Apparently there is a wave of Americans travelling around. I assume they are open minded since they are travelling and wanting to see the world out there – which doesn’t seem to be very common in the USA, from what I gather. Maybe these rare exemplars of American individuals are running away from Donald Trump. Maybe it has nothing to do with that. But I remember when I was talking to that Arizona woman in Marseille and she started to say how she loves being away from home so she doesn’t have to see Trump’s face all the time, and listen to whatever nonsense that man is saying now. Yet, being away from home doesn´t prevent them to have to talk about it, as our conversation proved, and also as, in fact, the California woman, who until that moment had been sitting pleasantly and quietly in the other side of the room joined the conversation:
– It´s funny how I have been two months away from the States, I have absolutely no idea of what is going on there, and still every single person I meet brings up the topic!
– The man is everywhere! – complains Arizona.
“Just like children” I think automatically, remembering the pleasant moment in the cafeteria earlier that afternoon, with my book and my notes, a pot of Moroccan tea in front of me, some smooth French music and bohemian atmosphere… and all this coolness spoiled all together by a couple of noisy kids playing too nearby.
– I ask many people – California said – and no one is going to vote for him, but that is just the same that happened with Bush, Bush son I mean, not the first time, but the second. The truth is, in the end he got elected again!
– Well – continued Arizona – he’s insulted everyone he could possibly insult: workers, black people, Mexicans, certainly women…
– Women also?
– Oh, yeah, probably women were amongst the first ones! But he seems to appeal to many people, like people he’s insulted. I don’t know why, but, for example, the red collars seem to like him.
I didn’t say anything, because I was an outsider and I don’t know much about American politics, not even about European ones, but I couldn’t help thinking: ‘it is like in Spain, you get to ask people and no one is going to vote for the Popular Party, yet it is the most voted party, not once but three times. And the Far right wing parties in Europe seem to be getting more and more support. How could they possibly be popular among the people they are openly committed to crush? Does it have to do somehow with some illusion of stability? But then, what kind of stability do these people think they are going to get with these people in power?’
– What Obama has accomplished – the old Arizona continued – is outstanding, even if he has been all his mandate hand tied. And the funny thing is that Obama is very much liked out of the US.
– That’s right – says Canada, who sat there almost as quiet as myself – we all love Obama.
– Yeah, but not in there… they ran a poll in Kentucky, they asked people: ‘What do you think of Obama’s care? And all they were: ‘Oh, we hate it, it’s terrible, we don’t wan’ it’. ‘Ok’, they said, ‘but do you think of Kentucky’s care? And they all loved it. ‘It’s great’ they said. ‘Do you realise the Kentucky Care System and Obama’s Care system is the exact same one? And people couldn’t believe it, they were like jaws wide open… How’s that possible?
‘How is that possible? Because people are stupid… obviously!’, I thought straight away ‘They don’t think, they just swallow what they are given. And the most terrifying thought is: who do they take it from? Who is feeding them?’
Soon afterwards I was back in Scotland, and I was talking to this nice and reasonable Finnish man. I don’t know how but we were having a very light conversation and suddenly the Panama papers came up.
– They were discussing it on the radio and talking about how much money David Cameron had dodged. So they were questioning whether it was right or not to publish how much himself and other politicians earned. And to me – said Finnish – this question is totally unnecessary. In Finland everybody`s salary is public. You can go and consult what anybody earns.
– Well – I said – if you think that they are public servants, which in theory they are since they are working for the people’s good and what they earn comes from the people, it is quite logical….
– We should all do what you do in your country! – I added half joking.
– Well – he giggled – it is not as easy as it seems. You cannot tell others what they should do…
– Yeah, well, I suppose you’re right.
– You see, – he continued – in Finland we applied to get into some UN project and we lost the election to get into it, because Luxembourg voted us out. But why? What had we done to Luxembourg?
– What had you done to Luxembourg?
– Nothing! So we thought! When we looked into it we were told that some countries from Europe didn’t like the idea of Scandinavian countries pushing their politics down.
– What? – I blurted – that is so hypocritical! like they are doing precisely this to the southern countries in Europe. But then, I suppose if someone comes and tells them how to do better, it spoils their party.
And then I recalled the dinner I had had not long ago with these nice Italian young boys
I met in Marseille, and when we started to joke about how difficult things were in the south, but how our way of living was better…
– Yeah, all the southern countries, what they call the poor countries, you know, Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece, should send northern countries away, tell them to bugger off!
We laughed a lot. And because it was that just, a joke, we continued eating and drinking calmly.
– Well, if Donald Trump wins the election – said Arizona – I tell you this, I have chosen my perfect house in a tiny town in Mexico, by the beach, with great views and all, very far away from the stupid Americans… I mean it!
But then, can you really do that: running away from stupidity? No, what I really mean to ask is: Donald Trump is kind of a problem in America, right? And so are the corruption and useless politics – when it comes to serve the public or help the ones in need of help, such as war migrants and refugees… right? However, running away from it all is the best we can do?
I know, I know, there are so many problems all around that need to be fixed that it all seems extremely absurd. Like an old house that has been neglected for countless years and now is falling apart. But I guess you cannot just stand in the middle of the house – or even step aside – waiting for it to definitively collapse. Right?