3 Things The World Needs To Learn and Unlearn from The United States

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Disclaimer: I chose to write about The US particularly in this post because: The influential prowess of the eagle is undeniable. They are masters of social media and hence, trendsetters to the world. We must learn and adopt from them whatever is right and be indifferent to the rest. (Or crib about it).

Now, now, I come from a (rapidly) developing middle-income country, so would it be hypocrisy if I commented on the Global superpower? It may be but I’m going to do it anyways as I have formed my own sweet opinion about this country I haven’t even visited, from my kin and kith living there, my virtual friends and from this great nation’s citizens that I’ve met in my country and elsewhere. Even in decades, my country may not be able to reach the pedestal that they are in at the moment, but there are things I want the world, particularly my country to learn from the majestic eagle.

To learn: Enabling Innovation through capitalism

The federal government has no control over privately owned businesses and properties and does not own corporations. Freedom, choice and free enterprise are constitutionally protected, which means that the government takes privacy seriously in privately owned entities. In many other countries, the government has the right and power to inspect, intervene in or take down private buildings and businesses for various reasons. Capitalism can lead to encouragement of innovation, a way forward in terms of wealth-generating and economic growth. No wonder most MNCs, social media sites, streaming sites and other innovative services trace their origins to the land of the free.

To unlearn: Intervening unnecessarily in Foreign affairs

And it never ends well for them. The Vietnam war, Afghan war (not a single one but a series of wars in which the Global superpower has intervened since times immemorial, which in my opinion “invited” the terrorist attacks), World War-II attacks in Japan (although this did end well for them, The Hiroshima Nagasaki attacks were a terrible display of violence that affected innocent common men), etc.. Undeniably, they have quite a notorious penchant for brutal wars.

To learn: Respect, Recognition and Validation for all occupations

In Asia, you’re either an engineering graduate or a doctor or a disappointment. There ARE people in other occupations ofcourse, but they are regarded with much less respect unless they occupy a very senior, pivotal role in their job. It is almost always a norm to study science or commerce. Arts are seen as a disgrace. This is singlehandedly responsible for most of the mass-migration to the US, where a teacher is as respected as an IT expert, and an IT expert as much as a scientist. Oh, don’t get me started about scientists! Most people who want to work in a field relevant to their field of study head to the US because it is almost impractical to do so in Asian countries. Neither government nor private institutions fund or encourage research. You will remain underpaid and unrecognised for sending a Satellite to Mars but you will be supported (and worshiped) for grasping a high-paying IT job. Atleast so in India.

To unlearn: Healthcare “business”

Health and education are fundamental requirements to all living beings. It is unlawful (not from political laws, but from moral laws) to turn service into business as seems to be the case in the US. For a country where most people go from rags to riches, that is quite… inconsiderate. Forget healthcare, everything is overpriced in the US. But this tops the cake. Insurance does not cover enough in serious cases. I recently saw a YouTube video of British people (who receive free public health care by the way) reacting to the price of healthcare facilities in the US. They were flabbergasted, needless to say. So was I, a viewer. Based on actual math, for the price it takes to get a simple X-ray scan in the US, you can buy a ticket to India, take an X-ray and even buy a return ticket! People actually do this by the way. My school is right next to a famous hospital and I see a lot of exotic faces- white, black, Arab, etc.. Ofcourse, your medical tourism is great, but only affordable to billionaires.

To learn: Acceptance of diversity

This has to be my favourite. Tolerance is different from acceptance. Many nations are tolerant, but not necessarily accepting. I’m always amazed at how the US is an amalgamation of people from different parts of the world and varied cultures, who migrated in hopes of better future and together, created a strong economy and an accepting, accommodative society. Nobody has to be silent and you are accepted with open arms for what you are. It’s heartwarming to see people of different races, sexualities, religions, political views and education levels support and love each other all the same. That is the whole essence of being human. The face of secularism. Now, before you correct me on this by emphasising on how many racist, colourist, homophobic folks there are, I should like to ask you: Where are they not?

