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What is it about that fucking country? I know it's retarded; a horrible place for someone used to the things we take for granted here in Europe, but for some inane reason I want to go there. I want to live and work there, and the only sense it makes is the jobs - there's a lot more of them out there for someone with my skills.
But it's more than the jobs. It's the cities - I've visited New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Miami and I loved the hell out of every bustling, vibrant one of them. It's the weather - New York is like England turned up to 11, California and Florida were so blazingly beautiful I just wanted to lie in the sun forever. It's the people - every last person I met in the US was so incredibly friendly and nice it's hard to believe it's the home of the KKK and WBC. Was it the food too? I read labels religiously and some of the additives in American food make me nauseous just reading about, but I'm sure I have never eaten better than in some of the restaurants we ate at.
There are so many stupid little things to love about America as a tourist, so to stop myself making doe eyes at the visa information website I have to remind myself of a couple things. They pay servers way below minimum wage to incentivise customer service, and everyone seems to be just fine with that. What part of 'minimum' are they missing out on? You get charged for ambulance rides and every visit to a doctor or emergency room has to be covered by your mandatory private-sector health insurance or you'll be in debt til the day you die. Knowing what I do about my partner's health makes this point a particularly sickening one - we'd have to be millionaires to cover his premiums. Here, he's cost the NHS millions a day and the only thing it cost his parents was sleepless nights. The country's morals are incredibly, insanely warped by its Puritan roots - but we'e getting almost as bad here so maybe that's not so much a negative point than a comment on the world at large. As above, this is the country that the KKK and Westboro Baptist Church call home, and they're not the only crazies by a long shot.
There are so many stupid little things to hate about America, and so many stupid litle things to love about it. Do I still want to go there, abandon this trainwreck of an island in hopes of a different bag of ups and downs?
rough hewn politicians rode you with a broken leg while they gather whispering, usually in this situation we'd just put her down. but you're a beautiful creature. they steady you with steel and stitch you up with ropes of highway. some beautiful things must come to an end.
and just to think...despite all the military bases, security checkpoints, access codes, retina scans, metal detectors, polygraph tests, background checks, profling, passwords, walls, fences, lines in the sand, and secret handshakes, we have done very little to lock "them" out, but quite a bit to lock "us" in.
From a book that I've been reading called Off The Map (CrimethInc., 2003)... "Girls," she said, "please stay here. Please stay here with Hansa and I in our flat until you find a place to stay. We've been up late talking about you, and we've been saying how inspiring was our conversation, and I think we could learn so much from each other because we are so different, and still so the same. Will you stay?" We stayed. The next night Jana and I sat whispering in the kitchen by candlelight after everyone else had gone to bed. "It's so simple," she said. "Really Kika, it's simple: to love yourself and to love others, to not damage yourself or others. I don't know why we make it so complicated." Somehow it did seem simple when Jana said it. It still seems simple when I sit across from her by candlelight, sipping hot tea out of one of her huge mugs, or when I walk through the night with her while she does imitations of George Bush. "Since everyone loves America, and wants to be like us," she intones, "it's our duty to give other countries that opportunity..." I'm laughing on the Charles bridge, clutching my stomach at her near-perfect English and dead-on imitation of Bush's presidential platform. "How stupid," Jana says. "Why would we want to be like America? We have our own culture, own language, our own ideas. I don't want to be like America." I don't want to be like America either, not that part of America anyway. I don't want to be like anything that tries to get me to buy my dreams instead of making them myself. I'd rather tend the wounds of my dreams when they crash into someone else's reality than give them up. I'd rather make maps of their scars and accept their ever-changing forms than buy into the huge, pre-packaged dream that's sold in the global supermarket. I don't want to learn the rhythm of complacency. It isn't an easy undertaking to rebuild your world. It's habit for the juice of dreams to get wrung out in theory and cynical pragmatism, to be questioned and processed into a corner of silence or defeat. But when we live in our own worlds, worlds we have dreamed and created, worlds which sometimes surprise us, worlds we share and speak about loudly, resistance again becomes innate.