i feel our difference, but it hard to explain where exactly it is. I can tell exact, i feel agresssion from the most of You. But i tell nothing agressive, intoducing myself. :) and if one of You will come to ANY Russian forum and tell in RUSSIAN (!) that he is interesting in the culture of Russia, i am assured, nobody will be agressive to You. NOBODY in ANY forum! May it is the first great difference.:)

The reason why you think people are being agressive to you is because - I assume - of your poor English skills. I read through all the replies and did not notice any aggression. So, before you come to any forum and make statements about agression, please make sure you understand what people are saying to you.

All people were saying to you was: if you want to make a point about differences in cultures, give us an example and we can discuss it. Here is the same in russian:

Бля, ты что, совсем отмороженный что-ли? Никто тебе зла не желает и никто тебя обидеть не хочет. Просто если ты что-то говоришь про Американскую культуру и как тебе что-то в этой культуре не нравится, приведи конктретный пример а не кидайся на людей с обвинениями что они агрессивные.

Ninjahedge
August 3rd, 2006, 06:55 PM
You may think you feel it, but is it real? Perhaps you should read again the posts in this thread; you might change your mind.

Actually MS..... You sound kind of harsh right there!!! ;)

[evil criminal mastermind voice]You MIGHT change your mind...[/evil criminal mastermind voice]

Ninjahedge
August 3rd, 2006, 06:56 PM
Here is the same in russian:

Бля, ты что, совсем отмороженный что-ли? Никто тебе зла не желает и никто тебя обидеть не хочет. Просто если ты что-то говоришь про Американскую культуру и как тебе что-то в этой культуре не нравится, приведи конктретный пример а не кидайся на людей с обвинениями что они агрессивные.

WHAT did you say about his mamma???!?

lofter1
August 3rd, 2006, 08:28 PM
nah, you are not seeing aggression here.

Ha ha ...

We're mostly NYers. Aggression is in our blood. We try to temper it but, especially on a 100 degree summer day, it is there.

I embrace my aggression to a degree and find it useful in many ways. But I also know that it can be off-putting and not necessarily serve me in achieving my ends.

Perhaps we Americans don't realize just how aggressive our nature has become. And that it takes someone from half way around the world to remind us ......

ablarc
August 3rd, 2006, 10:04 PM
^ Title of this thread is aggressive.

pianoman11686
August 3rd, 2006, 10:19 PM
I was going to mention that too. Maybe we shouldn't take the meaning too literally; it could have been lost in translation.

Regarding anger/aggression: I think every human being has a certain level of aggression. It's part of our uniqueness as a species that acts predominantly upon emotion, not instinct. There are only two kinds of people out there: those that are open about their aggression, and don't mind displaying it every now and then; or those that may be afraid to express it and choose to suppress it instead. I think the former is a much healthier way of life. You avoid the potentially disastrous outbursts that can occur if there's too much anger that's accumulated and become pent up over time. Sometimes, it can get so bad that you will see a person literally explode (see Dr. Bartha and what remains of his townhouse).

ablarc
August 3rd, 2006, 10:28 PM
MURDER RATES

#1 Colombia 0.62 per 1,000 people
#2 South Africa 0.50 per 1,000 people
#3 Jamaica 0.32 per 1,000 people
#4 Venezuela 0.32 per 1,000 people
#5 Russia 0.20 per 1,000 people
#6 Mexico 0.13 per 1,000 people
#7 Estonia 0.11 per 1,000 people
#8 Latvia 0.10 per 1,000 people
#9 Lithuania 0.10 per 1,000 people
#10 Belarus 0.10 per 1,000 people
#11 Ukraine 0.10 per 1,000 people
#12 Papua New Guinea0.08 per 1,000 people
#13 Kyrgyzstan 0.08 per 1,000 people
#14 Thailand 0.08 per 1,000 people
#15 Moldova 0.08 per 1,000 people
#16 Zimbabwe 0.07 per 1,000 people
#17 Seychelles 0.07 per 1,000 people
#18 Zambia 0.07 per 1,000 people
#19 Costa Rica 0.06 per 1,000 people
#20 Poland 0.06 per 1,000 people
#21 Georgia 0.05 per 1,000 people
#22 Uruguay 0.05 per 1,000 people
#23 Bulgaria 0.04 per 1,000 people
#24 United States 0.04 per 1,000 people

Both Latvia and Russia have higher murder rates than the United States.

pianoman11686
August 3rd, 2006, 10:43 PM
So is the US #24 worldwide? If so, that's pretty embarrassing. Not saying that I'm surprised, but take a look at the type of countries that are on that list, and the US sticks out like a sore thumb.

ablarc
August 3rd, 2006, 10:58 PM
A more comple list here (http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/cri_mur_percap-crime-murders-per-capita).

