So, here we are in the States, and we’re world travellers, and we’ve been there, seen that, done it, got the T-shirt in too many places to mention. (Okay, since you asked, Australia, Austria, Barbados, Belgium, Canada, China, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Kenya, Luxembourg, Macau, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore, Spain, Sri Lanka, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, The Netherlands, and Trinidad and Tobago). And in all that time, I’m not sure if we’ve come to anywhere as disorienting as the USA. At times its easy to imagine its completely normal – in fact, times when you think “Wow, it would be great to live here”. Things like good, cheap hotels and food. And then there are other times, when it just seems plain screwy.
Like today, when I heard somebody on a radio talk show saying “How can anybody not accuse America of being uninterested in world affairs. We’ve got troops fighting in Afghanistan, Iraq and Liberia. Hell, we’re deeply involved in world affairs”.
And how about American laws. We’re in a country where it’s legal to own a sub-machine gun, and where rich guys buy F15 fighter jets to get to Vegas for the weekend. But where it’s illegal to own or install a toilet that flushes more than 1.6 gallons of water per flush.
And how about this for a great example of American freedom – I read it in the LA Times last week. A guy, who’s a suspect for the anthrax cases last year, has been followed and video’d by the FBI for 9 months, in their blacked-out-window vans. So he decided he was going to put his camera to the black glass and take a picture of the guys inside. And as he stepped into the gutter to do this, the FBI guy panicked and drove off – right over the suspects foot, breaking it. And what happened? Well, of course the suspect was charged with jaywalking and fined. The FBI didn’t have to do anything, after all they are the FBI. Are they really going to catch this guy doing anything illegal – he’s known that he’s being watched, and has done ever since CNN named him as a suspect, and said that he was being tailed by the FBI to try and pin something on him. Mind you, it worked, they might never have got him for jaywalking if they hadn’t been following him!