I have spent most of my life as an attorney traveling to scores of countries around the world, but only recently did I set about systematically asking people what they thought of my country, the United States.
It was just after the midterm elections in 2018, when a great many voters showed that they desperately wanted to move America in directions different from the ones the Trump administration had charted for them. Opinions were so divergent and so bitterly divided. It struck me that by posing a series of questions to thoughtful people in dozens of countries—people who had some experience of America—one might gain perspectives useful to us here at home.
“America is a great place to get ahead, but it’s a really bad place to be left behind.”
Over time, 100 individuals from 32 countries volunteered to answer 15 questions. But, over time, cataclysmic events affected perceptions. I had to go back to my respondents after the onset of the COVID pandemic with a new set of questions. I may ask them still more about the impact of George Floyd’s killing and the outrage that followed.