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Not All Love Lost

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by Darrin McMahonI was in Argentina last week, and surprised at how often and how warmly the people I met there responded to the fact that I was American. One particularly endearing man, now in his 80s, had worked for Sears in the 1950s selling appliances, and relished the thought of going back. Another told of how he had watched his parents weep over the news of President Kennedy's assassination ("Era Católico!"), and rocked out in his teens to Dylan and Jimi Hendrix. The younger ones asked more about American universities, Hollywood, or the economy than the war on terror or Iraq.

Perhaps I was just lucky, but it made me appreciate something that I think is easy to forget if we place too much weight on America's standing in the world according to the latest Pew findings or this Hendrik Hertzberg piece: Despite the best efforts of recent years, there is still a tremendous fund of both actual and potential philo-Americanism out there. As important as bemoaning lost love is thinking creatively about how we can keep--and spread--the love we have left.

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