Ever slapped a Canadian flag on your backpack when you were travelling abroad? I never went that far, but I was definitely tempted as I was preparing for my first youthful foray to Europe. Yeah, there are some jerks who hate Americans, but that’s because they’re jerks, not because there’s a widespread hatred of Americans.
When I told people I was going to Jordan, a lot of friends reacted with consternation – some because of the flaring Israeli/Palestinian conflict, some because of the Arab Spring, but mostly because I was an American woman going to Jordan, and they must hate us.
So far, I haven’t seen it. When I tell people I’m American, they react with cheerful goodwill. Most have a relative who’s moved to America, or have American friends. Today at a tourist site, when my driver told some bagpipers (?) I was an American, they burst into Amazing Grace followed by Yankee Doodle. Yeah, they were probably just going for a tip, which I supplied, but those within earshot reacted with smiles.
Is Jordan representative of the Middle East? No, probably not. Each country in this region really is different, and Jordan is probably one of the most liberal. But don’t buy into the meme that we’re universally hated. A lot of people actually like what we represent: liberty. It’s something they’d like to have.