Poland? Portugal? What’s the difference?

What do Poland and Portugal have in common? 4 letters. P,o,l and a. While that may confuse Vanna White or Pat Sajak, I really don’t think that it should confuse the Vice-President of the United States of America. But, it did.

Vice-President Joe Biden

Vice-President Joe Biden

According to The Telegraph, VP Joe Biden confused the two countries in a foreign policy speech last weekend. Read his statement below from the corrected White House transcript.

We have seen positive steps recently to address the eurozone crisis, with the European Central Bank pledging to stand behind countries willing to launch reforms, and with Greece, Ireland, Poland* [*sic-Portugal], Spain and Italy all taking important steps to put their economies on a sounder path. Governments across the eurozone must also remain focused on growth and jobs.

In case you’re a bit confused, he said Poland, and once someone at the White House realized the mistake, they corrected the transcript to show what he really meant to say. Amateurish at best. Insulting at worst.

I’ll not lean too hard on Uncle Joe today because the problem goes much deeper. Americans’ knowledge of world geography is deplorable. If it is not in North America (i.e. the US, Canada or Mexico), Americans don’t know where it is.

I don’t want to go on a mean-spirited rant about politicians, public education, ignorance or anything else for that matter. So, instead I’ll just ask the question, who should be more insulted by Biden’s gaffe, Portugal or Poland?

  • nina in portugal

    Well, since I have a polish last name, but live in Portugal….I’ll stay out of this debate.

    But you get a heavy Amen out of me for this statement: “Americans’ knowledge of world geography is deplorable.”

  • William Harper

    Americans’ knowledge of world geography is deplorable. If it is not in North America (i.e. the US, Canada or Mexico), Americans don’t know where it is. AMEN!!!!! Don’t know how many times I have heard “What part of Russia is Lithuania in?”

    • http://cbcpm.net Michael

      Yep. People think Portugal is part of Spain, too. Or, they confuse Portugal and Brazil. Sad, but true.

  • Mom

    I feel that my knowledge of world geography is just passable. We should all be more aware of the planet God blessed us with.

  • Ines

    Well, I´m Polsh living in Portugal for a couple of years. Hardly ever somebody of older generation knows where Poland is. They might eventually know some famous figures like John Paul II ou Lech Walesa. I got used to. You cannot expect village people with 4-grade education to have wide horizons. They try to be nice though 🙂 As far as geography – I appreciate Polish education system, learning world map by heart and standing there in front of the class waiting to be examined 🙂

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