CHICAGO—Americans across the nation declared Tuesday that, after 230 years of trying to prove to England that the U.S. is a worthwhile and relevant country deserving of the European nation's respect, they are officially giving up.
"When America was only a couple of decades old, and England had been around for centuries, it was understandable that they looked down on us," said Rosie Hendricks, a mother of two from Arlington Heights. "But now, we've both been around for centuries. We're both international leaders. It's way past time England started treating us a little better."
"Yes, their royal family is cool, and yes, they have The Beatles and Shakespeare, but—well, they don't have to act so high and mighty," Hendricks said. "Every time they talk, it's like they think they're better than us. Do they think we don't notice that look on their faces?"
According to surveys, Americans are not looking for special treatment from the British, only a little bit of acknowledgement once in a while.
"All we want is one little nod of affirmation, a pat on the back, a 'good job' for some of the things we've done as a country," said Matthew Prousalis, a customer-service agent for AT&T Wireless in Peoria. "Really, all it would take is a quick 'Thanks for inventing the first successful gas-powered automobile. Keep it up.' That's it. But no, nothing."
"I've admired the British ever since I saw them on PBS as a kid," Prousalis added, blushing slightly. "Do they have any idea how bad they make us feel when they disregard us like this?"
Nicole Arndt, a computer-system sales representative from Chicago, said she was frustrated by England's dismissal of American entertainment.
"The British are always acting like we're so base," Arndt said. "Well, maybe we do go in for violence and sex a bit more than some other countries, but all around the world there are people who really love our movies and music. Just because we do things a little differently, that doesn't mean it's wrong."
Added Arndt: "In fact, I'd be willing to wager that, if we chose our five best movies from the past year and Great Britain chose theirs, and we asked an impartial country—let's say, Peru—they'd like our movies better. That'd knock England off her high horse."
Josh Feldman, an insurance claims adjuster in Union City, CA, said England assumes America is stupid.
"We have playwrights here doing some really advanced work," Feldman said. "Tony Kushner is giving it his all and writing what I hear are some very good plays. Not that England would ever notice."
Despite the two countries' decades of close political and economic alliances, many Americans said their counterparts in England should learn to appreciate what we do.
"We've cured lotsa diseases and invented a bunch of vital technologies," said Eric Pucci of Gruene, TX. "And I hate to bring this up, because they'll just call me a warmongering meathead or something, but we're breaking our backs to bring democracy to the whole damn world. England fights side-by-side with us, and yet they still treat us like they're deigning to form an alliance with us. Ask the rest of the world; you'll find a whole lot of nations who would want to be our friends. No, not everyone. But a lot of countries."
Alex Soellner, a Newport Beach, CA computer consultant, described his mood as one "more of resignation than exasperation."
"We tried so hard to catch your eye with our advances in Internet development, our soccer team, and our modern dance," Soellner said. "But you guys just keep acting like we're not a civilized country because we drink coffee instead of tea and our cops carry guns. That really stings."
Added Soellner: "Just because we don't have a cool accent, it doesn't mean we don't have any culture."
Many Americans expressed great relief at the declaration, saying it freed them from their personal struggles to defend America's legitimacy.
"I can focus on doing my own thing now, and I can finally stop worrying about whether or not the British are going to like my work," said Gary Sherwin, a post- doctoral bioinformatics researcher at Stanford. "From now on, I'm working for me and my colleagues, and if England doesn't like it, it's their loss. Of course, it'd be nice if, when they see what I'm doing, they're impressed, but I'm not holding my breath anymore."