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Saturday, November 06, 2004

United States of Whatever

This past week was a very unusual week. The first unusual thing about it was the US elections and the amazing results that came from it. The other thing that made it unusual for me was that this was the first time I left the UK since the first day of September. Moreover, this week has shown me how the personal and the public are more intertwined than I sometimes realize.

This will only make sense if you know the basic geographical layout of North AmericaMy friend Ange Taggart sent me the map you see here the day after the majority of American voters gave the Bush regime another four years of power. I believe that this little graphics sums up quite a lot.

The map took on a new resonance for me these last couple of days as I visited the US-Canadian bordertown of Buffalo. I had been there before with my family around New Year's day in 1999. This time I saw it in a different light, not only because the last time I visited Niagara Falls it was blistering cold and this time is was pleasantly sunny, but also because I saw how meaningless political divides can be. If you've every visited Niagara Falls I guess you have a better understanding of what I'm trying to say here. Or perhaps this is too personal a feeling to express in words.

The world is now poised to endure another four more years of the actions that have made the United States of America hated by so many people around the world. I'm not surprised that more Americans have chosen to align themselves with the side that chooses to be hated, after all Jesus taught most of these people to turn the other cheek.

Surprisingly there's more solace to be found in Christian teachings than non-Christians or agnostics apparently think there is.

I'm now in New York City again, and I'll be here for another couple of days. I wonder how much sense what I've written here today will make by the time I return to my chosen life in the beautiful Yorkshire countryside town on the North Sea.

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