OPINION: Visits to US highlight the stark differences

Derek GoforthMidwest Times
The Statue of Liberty.
Camera IconThe Statue of Liberty. Credit: sumnersgraphicsinc/Getty Images/iStockphoto

Last weekend marked an important date for all Americans both in the USA and across the globe.

Last Saturday our American cousin celebrated its ‘independence day’, good old 4th of July.

Things could not be much more different when comparing WA and the US of A at the moment and through several conversations with my American friends it’s got me thinking of other things that separate us as a population.

I have travelled to America several times and have spent time in 27 of the 52 States. I have seen so many similarities between us and the fans of Uncle Sam but also lots of startling differences.

First of all, their politics. I won’t dwell too much on the former reality star with the crazy hair, but come on. Can you ever imagine someone like Trump being elected Down Under?

I honestly don’t think so. But differences in politics run all the way down to city and State elections, especially in how individuals get elected.

I remember watching what Americans call an ‘attack ad’ as part of a local city council election. One candidate contesting a seat in Orlando laid bare all the misdoings and skeletons in the closet of his opponent.

The tone was dark and aggressive and left very little to the imagination. This was the lowest level of American politics and it was vicious.

We all love our food, don’t we and I am not claiming Aussies or Poms live the healthiest of lifestyles but experiencing food in America is a different story altogether.

If eating ever became an Olympic sport, the US would be hard pushed not to top the medal table.

All-you-can-eat buffets in Las Vegas are not only a great way of getting your requisite calories for the day, they are like a religious experience where tourists and locals worship at the altar of the carvery and sing praise to the ice-cream bar.

We may not have the best health service in our country but I lived in constant fear of getting sick while I was in America.

I just didn’t think my bank balance would be able to cope. Medications especially, I thank my lucky stars that we don’t have the pharmaceutical companies in charge like they appear to be across the pond.

I won’t ever complain about the cost of a Ventolin pump again after having to get one while in New York. That’s $300 I won’t see again!

I won’t ever complain about the cost of a Ventolin pump again after having to get one while in New York. That’s $300 I won’t see again!

There are so many little differences that made me chuckle. Want to boil a kettle to make a cup of tea? No way, it’s the microwave for you!

Want syrup on your steak and your pancakes? No problem because they both arrive on the same plate at the same time and the waitress decided to drizzle it all over!

Someone beeping their horn when the light is red? You can actually turn right on red if all is clear — this really spun me out in California.

But despite the differences, good and bad, we do love the good old US of A. Where would our entertainment be without Hollywood, Nashville, Broadway and the wealth of American comics?

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