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USA, the land of unlimited possibilities...

by Hendrik
(Bremen, Germany)

This is still a famous slogan that comes from a time of a golden age of economy and wealth, where even the poorest man could build up an industrial empire if he had an vision or good idea and worked hard enough to make it become reality (something like "from a dishwasher to a millionaire"?). While this time is long past, the idea seems to be solid anchored in the US ideology that is all about personal responsibility.

While this is a nice concept in general, it leads to some consequences that seem really weird to German people. One thing is of course the right of everybody owning a gun, which while I don't support this, is a thing you can somehow understand if you know about American history. But honestly - the arguments people use to justify this right are often ridiculous.

America is a land of emigrants where a lot different cultures came together and formed a unique "mix" of things, that didn't fit well together at first sight. This leads sometimes to creations, that seem very ...unusual to me (like how religion is practiced in some churches or sects). But at the same time, American culture is an export hit and is ubiquitous in daily life: Movies, Music, Books, Food, all kinds of American lifestyle (just go out and see all this Halloween spectacle) and even the language has a big influence in many other countries and mine as well. America is one of the first big industrial nations in the world and since then has been a mighty global player in economics as well as politics.

One thing that always bothers me about American politics is the backwardness of some people in important questions, like for example the plan of a national health insurance system (yes, the self-responsibility again) and the overall often very selfish appearance in international concerns. America uses its power to influence other countries which often makes the impression of very ruthless politics, if you see in how many conflicts and wars the USA has been/is involved in. One other thing is this sheer amount of secret services that don't help the positive image.

Now I really focused a bit too much on politics and should probably write some about the people, the land, culture... but I already reached my limit. :)

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