During a recent trip to a foreign land, I met a man who was every bit, the essence in fact, a religious right-wing American who did not think much of the land he was in nor his own homeland. To protect identities, let us just call
him ‘Buck’ with a B – Yes, a B in his bonnet and a rattle among his chains. These are the chains of fanaticism, suspicion and conspiracy theories and I had never met anyone quite like him.
We met under interesting
circumstances where he was confused for being another Australian and was subsequently invited to dinner, turned out he is married to a distant relative of my partner. As soon as i laid eyes upon him, i knew he wasn't a fellow Aussie but an American with
Attitude, must have been the Hawaiian Shirt and western drawl. As I said, we were the foreigners, English-speakers in a land where English
is a second or third language. That bought us together and we spent several hours just talking about our respective countries and our lives. The following weekend we met again at a birthday celebration for an elderly relative.
Where again we stuck out like the proverbial.. although on this occasion he was good value for keeping the kids amused. He had a child of his own and a wife that shared his point of view.. I don’t know which is scarier?!!
I had heard
many stories about people from the ‘Bible Belt’ in the mid-east of the United States, those who love their god and their guns and who are suspicious of their own government.
I honestly thought they were an exaggeration as I had never met any up till then, none that i can remember. I have been to the States on 3 occasions and had met many Americans but never one like this. When I mentioned ‘gun control’
he thought that was just the government trying to take away his rights. I told him about Australia’s gun laws and how we had no further massacres but it was obvious he was reading from an NRA (National Rifle Association) handbook and didn’t
want to listen.
He claimed to be a Christian who knew more about the scriptures then most of the preachers he knew, yet he was full of suspicion towards other Christians especially the Catholic Church. He went on and on about America
being the evil trader and the current President (Obama) being the closest thing to the Devil himself. He was full of contempt for the President, stating that he was a communist and not even a true American. When health insurance was mentioned, well this man went straight on the attack. He told me that he had never earned much, always doing manual labour jobs but that health insurance was going to cost him $600 per month. Funnily enough
he had just finished telling me he was virtually retired aged in his late fifties.
Now, I am an Australian and an Atheist, which of course did not sit well with this man. He even had the gall to say “you probably believe in
that Big Bang stuff don’t you? You know that can’t happen, right??!!!” My response was that I was more likely to believe in science than spirits and some omnipotent
being. You’re probably wondering how could I put up with this bloke for that long and I do wonder that myself sometimes. Here was a man who I was so diametrically opposed to and we were sitting across from each other trying to have a friendly
He didn’t know much about Australia, surprise surprise. I did manage to tell him a few things about the land down under and then he said how he would love to visit one day but that it is sooo far away.
Not that much further than where we were at that time really but nevertheless this was his opinion. He kept the theme going by saying that “America is going down” and all those who trade with her are poisoned. He said this many times
and to anyone that would listen…
No wonder I’ve been listening to the song “Australia don’t become America” by Cranky….