.

pianoman11686
August 3rd, 2006, 11:11 PM
Wow, I was surprised to see Finland so closely behind the US, while Saudi Arabia has one-tenth (is that right?) as many murders. In any case, we should really strive for somewhere in the 40-50 category.

lofter1
August 3rd, 2006, 11:36 PM
There are only two kinds of people out there: those that are open about their aggression, and don't mind displaying it every now and then; or those that may be afraid to express it and choose to suppress it instead.


NYers: those that are open about their aggression, and don't mind displaying it every now and then

lofter1
August 3rd, 2006, 11:43 PM
At the risk of playing the stereotype game, maybe the murder rate ^^ has something to do with the Vodka (http://www.sptimes.ru/story/334) ...



Russia, which accounts for 80 percent of global vodka consumption ...

ablarc
August 4th, 2006, 12:15 AM
Wow, I was surprised to see Finland so closely behind the US, while Saudi Arabia has one-tenth (is that right?) as many murders. In any case, we should really strive for somewhere in the 40-50 category.
Yeah, but:

1. Those figures probably don't count terrorist acts and police killed in gunfights.

2. Saudi shopping center parking lots often contain gallows, which are publicly put to use.

.

Sergej
August 4th, 2006, 01:28 AM
Бля, ты что, совсем отмороженный что-ли? Никто тебе зла не желает и никто тебя обидеть не хочет. Просто если ты что-то говоришь про Американскую культуру и как тебе что-то в этой культуре не нравится, приведи конктретный пример а не кидайся на людей с обвинениями что они агрессивные. Dear MrSpice,
You have almost forgot Your native languge..;) too many stilistic mistakes in Your russian text..:cool: Don't worry, my English skills are good enought to understand what people say. :)

[...Deleted]

Sergej
August 4th, 2006, 01:37 AM
Can I ask You all one question about agression? Please, be honest. Do You think that Russia is the enemy of USA, or the friend? How do You think? What do You feel to russians?

ablarc
August 4th, 2006, 06:43 AM
Both countries have bad leaders, bad foreign policies and a bad relationship between the government and people. Both leaders have chosen to erode democracy at home and abroad. Consequently there is unnecessary tension between the two countries' governments and between the two countries' people.

If both countries recover from their present bad leadership, international co-operation may be restored.




How does it feel to be a Russian in Latvia? Are you ever the victim of discrimination?

MrSpice
August 4th, 2006, 11:19 AM
Can I ask You all one question about agression? Please, be honest. Do You think that Russia is the enemy of USA, or the friend? How do You think? What do You feel to russians?

There are more than 500,000 russian immigrants in New York. There are more Russians in New York than in your native Riga. Your question, with all due respect, is a really silly one. Obviously, Russia is not the enemy of the USA. The relationship between our 2 countries is very complex and it's getting more complex as Russia is turning away from democracy (Putin is now the new king) and continues supporting Iran, Syria and other despotic regimes. And the War in Iraq that is hated all over the world as well as here in the US, does not help us in establishing friendly relationships with other countries.

lofter1
August 4th, 2006, 12:52 PM
Sergej: I think you'll find that most of the folks who post here are somewhat educated regarding Russia -- although the nitty-gritty of day to day life for Russians probably remains a mystery for many (it does for me, in any case).

I don't view "Russia" (meaning the government) or the Russian people as my enemy.

I see Russians as potential friends, and I hope to travel there someday (soon!!) -- especially to St. Petersberg. Not that I'm a wide-eyed innocent thinking that ALL people are good and kind -- I've traveled enough to know that is not true. But for the most part I find the people I meet while traveling are simpatico (particularly if you're not doing business with them ;) ).

Many years ago (mid-1970s) some colleagues of mine from the US went to Russia on a cultural exchange. While there they spent time with many Russian theatre artists. One evening while enjoying food and drink at the home of one of the Russian actors my American friends were asked to read -- in English -- the play "A Streetcar Named Desire" by Tennessee Williams. The Russians wanted so much to hear the poetry of Williams in his native language. In return the Russian actors read from Turgenev & Chekhov in Russian -- so that the American actors could hear how the plays of those great Russian playwrights sounded in Russian.

For my American friends that evening was the highlight of their trip.

