On the whole Americans are exceptionally friendly when they hear a foreign accent (correction - a foreign accent they can understand), but that's when I need to stop myself and recant. At dinner recently, I engaged my second-generational friends in Los Angeles on what is "American", and whilst this is my fifth visit to the country, I am still trying to pinpoint American culture per say. Where I was clearly wrong is falling into the idiotic trap of the outsider, "Americans think this, Americans think that". Foolhardy, even for me. Los Angeles is clearly far more liberal than other States, but none of my four lovely friends (a South Korean, a Russian/Filipino, a Nicaraguan/El Salvadorian and pure-bred American/Italian) owned a gun, only one of them knew someone that had a gun, all were pro gay-marriage, and barely any of them knew anyone that would vote for Donald Trump. If they did, the memorable remark was "it's amazing just how easy it is now to finally find out which of your friends is a complete racist!" Whilst I bent the conversation to European history, they surprisingly jumped into the history of their parents-native lands, not of the American 200 year old-history whatsoever. What ignited my interest most of all was comments around the Constitution - the notion not of the collective but of seperatism. They believed their sacred document was aimed at each person having freedom from oppression, each individual being able to equip themselves and take up arms against the government. It's not so much forming a militia, but for self-preservation: the need to singularly guard against the enemy. It's a 'United' States by name only, but otherwise it's a complete misnomer. Can you classify 318 million people of various cultures, backgrounds and religions into a single collective?
There are two huge stories doing the rounds at the moment: one of an American Football Player, Colin Kaepernick, who is sitting down at the national anthem, which is played before every game; and the second the fantastic Cocks not Glocks story. Tackling the former (apologies) Kaepernick has caused outrage through his silent protest, which all of a sudden wasn't silent when he asked the reason for doing so - although kind if pointless protesting if no one knows why, I'll give him that. Kaepernick said "I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses Black people and people of colour. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder." This has seemingly caused a public outcry, poignant because of the recent police shootings of black people. The police then have taken umbrage, refusing to work at the next 49ers home game unless the club condemned the player, which they have not done. In fact, as is often the case, they've harked back to the Constitution about freedom of speech and expression. Whether the black players will feel safer with the police not being there hasn't been confirmed. Looking at wikipedia, Kaepernick is a Methodist with a white mother, African-American father, and was adopted by white parents. Do we base blackness on skin colour only, and at what generation do you stop becoming black? If we all originated from Africa, are we all black? Ask the police, I suppose.
The second story, which I found delightful, was of a law in Texas allowing anyone over 21 with a gun license to carry concealed handguns in public, even on University campus grounds. Meanwhile, dildos are illegal on campus. I can only surmise that, in a bitter twist of irony, no one wants to get blown (away) by a large weapon. So what did the students do? Approach many a sex-shop and ask for dildo donations to protest the law, carrying huge dildos to illustrate their fervour. Queue some fantastic signs such as 'Cocks not Glocks' and 'Cock and Load'. Yet how hard is it to buy a firearm in Texas? According to dury.com, you have to apply for a concealed carry permit which can take up to 60 days. Seems a reasonable amount of time to check if you're crazy I would gather. Although in fairness that's only if it's concealed - you may carry a rifle or shotgun within your vehicle, loaded and within easy reach, throughout the state. So although it may be harder for someone to carry a gun in plain sight, they can just go to their car, grab their cocked gun and unload on you. I'd question whether someone that intends to shoot someone else actually gives a shit about being arrested for not having a concealed weapon license.
I find both stories fascinating: don't protest with cocks, that's disgusting; don't protest with silence, that's un-American. Am sure there is middle ground between silence and cock-smuggling, but doubt it would attract the same attention. Write a blog no one reads, perhaps. D-Trump has naturally waded into the Kaepernick debate telling him to "find a country that works better for him" which he then added "let him try, it's not gonna happen." So why would he bother trying then? Trump's current slogan I believe is "let's make America great again", which tells me that even he doesn't think everything is rosy. Maybe he should sit down next time he speaks.
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