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  • Christian Armbruester

America, America

Why nothing will ever change in the greatest country on earth.

I first moved to America in 1979, when I was 10 years old. We were the first German family to come to live in a small town called Richmond in the great state of Indiana. As such, we made frontpage news in the local paper, and everyone seemed to take a great interest in what we were doing. I was mostly oblivious to all of this. After all I did not speak English, and in any event, I was too busy taking in all of these truly American things. Foremost, there was television and for someone who grew up with a mere two networks of fairly awful programming, getting access to more than thirty channels of invigorating entertainment programs, sports broadcasts and most of all cartoons was simply heaven.

People were incredibly friendly and polite. Even random people that walked by us in the street said “hello” and the whole concept of being asked how I am dozens of times a day, was utterly bewildering for someone coming from a culture where no one says anything unless they absolutely must. Everything is bigger in America, the houses, the cars, the shopping centres, and the hundreds of miles of perfectly straight highways. It all created an impression of extreme vastness, fun, happiness, and endless possibilities in the land of the free.

I suppose, the first I time I was asked if we had refrigerators in Europe, I dismissed it as a joke. Even the constant confusion between Frankfurt, Germany and Frankfurt, Kentucky did not seem cause for alarm. Sure, I found it strange to sing the national anthem every morning at school and swear allegiance to the flag. The incessant need to thank God for all we had was also a bit weird. However, it was not until we came back to Europe a few years later that we realised the true benefit of being part of the American bubble: you just don’t care. The view is entirely insular, the horizon is perfectly limited, and the needs are completely provided for by the greatest economy on earth.

So, what to make of the current political turmoil and social upheaval in the only remaining superpower? Not much. It is the way it has always been. Before a reality TV show star became President, we had an actor in the White House. Long before black lives matter, we had the civil rights movement, and let’s face it, the Democrats have been at war with the Republicans ever since politics began. The only thing the rest of the world can do, is stop hoping that America will ever care about anything other than if the Dallas Cowboys are going to win the next Superbowl.


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