I've just got to vent about so many of my friends hopping on the 'anti-american' bandwagon...
So many of them seem to have this unreasonable hate of someone else, when they know nothing more about them than what their accent is. It's a pure 'racist' attitude.
One friend of mine was all set to hate someone, until someone told him her accent was Canadian. Now he likes her. A LOT.
Another friend laughed mockingly at US customs when he heard they didn't know where Queensland was. I asked him where he thought 'Arkansaw' was. He looked at a map of the USA and said "Well I can see Arkansas... but no Arkansaw..."
Anyway, Australians love to hate Americans. We also love their movies, their tv, their technology, their culture in general. We love to hate some of it, but there is so much of it that we simply consume, without even realising that it's American. We think we're so cool because we can go anywhere in the world and people think we're great because we're Aussies. Well let me assure you - because of our lovely Prime Miniature and the support he's received from over half of the Australian people, that's changing!
When we travelled 3 years ago, even 2 years ago, I proudly wore an Aussie flag on my pack. (accompanied by an aboriginal flag in a feeble attempt to offset the union jack). Last year when we travelled, I felt that the world (or more correctly, Australia) had changed enough that I wasn't proud to advertise myself as an Australian oversseas. Anyway, that is a different story...
I'm the first to admit that American foreign policy (and much of it's internal policy) leaves much to be desired. I also admit that there are a lot of Americans who have not had the opportunity to be educated about the world in a way that is not overly US-centric. This does breed a form of arrogance that many people hate. However America has produced (and is stil producing) some of the smartest, nicest, most brilliant people on earth. It produces scientific breakthroughs that will carry the world forward, past challenges like AIDS and Cancer, it produces movies that we lap up, products that we love to consume and a culture that, although we like to think we say 'no' to it, pervades our lives in ways that we welcome.
So if your first reaction when you meet an American is 'Oh no... An American!? I hate Americans!', then I'd like you to explain to me how that is different from someone meeting an African and thinking 'Oh no, a black person'? It's not 'biological race' based, but geographical is the same thing.