To unlearn: Too much racial consciousness and sugar coating

“This is wonderful, but you really shouldn’t have…” is American for the German, Chinese or Indian “This is awful!”. I’ve never heard of or come across Americans who call a spade a spade. They are always very conscious of offending the listener, specifically the whites when in conversation with “people of colour”. They put so much effort into trying not to appear racist and it’s always very visible that they’re TRYING HARD. I understand that it’s mostly because we have this certain judgement regarding the whites, that they may still possess their ancestors’ white superiority complex, which in many cases is true. Trying hard and being all conscious prove exactly that.

There is another point I wish to add about this: Is the land of the free REALLY the land of the free? In quite a few cases, I think not.

Now, here’s a fun question: Who even thought of the term “people of colour”? It’s a ludicrous term with a bizarre definition! (Now, it’s NOT offensive, I just find it illogical) Given that we “people of colour” (Non-Europeans like us Asians, Africans, native Americans, etc..) form the largest population of the world and occupy the largest continents in the planet, shouldn’t whites be called “people of no colour”?

(No offence intended, just curious. 😉)

125 thoughts on “3 Things The World Needs To Learn and Unlearn from The United States

  1. Nice post. There are many things we can learn from America and its people. The best thing I like about them is their never giving spirit. It can be seen in sports and other fields. You rightly said that we should learn from them to treat equally and give respect to every profession. In India, in recent years, it has become a trend for government to put people in jail for just criticizing the government and its policies while people can openly criticize the government in America.

    America has always tended to interfere in other countries for its own benefits like selling arms, unstable or overthrow the government, creating dominance, etc.

    Yes, diversity can be seen in America, but racism is also as deep rooted there as casteism is in India.

    We can support innovation through capitalism, but capitalism also makes things dearer. In America, education and health are one of the costliest in the world. Students become debt-ridden in completing their education. As you mentioned, healthcare is also very costly. In America, only a few people hold most of the wealth while most people are struggling. Capitalism also creates a divide between rich and poor. Private companies start a business for the sole purpose of profit, therefore things become dear in the long run. Big companies take over small companies and it creates a monopoly and it increases the prices of product and services. It can be seen in America and the Indian government is doing the same blunder.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Oh, wow! You basically summed up the whole post and added more! Thank you sooo sooo very much! You are so right about everything, especially the darker sides of capitalism. In India, the government first needs more people to collect taxes from. Capitalism definitely won’t work for India for many many more years. Thank you again for this comment! 🙏

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      • Sorry, but I disagree that we need more tax. We are already paying so much in form of GST, income tax, toll tax & various other taxes, surcharges, and cess. The government is already getting a lot of tax. How much more tax do they want? Prices of everything have increased. The government gets enough money if they want to do development, but the only thing that they don’t have is intention. PM cares fund got billions still lakhs of people in India died of lack of oxygen cylinders, medicines, beds, etc. The government didn’t reveal where they spent that money and was not ready to give any information under the right to information either. No matter how much money people give, it won’t be enough for a government that has no intention. Why are only common man made to pay taxes? There are many people who did frauds ran away from the country. The government has waived billions of rupee taxes of corporate. I have no faith in such a government.

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      • I never said we need more tax. I said we need more tax-payers. Currently, it’s at 3% of the population paying for the entire country. We can do better than that. That will improve the situation greatly by reducing GST and reducing the burden of income tax for the tax-paying population. I know of people who pay as much as half their salaries as income tax. Why should it be that way? We need to collect tax from more people and people who are not filing their taxes and escaping this despite having the capacity to do so must be punished! “No matter how much money people give, it won’t be enough for a government that has no intention.” Wow that’s a POWERFUL statement and holds so true for the Indian scenario. I’m sure We just need to bear with this for another… decade or so. The next generation will do things better.

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      • More than 50% population is dependent on agriculture in India. About 65% population is rural. On top of that millions live below the poverty line. How do you expect such people to pay taxes? If they don’t earn enough, how will they pay taxes? Even a poor pays indirect tax when he purchases anything.

