Ugh. So, I was quite excited to move to America (even though I thought it would be a little more temporary than it turned out to be). But, now I find myself complaining about it, more than anything. Which, yes, does make me feel guilty because I don’t think that is very nice when I have been welcomed to this country, and many Americans have been very wonderful to me (and taught me wonderful things!). So, it baffled me. Especially as: my life is pretty good here. Yeah – Europe / Canada might suit me better. But, I do have a great time here. So why did I spend two days crying at being stuck here? Why such a strong and passionate view? I think it is y’alls media! I think the net effect of following news sites and social networking sites has just been to make me hate this country – and probably quite unfairly.
It hit home today. So, anyone who knows Wes & I know that, certainly for this election, we fall on opposite sides of the political line. Me: Obama all the way. I love the guy, and think Romney is a tool to a worrying extent. Wes quite likes Romney, and in the whole world, only hates Nancy Pelosi more than Obama. How do we figure it out? Eh… there is more common ground than you think (I am probably a fiscal conservative, but a social liberal; Wes is socially libertarian [let people have access to gay marriage / abortion etc and make up their own minds what is right with their conscience – my version of social liberal] but fiscally identifies more with the Romney campaign than the Obama one), but the day to day working of two passionate hard-heads in one house is really the topic for another post 😉 Anyway, the power of the media to depress hit me today when I discussed with him the following reports:
Romney did not cancel his campaign tour in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, but turned them into ‘relief’ tours where he collected food and goods donations for the Red Cross. Panicking that people would not turn up with donations, he gave $5,000 to his campaign, who went to Walmart and bought things. Romney then posed with ‘members of the public’ handed them over to him. Unfortunately the Red Cross can’t use a lot of what was bought, but hey ho.
Now… I didn’t actually think that was a particularly bad thing. I think it would be unreasonable for the leader of the Republican Party to cancel his tour less than a week before the election – come on, he has a job to do. Yeah, what he bought was not ideal, but he didn’t take money from the Red Cross… it is just a waste of his own money really (and I am sure it will all get used somehow). Yeah, it might be a bit dishonest… but didn’t Obama get accused of similarly staging photo ops? Is it really a big deal? Is it any different to kissing babies who these guys really don’t care about? Eh… I was left cold.
But, I mentioned it to Wes. He said ‘well, if it is true, it is a big deal to me, but don’t believe everything you read’. When I said to him that it did seem fairly true, he just shrugged and said ‘I am so sick of this election’. I felt horrible. I could see the defeatism in him: he hates Obama, but the media (+ a Democrat wife… ooooopps) have kind of killed the Republican party for him. Sure, he will vote Romney. But he doesn’t seem overjoyed by it.
I don’t know Wes’ deep feelings on this. But, like many Americans, he does just seem defeated. And I don’t know if this is why, but I feel defeated because the media have convinced me that America is a terrible place. It convinced me that America is trying to put homophobic anti-feminists in charge of the free world. The bitching from both sides has left me with a negative impression of both sides: the right are evil, the left are complaining, whining, mud-slinging people bent on unfair smear campaigns. That’s because I generally follow left media, I am sure if I followed the right-wing media, I would be left with the exact same position, but switched.
I don’t think I have ever been submersed in so much bitching and negativity before 😦 It is really hard to stay positive.
What can you do about it? Well… I would say “Don’t watch Fox News”. While I think this is excellent general advice if you want to (1) not be horribly misinformed about the world and (2) have decent female role models – I am not sure it will solve this problem as the left wing media is just as depressing (it even kills me). Ugh.
Other options? No media? But you want to be informed. The BBC? But you want an American opinion. Holing up in a cave deep in the forest? Probably the best idea yet 😉
For my part, I think I should just apologize for being ratty, stop reading all this bs, and list 10 things I love about America:
(1) How welcoming so many people are. You WILL have a baby shower, and a birthday party and a bachelorette – even if you are new. And you won’t have to contribute anything. It’s really sweet how much Americans celebrate life events.
(2) Along those lines: vacations. It’s party city throughout the year: 4th July, Thanksgiving, Halloween, Christmas. And they come complete with special food and special decorations, and so many cool baby (and adult) clothes. Love it!
(3) Oreos, Chex Mix, Pretzel Flipz. Get with the program Britain.
(4) A very open and welcoming attitude to Christians. Plus, more Christians (I think?). As I believe in the power of prayer, I am mightily pleased to have so many people praying for me.
(5) Big houses. So much room for activities.
(6) Ridiculously luxurious hospitals.
(7) Willingness to drive huge distances = lots of fun day trips.
(8) The Cheesecake Factory.
(9) Lots of fun places to go here: hiking, boating, the coast, big cities. It is a fun country.
(10) Many, many dear and awesome people.
What do you love about America?