Question

Recently I posted this Q+A on LinkedIn: German Angels. What? Getting over 2k views, it must have struck a chord. One of my followers commented: "John, I like your way of describing your deep love with the Germans!" He meant "for" the Germans. Allow me to turn that into a Q+A: "John, do you love the Germans?"

John Magee

Love is the biggest word in the human language. Because it is the biggest thing in human experience. It is the greatest power. Ask any parent of a child about their love for that child. Ask them if they would give their life for their child. More precisely, ask any parent what fraction of a second they would need to decide whether to give their life for their child.

Unfortunately, the greatest, and perhaps holiest, word in the human language, and in human experience, gets thrown around loosely. "I love pizza." Or "I love Bayern M√ľnchen soccer club." Or "I love jazz music." Or ... you get the message. What folks mean is they like.

You see love is exclusive to us human beings. Perhaps also to the animal kingdom, but I cannot judge. Love brought us into the world. Without love we're pretty much lost. Oh, we can forge on. We can trudge on. And there are plenty of the walking dead among us, or walking half-dead.

But love is human. And it is personal. As my Uncle Otto - Jesuit priest and Professor of Theology at Georgetown University in Washington, DC - would say: "You can't love a thing, like a car. And a thing, like a car, cannot love you back. You can only love people. And only people can love you back."

So, do I, John Magee, love the German people. I most certainly love individual Germans. Many of them. And I think that they love me back. But I most certainly also like, admire, respect, and honor many character traits of the German people. And, yes, the Germans, like any people, have character traits.

In fact, that is what my work is all about. Identifying, describing, and hopefully explaining, some of those German traits. Along with doing the same with Americans. Then contrasting them. So that the two cultures can better understand each other. So that they, in turn, can better collaborate.

So, yes, there is a huge amount about the German people that I like. Really like, admire, respect, honor. But everything about the German people? Nope. No. No way. How could that be? They're people. And people have their strengths and weaknesses. Just like Americans. Just like me. Just like you. Heck, I don't even like everything about me.