        I have no high hopes from this generation or next. There are very few people like you who are aware of what is happening around and in the country and worry about other people and the country. Most of this generation is ruined. They are busy making trash videos, in useless things, and making easy money. They don’t have no idea what is happening in the country and they don’t care either.

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      • Sadly, I should agree with you on the last paragraph. Nonetheless, all hopes are not lost for us! 😉😊
        The people you mentioned as living below the poverty line, rural population, etc.. are somehow capable of having large families and having as many children as they want. If they are able to pay for all their daughters’ marriages and dowry, they can definitely manage to pay ₹100 a month. A domestic helper in our area (they are considered BPL, mind you) spent 1 lakh for puberty function for each of her daughters! Can you believe that? When they can pay for such things, ₹100 a month or even lesser towards the country shouldn’t be painful. ₹100 levied from a million is 100 million! Just saying.. It’s harder than it sounds Ofcourse as people would be reluctant. I’ll leave that for another post and shall even encourage you to write one about innovative tax collection methods. 😃

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  2. Fabulous post and so happy to see the younger generation being very aware. Things are changing for the better, although it may not seem it right now. I’ve been following globally behind the scenes for the last 3 years. First the pharmaceutical industry then the banking system and now what we are experiencing. Exciting times ahead, humanity is becoming sovereign again and it starts first with America. The Best Is Yet To Come!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Our US govt may not own biz, but there are tons of laws & taxes they create for biz. Some say too much; others say not enough. Generally agree on the other points…

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  4. As an American, I think you have given a fair representation of the United States. The term used to be ‘colored people’ and for reasons I don’t know, it has been switched to ‘people of color’. I think that our current term is being politically correct for trying not to be deliberately be offensive to people. Many Americans despise political correctness, feeling that is has been carried too far. I have found that is someone is looking to be offended, they will be. I had to smile at your phrase, “people of no color”. There is some feeling that the world will mostly become caramel with intermarriage and coupling between people from all backgrounds. Maybe your generation will change the world. I believe that almost every generation has that hope.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Caramel 😂😂🤣🤣 Ngl, you actually had me gasp for breath from laughing there 😂🤣
      Personally, even I think political correctness is taken toooo far. “People who want to be offended will find a reason to be offended” Wow, that is soooo bloody true!!!! Frustrating, actually. Actually, I hate it when people use the race card for absolutely no reason but their own tendency to get offended. I mentioned a similar point (a whole paragraph) in this post initially but deleted it because it made the piece long.
      And, thanks a looot for your comment! 😊🙏 I really need validation from actual Americans and you are very much welcome to correct me. Thank you so so so very much! 🙏

      Liked by 1 person

      • I agree with you on the race card. I used to work with a woman of color (African-American) who had two prepubciscent sons. When I asked her how her boys were, she got offended because I called these two elementary school students boys–maybe instead of young men. I could understand her offense if I referred to an adult male as a boy but a young child???? Hope other Americans chime in thoughfully.

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      • That is terrible! It portrays some kind of.. insecurity on their part? One needs to be THAT careful when talking to someone? I understand all the sugarcoating now. When I mentioned at the end “Is the land of the free really the land of the free? I think not” I meant exactly this. Freedom of speech is in violation.
        Time and again, I’ve noticed celebrities using it and that’s when I understood that it’s quite possible it happens on a daily basis when coloured people want to get their way. When it’s not genuinely true and people accuse you (as in your case), it’s very unfair, really.

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      • People have been brainwashed into believing people of other races but their own are racists. There are people who are prejudiced. And their are people who are racist i.e. they want to eliminate people who don’t match their skin color and politics. It’s part of the division tactics. The people who hold power need to keep people divided, especially along racial lines, to hold onto their power.