I am fascinated by your comment:


When i was driving from job this evening, i thought about why it is so hard for me to give You example of our mentality differences. In the beginning i thought that my english lexicon is rother poor that i can't explain my thoughts. But then i understood that i can't formulate even my ideas. And it's truth!- how to explain what does mentality means? It's how we perceive the World aroun us. And the differences in our mentalities are not so significant, but there are too much of them.

I've always been curious: How do deeply ingrained cultural differences affect the way that people actually think? And how they view the world? Many probably assume that if it weren't for the language differences between countries that we'd discover that we're all pretty much the same under the skin.

I'm not so sure ...

It seems that the language which has developed within any given culture over many generations is a reflection of that culture's view of the world.

Have you had any more luck in formulating your ideas?

ps: To me your English seems excellent. As for my Russian: hahaha

Sergej
August 4th, 2006, 02:09 PM
Thank You all for Your answers! It was so interesting to read Your thoughts! I was convinced one more time that the main in the human is not his religion, nationality, mentality, age, gender, education.. The main is how he relates to his Life, to World and People around him. Ablarc asks me: How does it feel to be a Russian in Latvia? Are you ever the victim of discrimination?August 4th, 2006 12:37 AMYou know, yes it's truth that there are some nationalists in our country. But i don't feel myself like a victim, because i live among other poeple. I work in the area of international transport logistics. All the time I speak to many people from all ower the World. It's a business relationships, but speaking with a human for a long time, sometimes You can see somthing more in him than things concerns to his work, like his character, habits, his points of view to some global questions. And there are a lot of not decent people from Russians and realy cool guys from France, Usa and Latvia.. It means that in general all depends on personality, not from nationality or other factors. :)
Thank You all once more time. Thank You Lofter 1 for the statement of Your ideas. It's a pity for me that i can not discuss this and other topics for the next week. tomorrow i'll fly to Turkey. There i'll spend my holidays and will be back through one week.

ablarc
August 4th, 2006, 03:43 PM
"Culture war" in America may be overblown: poll

Thu Aug 3, 3:45 PM ET

CHICAGO (Reuters) - The so-called culture wars rending America over such issues as abortion, gay marriage and stem cell research may be overblown, based on a U.S. poll released on Thursday.

"Despite talk of 'culture wars' and the high visibility of activist groups on both sides of the cultural divide, there has been no polarization of the public into liberal and conservative camps," the Pew Research Center said, commenting on its poll of 2,003 American adults.

Best illustrating the willingness of Americans to consider opposing points of view is that two-thirds of poll respondents supported finding a middle ground when it comes to abortion rights -- a solid majority that stood up among those calling themselves evangelicals, Catholics, Republicans or Democrats.

The issue of abortion continued to split the country -- 31 percent want it generally available, 20 percent say it should be allowed but want to impose some restrictions, 35 percent want to make it illegal with few exceptions, and 9 percent want it banned altogether.

The poll, sponsored by the nonpartisan research group, was conducted with adults by telephone July 6-19 and had a margin of error of 2.5 percentage points.

On five prominent social issues -- abortion rights, stem cell research, gay marriage, adoption of children by gay couples, and availability of the "morning-after" pill -- most Americans did not take consistent stances.
Just 12 percent took the conservative position on all five issues, while 22 percent took the opposite stance on all five. The bulk of Americans had mixed opinions.

On the subject of gay unions, 56 percent opposed giving gays the right to marry, but 53 percent favored allowing gays to enter into legal agreements that provide many of the same rights as married couples.

There has been an increase in recent years in the proportion of Americans who believe homosexuality is innate -- 36 percent, up from 30 percent in 2003. Similarly, 49 percent believed homosexuals cannot be changed to heterosexual, compared to 42 percent in 2003.

The poll's findings on stem cell research -- which preceded

President George W. Bush's veto of a bill to expand federal funding -- showed 56 percent favored the research even though human embryos would be destroyed, while 32 percent were opposed. Most of the gains in support of stem cell research occurred prior to 2004 and has been stable since.

But perhaps more significantly, 57 percent of the respondents said they had heard little or nothing about the stem cell debate.



Time for some politico to try appealing to the vast majority in the middle. Most of America on both sides of the divide is actually moderate.

pianoman11686
August 4th, 2006, 09:58 PM
I think there a couple of factors at work here. Yes, a lot of America is somewhere in the middle - combining traditional, Conservative views with a desire to be more lenient in certain areas that Liberalism has deemed "appropriate." But I think the last sentence of the article raises one of the most important points: a lot of people just don't care, and therefore don't know.

