Visiting a Country at War

When I’m travelling, one thing I never forget is that I’m in someone else’s country. I am living by their rules and, when push comes to shove, their laws are made for their people, not for me. So, I have a sliding scale of countries that I won’t go into, try to stay out of, will enter for a short time, will go on a tour, but not alone (at my age, there are plenty of them) will go into alone for something interesting, and want to go into because I enjoy the people so much.

This has affected my work choices, because as an ESL teacher, I would not work in China. In the first place. I don’t trust their legal system, and I would be worried for the whole time I was there. The experience of the Two Michaels seems to support this theory. In the second place, I don’t believe that teaching the Chinese people English is going to have much effect on their government’s desire to control the world, and might make it easier. I try not to help countries like that.

And the countries I really avoid are the warlike ones. You can tell a society that is preparing for war: the way people act, the way they talk, their media, the rituals they perform, their dependence on religion and rigid codes of conduct.

And Then Comes USA

Imagine my surprise when I looked around on my nice, relaxing trip to Florida last week. All the evidence points to a country preparing for war.

Of course, this is nothing new. The nation was formed in revolution. Their national anthem is the story of a battle. They are no strangers to genocide.

And except for a couple of moments in the middle of the last century when it suited their commercial interests not to take sides, they have meddled with international politics on a worldwide scale ever since.


The first thing you notice is overt shows of patriotism all over the place. Mainly flags, some of them over 10 metres across. Stars and stripes on everything, from street signs to groceries.

Lipizzaner Stallions Show

I only went to one event while I was in Sarasota, and that was a riding show. The performance started with an” invocation” heavily focused on “hard work and dedication” (a phrase repeated often enough to classify as propaganda), then we had the national anthem, a prayer and then a tribute to the military. Oh yes, and in between some people rode horses (whose historical function was war).

Okay, gotta be fair. General Patton was instrumental in saving a large number of their brood mares from the slaughterhouses of the Soviets in the latter stages of WWII. And these people are a charity, trying to raise money for their cause. Which makes the content of their show even more revealing; these are serious players; they did their research, and they know what the people want.

Eclipse of the sun

You know, I was prepared for a lot of sensationalism in the coverage. It is a pretty sensational display. I didn’t expect the mainstream media to use it for religious propaganda. There was so much airtime given to “the Rapture” that I wondered whether it was Sunday. One young announcer gushed, “How can this not be the work of a Creator?”

Airline Boarding

And for icing on the cake, when we went to board the Delta Airlines plane to come home, guess who got on first? “Serving members of the Armed Forces.”

Just weird.

The Bottom Line

I live ten blocks from the border. I used to pop across to walk my dog and get cheap gas. USA just moved down my list to, “will only go there for something that’s really worth it.” At least until the November election is over.


I was surprised to note that not once during my two weeks in Florida did I hear or see any reference to the state’s favourite politician. Maybe there’s hope yet.

1 comment for “Visiting a Country at War

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.