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Gerald O'Bryan: America is different

A lot of what I read that is written by my fellow Americans in foreign web pages is not representative of the country that I know.  As another writer has noted, most Americans are kind, charitable and welcoming. Our population is so diverse that I can drive 15 minutes or less to enjoy Italian, African, Greek, Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai, Philippino, German, etc...style food.  A "white" American, my wife is Asian.  I carpooled to work for several years with both a Muslim and a Jew.  My hometown is thirty percent "black". Do we have social problems?  Absolutely.  The big thing is that our system, although imperfect, is adaptable and always strives to be better.  Old problems like racism and poverty, while not destroyed, have been greatly reduced in my lifetime.
 
As for my Russian friends, I have not yet traveled to your great country but would love to do so.  Even growing up during the cold war, I thought it obvious that the Russian people not some scary race but were much like us.  My Russian friends here say also that they did not really fear or hate Americans either.  Now, with increasing political freedom in Russia, we are finding out that we are much more alike than we ever thought.  Today we both face the common enemy of radical Islam which hates us not for what we do, but for who we are.  While there arguably have been some injustices against certain Muslim groups (as there have been against ALL groups), there can be no negotiation with those who happily murder seven year old children, and my greatest sympathy goes out to the people of Beslan.  I hopes are with the Russian people that some solution can be found to end the evil that exists within a minority of the people of Chechnya! 
 
Gerald O'Bryan
Louisville, Kentucky, U.S.A.

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