Monday, October 27, 2008

Scared and Enthralled by the USA


❍New York. Welcoming, tolerant... but elsewhere

Isn’t it astonishing how America, or more accurately, the United States of America enthrals and scares so many people at the same time?
It enthrals because it has and is everything worldly. Huge cities, stores bigger than some small Irish towns, people larger than life.
It scares because, well, some of those people...

How can it be in a country which produces so much genius, that there are vast swathes where ignorance reigns?
How can so many people believe in guns?
How can so many people hate men other than white men?
How can so many people have so little interest in the world around them?
How come so many people don’t even know there IS a world around them?
How can the country which produces some of the best television and cinema in the world also produce the worst?
How can a country so deeply Christian be so utterly irreligious?
How can a country so welcoming of diversity be so intolerant?
It is that diversity itself, I suppose.
But it is more.
It is the innate selfishness of so many who know so little about so much.
Obama is a Muslim.
(As I write, there's a big lump of a Cuban American being interviewed on Sky News. He says he knows Obama is a Muslim because he wants to take from the rich and give to the poor. Eh, do you think, by any chance that guy's been in the sun too long? Or maybe, not in his Christian church long enough?)
He is a terrorist.
He isn’t even American.
Not to mention Dick Cheney, Sarah Palin, John Bolton
What the hell is it all about?
The US is the guardian of the world. Thank God it isn’t. But why do so many millions of Americans believe it is?
World War II?
Well, of course the US helped to win the war. But they haven’t exactly covered themselves in glory militarily since, now have they?
Korea, Vietnam, Grenada (even Ireland would have won that one) Iran, Iraq twice, Afghanistan, Colombia, Chile, Central America....
Sometimes, loving America, as I do, isn’t easy. It’s embarrassing, actually.
What’s really sad is this.
When I was a kid, a teen, I hoped Ireland would, one day, be more like America.
The music. Beach Boys, Jimi Hendrix, Lovin’ Spoonful...
The movies. Breakfast at Tiffany’s, The Thomas Crown Affair..
The buildings. The politicians - before I knew too much about them.
Now Ireland IS more like America.
But the worst of it.
Because it is now, on occasion, largely and certainly as regards the young, greedy, inward looking, trashy and cultureless.
God, I need a visit to New York.

1 comment:

KayleighHynes said...

interesting article.
The whole Be-A-Hero syndrome that seems to have infected the states since 1945 is really the fault of the older generation Americans who told their war stories and glorified the whole situation with America rising up as the beloved saviour of the world (just look at all the big budget movies with that tag line). Since then, their involvement in Vietnam, Iraq wars etc really just seems to be the childhood dreams of the current president/ generation to be remebered in history books as the hero's of their time. It's all a bit like little boys playing war.