Welcome to America

Apr 29, 2010

Living in America, just like living anywhere else in the world, you come across good, bad and ugly behavior. Generally speaking, as an expat experiencing life here, I have always been made to feel welcome by Americans and have witnessed and personally been the beneficiary of a lot of good. However, lately I have been coming across some ugly and unwelcoming images, behavior and rhetoric all over the country.

If I happened to be living my expat lifestyle in Arizona, under the new Arizona Immigration Bill local authorities could stop and question me after ascertaining I was foreign (I do after all have an accent). Authorities could demand to see evidence of my legal resident status and under the new law, I would be committing a crime by not having my "proper identification" with me at all times, punishable by a jail sentence of up to six months and a fine of $2,500. In my case "proper identification" would be my Australian passport with my U.S issued visa, but unless I am about to catch a flight at the airport, I am not in the habit of carrying around my passport.

The welcoming behavior does not stop in Arizona; Idaho seems to have a home grown case of ugliness in the shape of a bald man named Harley Brown. Harley Brown is an Idaho Congress hopeful whose defense policy mantra is "Nuke their ass, take their gas". On his website, the immigration policy currently reads "Content Comming Soon, But for now its Adios Amigos" (and no I did not misspell, "Coming", that is how it appears on the site). Brown's other nuggets of wisdom include a long rant on Obama's birth certificate "Why has Obama Not produced a valid birth certificate providing he was born on American soil? Because he can't. If he faked it, he would be guilty of Federal felony Fraud. The first thing that I'd like to do when elected and on behalf of the ½ million American citizens of my district, I promise to scream like a F-4 Jet fighter at full war emergency after burner take off power and demand he produce his birth certificate. If that doesn't work, I'll make louder noises and get a lot more aggressive. In fact this is "DO OR DIE" They will have to kill me to get me to shut up. If it is proven Obama is not the legitimate president, then everything he has done while in office and all the people he has appointed and everything they have done will be nullified. This would really dump hot coals into the shorts of those communist liberal progressive politicians. It would be like Luke Skywalker dropping his bomb into the ventilation shaft of the Death Star in "Star Wars."

Close to home Washington D.C, in neighboring Virginia a photo of a truck parked in a disabled space has been doing the email rounds. The image on the truck is a large Confederate flag, featuring the World Trade Center burning. The text on the truck reads, "Everything I ever need to know about Islam I learned on 9/11". It gets better the license plate is loaded with meaning as well - the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) noticed that the license plate contained a coded Neo-Nazi white supremacist message. The number 88 stands for the eighth letter of the alphabet, H, doubled to signify "Heil Hitler," said CAIR's Ibrahim Hooper. "CV" stands for "Confederate veteran" and 14 is code for imprisoned white supremacist David Lane's 14-word motto: "We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children."

On a recent trip to Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love I was surprised to see a rather unloving image. While I along with the other thousands of tourists made a pilgrimage to the great and might Philly cheese steak Mecca that is Pat's and Geno's, I saw a sign on the window at Geno's that read, "This is America, when ordering, speak English". The sign at Geno's left a bad taste in my mouth, so I took my order across the street to Pat's.