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  5. Arts are also underappreciated here. Right from secondary school, it is believed that only intelligent people are or should be in the Science class. There was actually a case of a student who wanted to do Arts but her parents weren’t in support, they threatened to stop paying her school fees if she went for Arts instead of Sciences

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      • I have a friend who’s daughter wanted to continue here ballet at the university level. They refused to pay for her school unless she went into scientific are technical studies. Sad.

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      • If you can pay for it yourself, you can do it all. Laurie has advanced degrees in Art, Mathematics, Linguistics and now she’s working on a PhD in Medieval studies.

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      • That’s sooo coool! 😃 Would be a thrill to follow one’s dreams. Very inspiring!
        But I don’t expect 18 year olds to have the financial bandwidth to afford an education of their choice, in most cases.

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      • Not around here, these days. I paid Laurie’s tuition for the fall semester last month. UNM is a state university so tuition is a fraction of tuition at private universities. The tuition for 6 hours of graduate credit was $1800. But then the university adds on another $1200 of various graduate and administration fees, so the total was $3000.

        I don’t know what undergraduate tuition is but let’s assume the $300/credit hour for five 3 credit hour classes. The 15 credit hours is $4500. I’ll assume administration frees are only $500, so $5000 for tuition. There will be around $150 per class in books, so we have to add $750 for books. That’s $5750 for tuition and books for one semester. Assuming the same cost for 8 semesters to get a bachelor’s degree, the student will have spent $46,000 on tuition and books at a reasonably priced school. Then there are living expenses during those years in school. Few 18-year-olds are going to be able to pay to go to the university on their own.

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      • Hmm I get it. Thankfully, it doesn’t work that way in Asian countries (especially India). We always live with our parents (a cultural thing) and they always pay for our education and other expenses. “Moving out” is a foreign concept to us and it sounds frightening. Even those who leave the country for higher education rely on their parents. 🙂

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      • A lot of students here end up with tremendous debt by the time they get their degrees. It’s very difficult to pay off the loans. A person can declare bankruptcy to get out from under a lot of financial obligations. However, student loans are exempt from bankruptcy. So they are a lifetime burden until they are paid off. That’s why legislators talk about forgiving student loans. They don’t really care about the dept burden the students carry, they are trying to buy their votes.

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      • Painful! I guess Canada and European countries (especially Germany) prioritise education a great deal and the governments go out of their way to make life easier for students. Free higher education, strident grants, student offers in little shops, what not!

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  6. Excellent posts. There are a lot of things that need to be undone here, and politicizing and dividing people over almost everything is one of things that really needs to be undone.

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      • 😁
        Some of my favourite French movies were shot in Brittany. I’ve been quite “near” Brittany when I visited France but not exactly there. Will be there some day for sure! 😉😁

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, movies in Brittany is definitely on my “to-do” list 😉 Do visit! Sure, Paris is great but it would be like visiting India but only seeing Delhi, it is just a few hours from Paris but a world away!! 🙂

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      • Truly! Paris does not represent France. But it’s glorious indeed and worth the hype.
        Your posts always command the explorer in me to get to Brittany ASAP (May I say, I am a fan of your work). If I may ask, have you visited India? Not everyone knows that Delhi and the rest of India are wildly different, that’s why 😅 People either love India or hate it. There is no in between.

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      • Ok, so by “both countries” you meant India and the US. Got it now 😁 I understood the other one to be France. 8 years is a looong time for a Non-Indian to tolerate our country! 😃😱😄 I’m sooo glad you had a good experience. 😊🤍

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      • Yes, that is what I meant and apologies for the confusion! 😉 Haha, yes, it was a long time and it was not without its challenges but there are challenges wherever in the world you live! 🙂

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  7. I think color should be left out of the equation. Last time I checked..white is white. Whenever I look at my flesh colored hand I sure as hell don’t see white lol. Although being a 1/4 Syrian with a slightly darker flesh tone I have been known to consider myself an olive. The American Government, The 5 percenters (billionaire’s) ECT. Run this country into the ground. It’s a two class society Rich and Poor. There are just multiple degrees of poor…middle class in my opinion doesn’t exist. Also, local doesn’t give a shit about homeowners band will use eminent domain to acquire your property for that of some big business. I was born here, lived here for 51 years, but I have zero pride in being an American because this Nation was built on bad blood and continues as such. The American Dream doesn’t exist. It’s only a concept.

