It’s hard to explain how different that makes us. To most Americans it seems logical behavior (it is) and I only get the difference because I remember being brand new here and how ALIEN it was. And I remember living in Portugal without the constant “oh, for heavens’ sake, just do it” moments I have when I go back now. (I should possibly point out that most Europeans find most middle aged American women bossy, interfering and a bit terrifying.)I work with a really bright engineer from Romania, who grew up under Ceausescu and the communists, and got out of the country when it became possible. He spent some time living in Canada, then came to our place a few years ago. As you might imagine, being from behind the iron curtain, he's about as anti-communist as you get, like most of the Cubans I grew up with.
Yes, I know some of you are going to tell me that spirit is now lost.
So when I complain about how it is here, he says it's not as good as it was, but we have so far to go that I can't possibly understand. I don't have enough distance perspective. He's concerned about the direction, of course, and despises The One, but knows we're not there yet. He says we're still a free country; still more free than even Canada.
I bet you don't feel like that do you - as the developing police/security state unfolds around us, do you? That's because of your American DNA, "baked in the cake of a people who came here to escape the top-down spirit of other places", as Hoyt puts it. She believes Americans just won't put up with much of what the rest of world will.
A week or so after the election I asked him if he was considering going back, and he said he was. When I asked him which was more free, Canada or Romania, he said Romania. That may not surprise you - you're probably aware of the Canadian health system and gun restrictions, just for two easy examples of how Canada is closer to the Euro-Socialist model than we are (at least for the next few months). He says Canada is a more modern country, with better infrastructure, but Romania is more free. Fewer highways, fewer open spaces, less infrastructure - let's just call it third world - but you can more easily do what you want.