American Views Abroad

Tuesday, March 29, 2005
We're back, and here are a few words about my impressions. Basically, Gloria's prediction was correct. It would seem like the same old America, and it did. In fact, my brief period of culture shock at all the changes, which I usually have, was missing. Maybe because I missed the old place, especially my home town of Cincinnati, so much. The signs of Bush's changes were more subtle, but I have a few things to report about, including the most brilliant sermon I can remember hearing (on Palm Sunday). With a little imagination it became a clear attack on Bush and the Iraq war, but some people may not have noticed. I think I have a more optimistic picture of the stateside events than I used to. Plus we fell in love with Starbucks.

On most days I read the newspaper (Cincinnati Enquirer). The Schiavo story dominated, even on the day of the school shooting, which received second billing in the paper and on the TV news we watched.

The airport security is quite extensive now, and in Cinci the morning of our departure there was a security breach causing several hours delay. Apparently someone got into the cleared area with a gun (how can that possibly happen?) so they sent everyone back out and rechecked them. Thousands of people. Fortunately we made our flight, and despite two very close connections (one of 15 minutes), we and our luggage made it back safely and on the same flights.

I bought circa 45 pounds of books which I sent back via sack rate (takes about four weeks and is cheap): Mostly classics, like Mark Twain, and other titles on my wish list for quite a while. I carried back a few James Thurber titles, and the first book I ever found by Will Rogers ("Illiterate Digest" from 1924)! Reading obervations like his and Mark Twain's helps put the present times into perspective. I think America is more robust than we worriedly make it out to be from afar.

I'll post my impressions bit by bit, but this should be enough to get things started.

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