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    • The last line is hard-hitting and I’m afraid it’s real. People tend to romanticise the American dream so much but once we look further, we know that it’s just very hard for you. Living in a country where it’s hard to earn and everything is overpriced and heavily taxed will NEVER be easy. I also totally get what you mean by having only rich and different classes of poor. That is what my perception says too. My mother took what looked like a toy flight from one American state to another and cribbed about how she was almost penniless after that lol. Small flights don’t cost a fortune here. That was a tourist’s experience. I’m sure it’s harder for the citizens. Well, still better than living in unstable economies where the government gives no damn about its people (I don’t mean my country). Thanks for commenting! I needed American validation on my post and shall leave the gates open for any corrections. 😊🙏

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      • Honestly Sam, the Government here is only in it for themselves. As well as I feel about other countries. I think America is just better at camouflaging itself in regards to it’s corruption. I don’t feel the people that live in countries either run by dictators or Communism are any different from myself. The world is full of oppression. Some is just more harsh than others.

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  8. Very interesting! I can say there are 2 edges to capitalism. One is positive and one is not. If you have money and are doing well then it’s good. But we have the poor here too and the homeless, I think a lot more than Europe. It is free yes but again this is tied into economics. Also the global plague of far right politics also creates the white people being “in-charge” and makes it many times worse. Far right politics is anti-immigrant and often filled with racism against our own black and brown people.
    There was a news story of an older white women that went up to a man outside and started yelling and screaming at him to go back to his own country! However not only was he mowing his own lawn, but he was an American citizen! He “looked” Mexican.
    There are many stories like this. So I have to say your assessment of diversity is only partially correct.
    One more thing…..you left out the problem we have with GUNS! This again is due to far right politics. Many here believe they can walk around with assault rifles because they are “free”. It’s awful!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Wow, I really really appreciate this comment a great deal! There were many points I wanted to add but couldn’t due to the length but you’ve added so many excellent points.
      Far right politics is not helping at all. There seems to be almost no one in the centre. Racism is everywhere in the world, why even where I live. I added that point but deleted it, again worrying for the length 😅 Thanks for this very enriching comment, I’ve been wanting to be corrected on certain things. Insider’s validation is the most important. 😀
      Thank you so so very much for taking the time to read it all and leaving this wonderful comment. I truly appreciate it 🙏🤍 Thank you very much. 😁

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  9. in the conversation of race, nothing irritates me more than the word “minority”, like you said people of color / melanated people are the world’s majority . Albinism / having no melanin is a recessive trait , which makes white people the global minority. Although in my opinion, “pink people” is more accurate than “white people”! 🙂

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    • Haha pink people. I’d totally agree with that. In fact, black isn’t black either. In most cases, it’s just dark brown (sometimes even light brown). I’d be called “brown” considering my Indian origins, but I’m definitely more “yellow.” Can never make out how these terms came to be 🙂 Thanks a lot for your comment! 🙏

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      • Agreed! Black is really many shades of brown. Another problem in the USA is often oversimplifying race into black vs white…Asian, Indian, Indigenous people and others are here too, and too often ignored! I’m happy to find your blog and look forward to reading more from you😁

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      • Yeah, these are the ones I hear discussed often. In fact, white itself isn’t one big race. It is diverse, similar to Asian (which has to be East Asian). Thank you very much, that is very kind! ☺️🙏

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      • Exactly. And knowledge of geography is lacking in USA school curriculum. Kids really memorize all the state capitols, yet think Asia and Africa are singular countries🤦

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      • I KNOWWW!!! I watch Jimmy Kimmel’s shows on YouTube and I must say, I’m thoroughly amazed by the American ignorance. Yeah, it is staged and all that, but people do really think Africa is a country! 😅
        I would excuse that to an extent, but to think ASIA is a country! 🙄 I’m an Asian, so is a Chinese and a Russian (Atleast the Easterners). We’d all look wildly different snd follow different religions and culture. Ignorance of that level is shocking, really!

