Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Max Post 9/11 (and a hint of Gun Story 1)

I was telling DD the other day that I feel foreign when I am in the US so I am going to explain why that is, if I can. The sense of not belonging there seems to come from the fact that I was not in the US on the 11th of September and I have not been there for what has happened in the aftermath. I don’t understand the sudden burst of overt patriotism, which looks very strange when seen from a continent where flag-waving only normally goes with international sporting events. I don’t understand the fear factor and why it is that the “threat” seems to have been blown out of proportion. I am not sure that I know what the Department of Homeland Security actually does.

(Monkey and I saw Tom Ridge in a pub in London last January. I had to convince Monkey that the secret service men would be able to get to him faster than he would be able to get his dinner knife firmly inserted into Ridge’s neck.)

My big sister got married (for the 2nd time) in August of 2002. It was my second trip back to the US since 9/11. We were having a family dinner the night before the wedding and I was pissed off at my sister, for reasons I won’t go into at this time. The reason I had a gun in my handbag also had nothing to do with the current topic; luckily (unfortunately?) my little brother-in-law had not asked me to also hold his ammunition. It was actually a nice dinner during which I mostly just ignored my big sister and chatted with my nephew and my little sister, who were on either side of me. After dinner I ordered an espresso, which was served with a twist of lemon on the saucer. I drink espresso regularly and had never, except in the film Beverly Hills Cop, seen a twist of lemon anywhere near it.

So I said, without really thinking and to no one in particular, “Oh, lemon, hmm, must be an American thing.”

And my new brother-in-law’s cousin that was sitting on the other side of my little sister, said nastily (and rather unfairly, I thought), “If you don’t like it here, why don’t you go back to Europe?”

And I was beaten. I should have had a go at her and called her all kinds of nasty words (I have loads stored up for occasions such as these) but instead I apologised and explained that I had not meant to cause any offence. That was it: that was the moment I realised that I had no idea what was going on in the US.

The next day my little brother-in-law explained to me that things had become different since 9/11, and that people really believed the rhetoric about “if you are not with us then you are with the terrorists,” and anything can and will be misconstrued as being un-American. And I had thought Joseph McCarthy was dead.


Devastatin' Dave said...

"Patriotism is the last refuge of scoundrals."

The problem is that democracy is working just as it should, because it is nothing more than mob rule. It's 51% telling 49% what to do. Currently, GW's mob is in control and after the 2008 election another mob will be in control.

As for the "America, love it or leave it" bromide, I'd just as soon bitch-slap the person that uses it. Apparently, the immoral, criminal, parasitic rulers and their sychophants can stay, but the rest of us have to bug out. I may just take them up on their offer one of these days.

Anonymous said...

It's too bad about the US being so damn paranoid. It's more difficult for us Canadians to cross the border. Before GW Bush jr. I felt like we were friends and neighbours hopping over to borrow sugar and now I feel like it's never a good time to come by and say hi or they slam the door in my face.

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