Civilizational Advance

A cute video from Russia where a driver of a bus mocks a veteran of the war in Ukraine and chases him away with a baseball bat. “I lost my legs defending our country,” the clearly drunk veteran wails. The passengers giggle.

This isn’t a sign of the people in Russia being against the war. Remember how shocked I was when I saw a group of passengers on an American bus wait patiently and with no sign of annoyance for a wheelchair to be lifted into a city bus? Respect and kindness towards invalids isn’t something that exists everywhere. It’s a precious civilizational advance that many cultures haven’t yet evolved to experience.

Please think about this video every time somebody suggests that “America is just as bad.” Such a person has absolutely no idea about anything.

6 thoughts on “Civilizational Advance

  1. On my dad’s first return trip to Vietnam, around 2005, his host’s family took him to the beach. The route ran over a section of sandy track where the motorbikes tended to get stuck. They came upon a couple of young ladies trying to push their xe moto up a sandy slope, so Dad went and helped them get it unstuck.

    Their response was “Oh, so you’re American?”

    He was like “How did you know??” Because, there are lots of roundeye tourists in VN– most of them, at that time, were Germans or Russians (and apparently both are hated by the locals because they are total bastards when they travel).

    “Because you stopped to help. Nobody else does that”

    We all puzzled over this one. Like… really? Only Americans stop to help when people are obviously in need of assistance? I guess that’s a thing. So weird coming from the South, particularly, where if I pull the car over on the roadside just to answer a phone call, or solve some kind of intractable kid dispute in the backseat without wrecking the car… it takes three minutes or less for someone else to pull over and check on me. So if it’s not an emergency I usually try to find a parking lot so I’m less conspicuous! It’s not like I’m young and pretty anymore– I definitely look like someone’s frumpy middle-aged mom. They still stop, because that’s what you do.

    Yeah, we take that very much for granted.

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    1. Here in the upper midwest, cars often get stuck in the snow in winter, and I love the fact that total strangers will jump out of their own cars to help someone who is stuck get unstuck. I love this country.

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      1. When I was pregnant, I used to go on long walks up to the moment of birth. Drivers would see me trudging along with my huge belly and would constantly stop and offer rides. It was so heart-warming.

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    2. Yes, it is true, only Americans do that. Not that there are not kind people elsewhere, but an average American is more likely to help than an average person from another country. Where I come from, people are more likely to laugh at you and call you stupid (and nowadays even record a video of you struggling and post it online so other can laugh as well) than to help you. A good number of years a go, I was really struggling to get out of a parking space that had a raised pavement on one side. I was simply stuck there due to the position of my wheels and just could not get out. A kind man has seen me, came to my car and started to gesture for me which way to turn my wheels and when to go back and forth and helped me to get out of the small space. Some time after that I have seen a video of a woman from my country on the social media in the same predicament and bunch of people laughing at her how stupid she was. No one helped her. At that point, I have realized that it could have been me… I am grateful to live here.

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  2. To be fair, though… when we were in Latin America, total strangers helped us all the time and their generosity was astonishing. So I don’t think it’s just Americans. But probably VN doesn’t get many Peruvian tourists. And… maybe it varies depending on whether you’re on home turf or visiting somewhere else. I dunno.

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  3. I guess I also take this for granted. So that I am shocked when the opposite occurs.

    About 6 years ago, with young children in my car, I got a flat tire in NYC near a public park where we’d gone for an organized sport.

    I approached a group of young men and asked for help and they refused to give me any. Basically ignored me and shrugged. I ended up calling my husband who came somehow and helped. I was quite surprised and disappointed at their response and ultimately chalked it up to a “don’t get involved in other people’s problems” kind of thinking.

    Not sure if this fact is related or causal, but we were not of the same racial background.

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