‘Freedom’ Can Be An Ugly Word In The Wrong Mouths

Fifteen years in America taught me a lot about the people, the country, and the way it was governed. What I learned from the people was that they are as much a mixed bunch of human beings as one would find in any nation on earth. You’ll find the good, the bad, and the ugly, wherever you go.

The country was just too big for me. I lived on a small island most of my life, and if I can’t smell the sea in the wind I feel smothered. There’s a lot of ground to cover in America if you want to get, well, almost anywhere, apart from a Menards or a McDonalds, or some other national chain store existing in just about every town from ‘sea to shining sea’. They all sell the same stuff, serve the same burgers, and the Walmart in Portland, Maine will look identical to the one in downtown Los Angeles, both inside and out. Not that that’s so unusual these days, the big chain stores in the UK are going the same way, and every store you enter that’s the French equivalent of Walmart (known as E. Leclerc) is as near identical to the last one as it’s possible to make it. It’s called progress, but I’m not sure for whom.

As for the US government, you’d better read some of the back posts on this blog if you’re in any doubt of my views on that bunch of corrupt, money-laundering, look-after-number-one-and-stuff-the-rest, all-too-powerful, crap baskets.

I mentioned the good, the bad, and the ugly. No, I’m not referring to any spaghetti western, I’m back to people. American people. There’s ugly folks everywhere, and I’m not talking physical. I’m referring to an ugliness of the soul, the mind, the character. There’s more of those sort of ugly people in America than anywhere else I’ve been, though I guess ISIS has its share, and that guy in the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, certainly takes some beating.

Why are there more ugly people in America than elsewhere? Guns. Guns create so much ugliness they make a rattlesnake seem endearing by comparison. Guns have created such a mindset among certain sections of the U.S. populace that common sense no longer exists for them. Take one very influential man – Alex Jones…

…Jones is a fat, ugly, beast of a man who runs a radio show that would make any person of sanity and intellect throw up within five minutes of listening to it. Yet his show is fawned over by millions. Why? Because he’s a god of the gun nutter. He makes stuff up to stir madness and angst in his listeners. And that’s something else about Jones’ listeners, they’re not the brightest bulbs in the chandelier. In fact, it’s probably right to say most of them barely have a glimmer in them. If they had, they’d not believe a word of the drivel emanating from Jones, or others like him on that unique American horror-experience known as ‘Talk-Radio’.

On December 14th 2012 at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, a young man massacred twenty-six people. Twenty of them were children between the age of six and seven. Six adults were also killed. He used a pistol and an automatic rifle to commit his heinous crime. Needless to say, the parents of those dead kids were deeply traumatized and have still not come to terms with their loss.

Such sensitivities are lost on Alex Jones. He broadcasts to his listeners that the whole massacre was a put-up job by the U.S. government. He says the kids were acting, pretending to be shot, that the parents were pretending and in reality no-one was hurt. This ugly idiot claims it was all a hoax perpetrated solely for the purpose of passing strict gun control legislation through the U.S. Congress.

Despite some efforts by the parents of these young victims to push for tighter gun controls, nothing has been done to enact any control on these ugly, arrogant, individuals who believe they have a right enacted under the 2nd Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, to keep and use lethal weaponry that has no place other than under lock and key in a military armoury.

Now, the Sandy Hook school massacre is in the news again. A major national media network, NBC, is broadcasting an interview with Alex Jones, allowing him a national TV platform to crucify the parents of the slain children all over again. To add insult to injury NBC will air the programme on June 18th – Father’s Day! [1]

Jones believes he has a right to broadcast his ‘opinions’ because of something else enshrined in the US Constitution – freedom of speech. But ‘freedom’ can be an ugly word when uttered by a mouth filled with hate and loathing.

America calls itself ‘civilised’. It will never be civilised while 300,000,000 guns are on the loose in a nation of 300,000,000 people.

Fifteen years in America taught me a lot about the people, the country, and the way it was governed.

So now I live in France.

[1] “Sandy Hook rage over Megyn Kelly’s Alex Jones interview” BBC, June 13th 2017

2 Replies to “‘Freedom’ Can Be An Ugly Word In The Wrong Mouths”

  1. Having lived in the USA for almost as long as you did, RJ , I’m still not able to have any reasonable understanding of the country. As you mentioned, for anyone who has spent much of their life in a small, if fairly powerful country, the task of getting one’s head (and heart) around the vastness and diversity of the USA isn’t easy.

    There’s not the “communal feeling” here there used to be in Britain (or at least in England). We all watched the same TV shows, read most of the same newspapers, and could chit-chat easily during our lunch breaks with colleagues because we understood each other pretty well. (This might have changed, though, now in the 21st century.)

    Within each state of the USA I guess a similar communal feeling exists, to some extent; but overall – over the 50 states – there’s little in common at all, other than the flag, Pledge of Allegiance, 4th July celebrations. States hardly understand one another.

    My feeling is that the USA has grown too big for it’s roots. Founding Fathers could never have envisaged the monster it has become – in the same way Sam Walton wouldn’t recognise his “baby” Walmart in its current monster booties.

  2. Twilight – I found that, at first, the U.S. seemed a very hospitable country, and in some ways it was. The ‘ordinary folk’ were generally welcoming and helpful. But after a while a sense of truly not belonging crept in. I was always an ‘alien’. This was not emanating from the people on the street, but higher up – from officialdom and authority, particularly noticeable at places like airport security. The coldness and suspicion of ICE officials was quite palpable. I well remember returning to the UK from France two years ago to catch a flight from Heathrow to Detroit. As we came off the ferry the British customs man took my wife’s US passport and immediately said, “Wow! It makes a real change to get one of these rather than the boring UK passports. Thanks for making my day.” He gave us a great smile and wished us well on our journey. Arriving in Detroit, my wife went through the ‘US Passport’ section while I got held up at ‘Aliens and the Rest’ (or some such!) The ICE woman I had to get past lived up to her title. Cold, unforgiving, tight-lipped, spoke to me like I’d just crawled out the sewer. “Welcome home!” I thought wryly, after finally extricating myself from her clutches and heading for the luggage carousel. That kind of attitude stopped the US from ever being ‘Home’ for me.

    Britain probably isn’t the same as it used to be. The populace are too mixed today and tend to stick in their own little communities. Poles, Romanians and other Europeans, as well as Asian and African – a real melting pot.

    I like the idea of America growing too big for its roots, though I would also add – too big for its boots!

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