Tuesday, 7 December 2010

My First Impressions of the U.S. of A

So, here it is. I've finally crossed the border onto American soil, my fourth country to visit this year, wooooyeah! (showoff.)

But it was not done so easily, as we had to cross the border in a car holding five different people, four different nationalities. Inevitably we were asked how we all knew each other. Figuring that 'couchsurfing' isn't something that most border police are familiar with, friends is that answer we had to give. it took a bit of persuasion but that's basically the only problem we encountered.

The guard who processed our visas was incredibly talkative and friendly, which either meant he was trying to get us to feel comfortable and slip up (not that I had anything to hide, other than the kilo of cocaine strapped to the bottom of our vehicle...I almost had you fooled then didn't I?!) or he just wasn't playing bad cop today.

So, country music from then on played on the radio, we cruised down to Seattle. In between yeeha's, we heard the most ridiculous radio broadcast any of us had ever come across. The presenter builds up this incredibly shocking piece of news like so, 'I have something to tell you all...(long pause)...but if you're standing up, sit down....(long pause)...If you're driving, I suggest you pull over and get ready for this...(I've never heard so much dead air, long pause)...If you have any pets, take them away from the radio as this might be quite unsettling...(what on earth is he going to say?! long pause)...you will be in an utter state of mental and physical shock from this breaking news...(shut up and tell us already!! long pause)...'

'The unemployment rate has fallen again this week, from 9.6% to 9.8%. and I'd like to say I don't really take sides when it comes to left or right wing politics, that's not our deal on this station. BUT, I have to say, the employment rate has only started to drop so badly in the 19 months President Obama has been in power. That is all...(more dead air)...'

Glenn 'that smarmy git' Beck
Needless to say, at this point we changed the station because this man is, quite clearly, a complete and utter idiot. And it was certainly not the only piece of slander we heard against poor old Obama that weekend. Those of you reading this from America I'm sure will be familiar with a certain gentleman named Glenn Beck. I've only heard snippets of this whirlwind of a human being from a friend in Seattle and what I've seen on the web. Basically, this is the guy who mocks Obama's 11-year old daughter, compares Obama to Hitler, and himself to Martin Luther King. Yeah, sure you are. Those of you who wish to find out more about what he thinks of himself, go here. If you want to hear somthing a bit more controversial, Google the son-of-a-gun.

Now, I'm not very politically minded, so I can't say a huge amount on the subject as I feel myself a little uninformed and ill-equipped. But the impression I got was that politically speaking, this country is messed up. But then again, so is ours and hundreds of others, so we can hardly hold that against America.

So my first impression were more or less what I predicted in terms of the huge political power America represents. They were certainly as brash as I had imagined, if not more. With all these strong characters floating about I find it hard to believe that everyone knows who's side to pick! I hope for the sake of this country, my own, and many more out there, that the political madness we find in this world doesn't take a sour turn and spiral out of control, if it hasn't done so already that is. There's not a lot more I like than a strong sense of identity, and I think we're all in danger of losing it if we don't keep a handle on what our country represents.

There is, quite clearly, no solution in what I've just said. The liklihood of characters such as Glenn Beck and Barack Obama ever seeing eye to eye is slim to none, and we all have different opinions. But the times will not a' change without a bit o' compromise, that is for sure.

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