Monday, September 1, 2008

Meet Roland Hulme of Militant Ginger

I'm Roland Hulme, I'm 30 years old and I was born in Britain. I married my New Yorker wife five years ago and last year, we moved to America after four years in Winchester, England. This year, on the 4th July, our little Anglo-American son was born.

And if any of this is of interest to you (bloody hell, it's long. I've got a mouth on me, haven't I?)

I like American politics because it's so polarized - out of 250 million voters, only a tiny percentage actually swing between voting Democrat and Republican. It's those voters who make the difference - the country's fate rests with about 2% of the population!

When America started, it was decades ahead of it's time. Freedom of speech, the right to bear arms, the fifth amendment - even now, there are 'civilised' European countries that don't have these rights, and they've been cemented in American law for two centuries.

But now, in the 'modern age' there's been a reversal and many freedoms and rights we Europeans take for granted (like equality and protection for gay people) are being fought over by very conservative groups. For Europeans, this is weird because we're not very religious - and the idea of religion + politics is totally alien to us. Plus, of course, we're all happy clappy types who love everybody and think that gays can marry/sleep with/work for whoever they want and it's fundamentally wrong to oppose that.

And yet, to confuse you further, some of the 'old fashioned' ideas in America are great. The nation has this heritage as 'the land of opportunity' and people can start off with nothing and achieve whatever they want through hard work and talent. That's TOTALLY alien to Europeans, who generally 'know their place' and you don't get taken seriously unless you got born here, have this name, went to this university etc. (all French politicians, for example, went to the same university. ALL OF THEM.)

The freedom to succeed is one of the most attractive and scary elements of America. If you succeed, you reap the rewards (whereas, in Europe, you would be taxed to within an inch of your life.) If you fail, you have no safety net and nobody to blame but yourself (whereas in Europe, the government has welfare for even the least deserving people.)

You might not think it, but to Europeans, America is still the Wild West and I think it's all the better for that. It's a truly wonderful, beautiful, exciting country and I adore being part of it and am so proud that my son will grow up an American.

I'm sure you can see why I find Roland so very interesting! I look forward to what he has to say as we discuss things here on this blog and to what he has to say on his blog as things heat up on the political scene.

1 comment:

Melanie said...

I love these posts you done to introduce some of the people that will be speaking up! I look forward to reading Roland's opinions too!