Thursday, 3 August 2017

Only In America

I have recently joined a group of writers in my local town. It's a very informal bunch of random people who like to put things down on paper for no particular reason. I'm not expecting to find any great knowledge there, I'm possibly the second most experienced writer there, but I do feel the need for some social interaction with real, not virtual, people. I'm not saying my Facebook friends aren't wonderful, they are, but I'm getting too isolated in the virtual world.

The thing about this group is they meet every week, not monthly, and they meet during the day. That maybe says something about the members, no one has to be at work, but what does that matter? The weekly thing is great because you have to get on with the task in hand instead of putting it off until, oh my god, it's the meeting tomorrow. Not that it is compulsory to do anything, neither is it compulsory to attend, but the challenge is there if you want to take it up. Every week a topic is chosen and we go away and think about it.

I have decided to share what I have done for this group with a wider audience, ie my blogging readers, if I have any, still.

This was my first offering on the subject of Only In America.

I know a lot of fellow indie authors from America through Facebook,  so I am aware, maybe 
more than most, of what is happening over there. A good friend has also travelled extensively
to many parts of the States and has given me extensive insight into the varying levels of
society there. The contrasts in that conglomeration are enough to make the sane mind boggle.
It must be remembered that America is not one country. It is a collection of separate states
that have their own laws, their own education systems to name just a couple of things.
So maybe it is not so surprising that only in America you can find the following contrasts.
Although it is some time ago now, I also visited in 1995 when my husband was secondment
with his job.

Only in America can you find some of the world's top scientists, doctors, engineers, 
innovative technology pioneers and yet have the most backward and ignorant people in
the western world. People who believe and promote the idea that dinosaur bones were
planted by God to test a person's faith.

Only in America will you find a space program with scientists who want to go to Mars 
alongside people who claim the moon landings were fake, global warming is a conspiracy
and burning fossil fuels is fine.

Only in America do people wear wristbands telling bystanders not to call an ambulance 
if they are found unconscious because they cannot afford the costs involved in using an
ambulance, while at the same time American doctors lead the way in innovative treatments,
surgeries and therapies.

Only in America are corporations running roughshod over the health and safety of the 
citizens of said country...well maybe the same can be said in some less desirable parts 
of the world,  but America is quickly becoming one of those less desirable places instead
of the leader of the world to be admired.

The world often views America through the eyes of the TV shows it produces, but real 
life varies from state to state, town to town. In many places it is lagging behind much
of the Western world in terms of infrastructure,  technology and knowledge. The
level of general ignorance amongst even those in power is staggering. I read a cringe
making post from an Air America service desk worker at Washington airport not so
long ago quoting questions that had been posed by Senators. I can't remember them
all but one that stands out in my memory was one complaint from someone who 
doesn't like flying because they couldn't get a train to Hawaii.

When you hear these things it is no wonder that in America you can have someone
like Donald Trump elected as President. Sad, very sad. But the saddest thing seems
to me that our own government seems to admire the American health system and
would love to privatise our own. Let's hope we don't start saying 'only in the uk'!

No offence meant to any sensible Americans who may read this!

Copyright©Kristen Stone 2017

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