Excuse my first-world arrogance

To the Editor,

I was recently involved in an online discussion which, as often happens, turned rather bitter, rather quickly.

This man, who shall remain nameless, who made the original post, was from a “Third World” country, which shall remain nameless. His snarky, condescending contention was that Americans have no “culture” of their own, while his people, who’ve been around for millennia longer, do. Many other users dogpiled on this post, and the thread went on, extensively.

You know, though, I’ve frequently heard this, over the years. These Third World folks, “talking smack” about how Americans have no “culture” while others do. Even some Americans say that. I have a co-worker, in fact, who has made that very observation.

Maybe they’re right, but who cares? You know what Americans do have?

Americans have a real country, with a (relatively) cohesive, functioning government. Americans, from our foundations, have freedoms so very many others, especially those in many dictatorial Third World countries, don’t have.

Americans have a huge Gross Domestic Product. Americans have real houses or apartments — not ramshackle hovels or mud huts — with real stuff to put in them. Americans have paved roads and highways; we have electricity; we have clean, running water; flush toilets, with plumbing and permanent sewer lines.

We have food; so much food, in fact, that we can, and do, use it to feed many Third Worlders.

We have surplus and gently-used clothing, hygiene products, school supplies and many other items, which we happily send to those Third Worlders.

Americans have disposable income; thus, every year, we can send billions in personal charity, and (mostly undeserved) federal foreign aid, to those (often ungrateful) Third Worlders.

We have a strong military, which we’ve used in their defense, and in their relief, in disasters. We have emergency supplies, medicines, medical personnel and aid workers, sent to relieve them in their grinding poverty, hunger and disease. We erect refugee camps and tent cities for them; build them schools, hospitals.

All of this, and more, is why so many of those Third Worlders come here, if possible. It’s also one reason why they hate us; envy of our success and wealth. Or so I’m told.

Now, surely there are reasons why these countries are the way they are; they’re probably the victims of evil, exploitative machinations of greedy capitalists…even though many of these countries are socialist or even communist, and so should be Utopias.

The mere fact that his people and their “culture” have been around for so very much longer than ours, should mean that they don’t need our, or anyone’s, help. Yet, they do.

So, pardon my “First World arrogance”, but to heck with that guy and his “culture.”

Merry Christmas to you, sir; disrespect us all you want, but I hope the kids in your country, sitting in their tarpaper shacks and huts, enjoy the Christmas packages my church sent out last month; you’re welcome. As always.

And so, Merry Christmas to us all, and “God bless us, every one.”

Rob Denham