July 27, 2006

The Bright Side Of Life

An attempt at optimism from Scotsman.com:
Having said that, in a lot of ways, visiting the States at the moment is a good way to reinforce your faith in human nature. In five days of travel, I didn't hear a single word of support for George W Bush. In fact, many of the people I spoke to were genuinely embarrassed by his attitudes and behaviour.

If this is a troubling time to be in a special relationship with America, it is even harder on those who call the vast country home...
But it's really not all that optimistic, as anyone familiar with Scots would expect:
All the American journalists I spoke to seem convinced Hillary Clinton and Condoleezza Rice will have a shot at the presidency next time, at least breaking years of macho cowboy posturing. They might also introduce some female sanity to how America is run.

Stepping off the plane and approaching US immigration these days is an ordeal guaranteed to put anyone off the idea of a holiday in America. After an eternity of queuing you are confronted with government officials who seem to start from the standpoint that you have done something wrong and don't belong in their country.

Every airport and train station crawls with brusque officials desperate to exert their little bit of authority. Tannoy announcements warn anyone joking about anything to do with terrorism will now be charged with a federal offence carrying huge prison terms. After clearing Customs I was threatened with arrest by a little fat lady with a gun because I had chosen to wait for someone at the exit of the customs hall. Apparently, that was a severe breach of regulations. By stepping across an adjacent white line I was no longer in the customs hall so wouldn't have to be arrested or shot.

Of course, that kind of behaviour stems from the paranoia Bush has introduced into America as part of his campaign to try to keep the nation onside. Regardless of our special relationship, a white skin and Scots or English accent is no longer enough to win Brownie points with American bureaucracy. If you don't have a US passport, you are a potential security risk. It's as simple as that. What life must be like for American Muslims when confronted by officialdom doesn't bear thinking about.
Of course, modern readers demand a happy ending:
But then came Veronica. As I sprinted down the jetty on eventual arrival in Atlanta, she reopened the gate, found me a boarding pass and ushered me last onboard.

"Hey, you made it. Have a great flight and come back soon," she said. I will, because Veronica, not George W Bush, is what makes America great.
Hoots the noo! It's all shite and tollie! T'was a braw, bricht, moonlicht nicht....


Blog Archive