My personal take on this is that many people feel disenfranchised by the current government, and except for those relative few who are forcefully pro- or anti-Bush, do not believe they can change the direction of our country - economically, socially, and diplomatically - by simply becoming more educated and voting. To me, the government has acquired a certain aura about it recently, not at all unrelated to the rise of terrorism as a major concern. The attitude rings something like, "Oh, you Americans, just keep working and consuming to stimulate the economy, and we'll take care of the rest." The result is a lot of secrecy behind the closed doors in Washington, on everything from privacy violations to international policy to global warming. I know this isn't unique to this particular government, but it just seems like now, more than ever, there is a feeling that the American people are on a "need-to-know basis" and we don't need to know (because if we did, it would cause panic, chaos, outrage, etc.) It's for our own good.

Another underyling cause is the overall decline in societal participation. In almost all areas - from church attendance, to community meetings, to fraternities - participation is falling, and quickly. Our society seems to value self-reliance more than ever. Everyone is responsible for themselves, and everyone can get by if they just do their part. But this is precisely what leads to such a weak consensus on so many important issues: when people aren't fulfilling their end of the social contract, and therefore fostering things like the marketplace of ideas, the result is ignorance and alienation. "Let the people in charge worry about it. I'm looking out for numero uno."

Political alliances are also weaker than ever, and it's because there's too much of this need among either party to stay true to the traditional values and beliefs. Maybe the effects of ignorance and disenfranchisement, though not praiseworthy on their own, should cause politicians and decisionmakers to reevaluate the political system, and look to appeal to more middle-ground people. There's a need for change, and that seems to be the easier alternative to educating everyone about every issue, and hoping that partisanship and party alliance returns.

I don't think it's a coincidence that voter turnout was highest during a period of American history when the number of political parties was highest - the final quarter of the 19th century. It followed a period of history that confirmed the incredible divide in America between North and South, and forced the public and politicians alike to reevaluate what the country needed most. This era also saw the rise of Populism and candidates running on several platforms at a time; William Jennings Bryan is probably the most famous example. Politicians were reaching out, and platforms were not all that different; the issue du jour was the switching of the Gold standard, and somehow, the public got the message that it was important to participate in the political process, hence the high (~80%) voter turnouts.

Are we heading toward a similar period in our political history? I don't know. If I say yes, then part of me thinks that the same thing should have happened following Vietnam, but it didn't. If I say no, then there seems to be no hope; maybe we've just become too affluent, too apathetic, and too lazy to vote and show an interest in what we believe. I do hope, however, that this next election, because it seems headed down the road of having several candidates with middle-of-the-road appeal, causes people to question why any one of them should deserve to win, thereby raising interest in issues that might actually make people take a stand and think about something on their own.

Well, that's my 2 cents, anyway. Rant over.

ablarc
October 4th, 2006, 08:37 PM
I do hope, however, that this next election... seems headed down the road of having several candidates with middle-of-the-road appeal...
The Economist's current issue predicts that Republican Governor Mitt Romney of Democratic Massachusetts will be the GOP presidential candidate.

lofter1
October 4th, 2006, 10:19 PM
From The Economist (http://www.economist.com/world/na/displaystory.cfm?story_id=7971009) :

Mr Romney is a devoted Mormon—a former bishop, no less—at a time when religion is playing a growing role in American politics. Opinion polls suggest that anti-Mormon feeling is one of the most enduring religious prejudices in America. An LATimes/Bloomberg poll in June found that 37% of Americans would not vote for a Mormon presidential candidate; other polls put the figure at 17%.

ablarc
October 4th, 2006, 11:04 PM
Well, as long as we're quoting that Economist article...


So will the whiz-kid governor be doomed by the Book of Mormon? Not necessarily. That 37% is certainly not an encouraging figure. But back in 1960 35% of people told pollsters that they would have qualms about voting for a Catholic, and in that year a Catholic reached the White House. Today, 21% of people say they would have qualms about voting for an evangelical; time may tell differently. For most voters, religion is just one factor among many that they consider: there is a difference between rejecting a generic Mormon and rejecting a smooth operator with a plan for universal health insurance.

As for evangelical Christians, they can be a remarkably pragmatic bunch. They have spent the past few decades building alliances with “people of faith” whom they once regarded as spawn of the devil. And they know a winner when they see one: they happily forgave Reagan his divorce and eccentric theological views. In an ideal world they might prefer a more orthodox man of faith. But if it comes to a choice between Mr Romney and a maverick like Mr McCain or an avowed social liberal like Rudy Giuliani, they may be willing to swallow the Book of Mormon.

