USA Today

I’m just back in Worcestershire from the United States and suffering from jet lag so please take that as an excuse for the slightly surreal description of my latest impressions of society on the Other Side of the Pond. Life for most people seems to be continuing much as it has for the past few years: the lights remain switched on, the shops are open, the internal combustion engine reigns supreme and church attendance is higher than it has been for years. The purpose of my visit was really to meet up with friends in Austin but, of course, I did my best to keep my eyes and ears open between social engagements.

During the brief time I was in the country, the US bombed Afghanistan with the largest non-nuclear weapon in the History of the World, security vetting of the highest officials in government was found to have been negligible, the White House budget proposal was revealed to be a single, double-spaced page of waffle and the One-Hundred-Day President told the country that he was finding it all a lot harder than he had expected. Mr Trump confounded his listeners by first claiming to have sent his biggest battleship to show force off the coast of North Korea and by then publicly sympathising with Kim Jong Un – a poor, troubled young man struggling to live up to his father’s reputation. And lest we assume that The Donald has taken his eyes off of Europe, the president tweeted that the murder of two police officers in Paris would be likely to help the chances of National Front candidate, Marine le Penn.

No fictional dystopia, whether of the page or the screen, has ever come close to the reality that is unfolding in the White House before our very eyes and so who could blame the majority of the population, whose lives after all seem to be going on much as before, from keeping the covers so firmly pulled over their heads? Compared to much of the rest of the world, life for the majority of Americans is both safe and prosperous so is it any surprise that they can continue to live on the edge of a volcano while the sun still shines and soil is so bountiful? Just before I left it was revealed that that battleship had actually been somewhere off the coast of the Philippines, apparently steaming in the opposite direction. After all, North Korea or North Island New Zealand? It all depends on your knowledge of geography and the scale of your map.

Anyway, as I boarded my Greyhound bus for Houston, preparations were well underway for something much more important. The Leader of the Free World was getting ready for another public rally of his core supporters. It is to be in Pennsylvania, where he is no doubt looking forward to whipping up the crowd with promises of bread and circuses. I’m sorry, that should read “the re-opening of the coal industry and a limited nuclear war”. Expect some fiery rhetoric from POTUS. What is a “potus” you ask yourself? Another modern day expression like “twenty four seven“, “reach out to” or “twitterverse” for us to get used to? No, it may sound ominously like a cross between the words “potentate” and “portentous” but what POTUS actually stands for is “President of the United States”. Expect to hear it a lot more from now on.

Before I leave this difficult subject to resume preparations for my next trip, I must just throw in the odd comment about Ivanka, the newly styled “First Daughter”, so recently booed by the audience at a “Women in Power” conference in Germany. I can’t but be disappointed in this lack of hospitality towards a women who has skilfully capitalised upon her father’s weaknesses so as to have herself prominently placed on the centre of the world stage whilst holding no relevant qualifications at all. She reminds me of that lovely but anodyne beauty pageant contestant who manages to keep her rictus smile firmly in place as she explains to the judges how she wants to “work with sick children and bring about world peace”. Congratulations, my dear, you’ve just got the job.

Categories: North America

1 Comment

Leave a Reply