Sunday, December 16, 2007
I don't really like potato salad, however, I once considered it an American dish. How wrong I was! A few months ago we attended an "International Dinner Party" and Ryan brought potato salad (what's more American than picnic food and BBQ, right?) only to have Katherine, a German, bring another. The more people I meet, the more I realize that potato salad is the international dish.
Last night we were at a small Christmas party at Phillipe and Francisco's house, when I realized that potato salad might be the answer. Americans pride themselves on our differences from Europe; how we refuse to socialize medicine, vote for socialists, pay attention to soccer, and allow unions to gain power. But we all eat potato salad! (minus perhaps Asia, although I think Russia has a version as well). And as I looked around the room at my international friends eating potato salad (a Czech Christmas specialty) it occurred to me how different things could be. Currently America has a bevy of political candidates vying for who can be the most Reagan-esque or, alternately, liberal but not dynamic. And above all, we are afraid of other countries and becoming like them.
What's wrong with France sitting on the couch, hitting on the Czech Republic? Or Spain, Bolivia, and Australia debating the responsibilities of Europe to the post-colonized Africa? Why does America pride itself so much on its Americaness that it sacrifices learning from other countries? We need to accept their potato salad might be better than our own.