Mr Romney's opponents may well find other weaknesses to exploit. He is a somewhat bloodless candidate, a conservative of the head rather than the heart, and approaches presidential politics rather like a Harvard Business School case study. First, prove that he can run a state; then lock up the conservative base; then pivot back to the centre. But for the moment at least it seems that conservative Republicans have found their man for 2008.

pianoman11686
October 4th, 2006, 11:10 PM
Interesting, ablarc. What do you personally think about the likelihood of such an outcome?

ablarc
October 5th, 2006, 08:46 AM
^ Haven't lived in Massachusetts for a while, but Romney seems to have a good record and knows how to get things done. McCain seems abrasive and Bush-style Republicans seem out of the question. Democrats will again commit suicide with either Hillary or Barak, so we could see President Romney.

Doesn't fill me with cheer but anything's better than what we now have; from what I can tell not even his father approves of President Bush.

pianoman11686
October 8th, 2006, 03:53 PM
I don't know about that Economist article's logic. Yes, there had never been a Catholic president. But Catholicism is much more widespread than Mormonism ever will be. I'm not saying I would vote against him for that reason, but it could be an obstacle for many people, especially Democrats. Then again, I think Bush's religion has figured a bit too prominently in his speeches and decision-making, so it might be an obstacle for me, too.

I think people, as a whole, will most likely vote for a candidate who seems familiar to them - familiar, in the sense that they're more middle-of-the-line. Clinton-Obama might just fit that bill best, and it remains to be seen if any other candidates can convince us that they're better.

Gregory Tenenbaum
October 10th, 2006, 03:57 AM
Guys listen.

I started learning Russian when I was 10 years old. My choice. My family and friends thought it was crazy. I just wanted to be Bond and have all those russian babes. Some boys want to be sports heroes, I wanted to be Bond.

What is really interessting about this is that almost universally my friends and others said that "Russian girls are fat". Looking at it now it is so funny.

The government did a lot to make us think a certain way, as do all governments including the then Soviet government to its own citizens. But the idea that we had in the west back then that Russian girls are fat has to be the biggest lie ever told.

Its just one example.

When Gorbachev started talking and de-escalating, it all made sense to me. The Russians are mostly nordic people just like most of north-western europe (unless you are talking about the southern russian republics or the Komi etc - and even the Komi are not far off).

It's amazing how power corrupts and did corrupt the leaders on both sides. The fact that we are now at peace is demonstrative of the power of face to face human negotiation as a way of resolving conflict.

pushkinist
October 18th, 2006, 04:31 PM
hi
i'm from Russia, yekaterinburg.
some years ago I thinked that I hate USA. without reason. it was my mind that america is main enemy, etc.
i was stupid, sorry.
i visited US in summer'2005.
awesome...

americans are friends i think.

lofter1
October 18th, 2006, 05:49 PM
Good to hear ^^^

Can you tell us about Yekaterinburg? And post pictures?

Russia is near the top of my (long) list of places to see

sandymarie25
January 11th, 2007, 05:19 PM
Hello I am new to the Forum and I noticed your question about Americans. I hope that it is not to late for me to tell you my response. I've noticed that in one of your replys to someone that you were wondering why they were answering so agressively and being defensive. I believe that its because a lot of Americans are tired of people in other countries believing in so many misconceptions about them just because they watch American television shows and news programs and listen to American music. But for me personally, I don't feel defensive at all. I love it when someone from another country asks about my culture.:) It shows that you actually want to know what America is really like and I appreciate that.;) America is a lot different from what you see on television. Majority of Americans are not arrogant, rude, stupid, or insensitive to the plight of other countries, although Americans can be sort of vain. Physical appearance is everything in some parts America. My friends are always on some kind of crazy diet to slim down their already slim bodies. Personally, I believe in brains before beauty. So I spend my time educating myself. As far as being rude and arrogant majority of Americans are not like this. My family came from Southern America where we were taught to be polite and respectful of our elders and others. Of course there are some rude and arrogant Americans but there are rude and arrogant people in EVERY country.

I believe that someone already mentioned to you that America today is pretty divided mentally. There are the conservatives and the liberals. The conservatives basically support President George Bush and they want a traditional America where religion plays a big part in American life, particularly christianity. The liberals are the opposite. They want change. They don't support the Iraq war and they don't want religion or displays of religion in schools or government buildings. There is also the people in between conservatives and liberals. They are called independents. I am an independent. Independents can see both sides of the story. For instance, I believe in the conservatives wanting to limit profanity in music that is being played on American radio stations and I agree with the liberals about the Iraq war.

I hope this information gives you a realistic insight to American life. I would love to answer any other questions that you may have. :D