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      • Oh yes the ignorance here is quite shocking😆🤯 Public school is to blame in some part, but also In this modern era of technology, we could easily educate ourselves and become less ignorant. There’s no excuse not to have a decent grasp of global diversity by the time we’re adults!

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  10. I’ll answer your last question first. In our quest for political correctness, we have come up with ludicrous definitions. Sometimes we take things a bit too far.

    There is always something good to learn from others and things to unlearn. But we in our enthusiasm to ape the west pick up their bad habits first. 😅
    Wonderfully and cogently written analysis, Sahana. You should be proud of yourself. 🤗

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    • Oh, I so agree that we take things too far!
      YOU ARE SO RIGHT! That was exactlyyy my thought about “imitating the West”. We always pick the bad first (often in a way that challenges or threatens our culture). I wanted to mention many points regarding that but people would definitely take it to be a personal attack 😅
      Thank you so so very much for your kind words! 🙏💕🙏💕☺️

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  11. I agree with what you said. I know people who go to Canada for cheaper drugs and Singapore for cheaper procedures, but I didn’t know people are going to India for treatment too. It really makes sense. Medical care is a business and it is for profit. If anybody dares to object to it, he or she will be labeled a socialist or even a communist, even if growing up in a capitalism, nobody here really knows or learns what a socialist or a communist really is.

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    • Hmm very well said! India is one of the top 10 medical tourism destinations because of affordable healthcare and advanced equipments which people from developed countries and the urban rich here can afford. We actually have good healthcare here, just not a good distribution of it. The poor do not have access to much of it. They have government hospitals Ofcourse and they are not always the best.
      Yeah, people are always eager to label others.
      Thank you so so very much for your comment! ☺️🙏💕

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  12. This is a balanced article; thesis, antithesis and synthesis. You blended opinions with such grace, praising and critiquing relevant issues. It’s a great read, and shows yours is a global mind. Well done, Sam. 👏🖤

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  13. Vietnam War, Afghan war and the gun culture within the country aren’t things that we need to unlearn cos, we never learnt it, right? We Indians should continue to hold humanity over everything else, which seems to go missing in a few places, nowadays.

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  14. A wisely written, collaborative post.

    I like people who ask questions, and those who settle two-party matters. You did it very well.🙂

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  15. Great post and you have made really good points. As a society we give importance to things which needs to be ignored.

    More the power you have the more corrupt you become and same is true for US.

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  16. This was really an insightful and an interesting and engaging post to read. I like how you’ve managed to maintain a good balance on all these points and how you’ve explained each of them.

    Job well done on this piece!

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  17. Agree on all the points. It would also be great if we appreciate what we have before it is made popular by Americans! Like turmeric latte! Really? We have squirmed every time mom gave us Haldi doodh and now suddenly yellow latte is all the rage. Same with millets…no one paid attention till we heard about quinoa!

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    • Thanks for reading! That’s sooo true! For whatever reason, whatever they do, we seem to emulate it without thought. Even Yoga!! How ironic. It was invented in our land, we almost let it die, then when the Americans revived it, we’ve taken ourselves back to it! Strange…

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  18. Regarding the cost of health care in the USA, do you ever wonder if an excellent doctor would go to a country that allowed the doctor to make an excellent return on the doctor’s education and natural abilities or would that same doctor stay in a country where the doctor could not earn an exceptional return? I think a big contributor to excessive USA health costs is big Pharma and its policy of basing the price of drugs on the ability to pay. This is why the same drug in Canada is less expensive than in the USA. Another thing adding to USA Health Care costs are our abundance of attorneys anxious to sue, so doctors have to order every test conceivable plus pay malpractice insurance fees.

    Liked by 1 person

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