"I felt a sense of safety and freedom as soon as I landed at the airport in America."
A few days after the first visit, our South African friend returned and we were able to continue our fascinating and informative conversation. Having the experience of living in two countries where there had been severe hardship due to political upheaval and communist influence, he warned us that Americans must not feel guilty for who they are or what they have accomplished. "Americans have a lot to be proud of," he said.
People get what they have through hard work, but others want them to feel they have cheated or got it "off the backs of the less fortunate." They have a warped sense of how wealth is created, since they believe there is a limited supply of prosperity. Therefore, they teach that if someone is living comfortably, they must be making someone else uncomfortable, and if someone is rich, then someone else must be poor. This is certainly not true at all. Free enterprise, as practiced in America, allows money to flow freely from hand to hand, and keeps the economy alive while allowing people to prosper. Each person who works can buy something from someone else who works, who then can pay someone else for some service or product he needs. Wealth is passed from one to another and people may save or spend as they like.
When communism, often hiding behind the terms progress, hope, and liberation, takes over a country, it deadens the economy by preventing free exchange of goods and products. It takes over private business, and taxes people so much that they can no longer afford to run a business or buy anything. Eventually no one has any money and if they did, there would be nothing to buy.
We talked at length about the concept of America, and related to him the belief that any country in the world could be like America by following certain foundational principles of belief, economics, and self-government. Many other countries have similar constitutions and laws as we do, but they are largely ignored by the population. The difference here is that ordinary Americans still have respect for law and order, and are happiest when guarding those laws, preserving them for the safety of everyone. In fact, they had a hand in creating these laws in the first place. Americans seem to understand more than the letter of the law: they understand the principles behind the laws, which make them safe and protect them. Attempts are being made to corrupt those laws and create laws which make good people miserable, but good laws which reward the good and punish the violators, are still in effect here.
The web is one of the last frontiers of free expression, free exchange of ideas, and free enterprise, but the communists never sleep while they devise new schemes of destroying this. Probably anyone who is familiar with message boards or blogs will be able to identify a phrase that is being used now: self-appointed. No matter what the subject is that is being discussed, someone will make the comment that someone is a self-appointed expert, leader, or preacher, who is telling others what to believe. One does not have to look far on the web to find a news story or blog where someone has called someone else a self-appointed expert, or self-appointed religious leader, or self-appointed teacher.
Both phrases try to indicate some kind of human rights violation, when in fact, they are nothing of the sort. Americans on the whole, do not depend on hierarchy in government or religion, and have learned to be innovative, inventive, creative do-it-yourself types of people. They must not listen to the discouragers who want to prevent them from being do-it-yourself-ers. Anyone can have a radio station, write a newspaper or magazine, have a blog, or broadcast their beliefs. It is still a basic American right, but it must be guarded carefully so that those who wish to destroy it cannot succeed.
Our visitor touched on several topics and said, "Americans have a lot to be proud of."
Young People in America: He was pleasantly greeted by young people everywhere, who were quick to say "Sir" or "excuse me" or "thank you." "I never met anyone in America who was rude. People were not just polite, they were also very helpful. For years I had been told that the teenagers and children in America were terrible. I dreaded meeting them, but found quite the opposite was true: they were always polite."
Driving in America: Americans drive at an even speed, give way to one another, and drive together at the same speed. They are taught defensive driving classes and they do drive defensively, and carefully. The roads are wonderfully kept, and the white or yellow lines always looked freshly painted. A person would have to be driving very carelessly in order to have an accident, and when there is an accident, it is broadcast on the evening news. Driving in America, even on the winding roads in remote areas, is enjoyable."I never once, in 4 states, saw lines that were faded. Their road signs are all very clear and very easy to see...I loved driving in America and especially enjoy driving American cars...Americans drive much slower, and safer...I never felt safer driving anywhere, than in America."
Small Towns and Out-of-the Way Places: Unlike some countries, small towns and places off the beaten track in America are not in any way unpleasant, isolated, or primitive. Each small town that I saw had its own harbour, airstrip, shopping mall, police station, fire department, parks and well-paved roads. Homes in country areas have conveniences and comforts. In cities, houses look freshly painted, or else have a high quality paint on them.
"To me, the combination of paint (which either lasts very well or is new) combined with the fact that you don't see plastic papers or tin cans or rubbish on the streets ANYWHERE... just makes most American towns delightful. Furthermore, the roads are well painted with clear yellow and white stripes. It is not like in South Africa where you can drive down a road and you have to guess where the centre line or other signs are."
Bridges in America: Our visitor from South Africa was completely enthralled with the bridges he saw here. He was impressed with their height and design, allowing very tall ships to pass under without a problem, and spent some time taking pictures of them. "The white lines on the road were well-marked, even on the bridges...in my own country, roads and road safety is neglected."
"The real threat to this country are the people who are destroying it from within by wanting to turn it into a socialist state. If they succeed, and they destroy the industry and progress of this country... yes, then it would be in danger at a future date. If the illegals flood in, and they teach their children to hate America... then yes... America will be in danger.
To me, it seems as if the illegals flooding in, and the subversion and radicalisation of the Democratic party are the real dangers. There are some crazy people here who are starting to bend the rules which have served this country so well for so long... and this Fifth column is very dangerous. They are subverting the next generation with their junk ideas.
The assault on this country is coming from many sides - both external and internal.
"The more I mull America over, the more I also gain respect for the men who originally created it. Most Americans themselves have completely forgotten about their founding fathers and have little knowledge of their intellectualism and what they tried to do. Sadly, many have flaunted a lot of deep and brilliant ideas and so America has moved more away from the loose binding they once had."
While visiting America, he talked to Barbara Simpson on the radio and said that his impression of America was that it was a free enterprise system that was working, Americans were mild people not easily angered, who worked extremely hard, were very hospitable and enjoyed life.
Television: Although only here for 3 weeks, and only staying in the homes of friends, rather than motels, the people he visited did not watch television.
First Impressions: "...as I stood on the pavement watching the cars, watching the people and looking at the surrounding buildings, etc I thought to myself: IT JUST DOESN'T GET BETTER THAN THIS. THERE IS NO WAY YOU CAN IMPROVE ON THIS...I saw civilisation, and I loved it, and I still think: YOU CAN'T GET BETTER THAN THAT!"
Success in America: Laws, like the roads and cars, work so well in America, that the only way people can mess up their lives, is to do so personally, by living without the guidance and help that is available.
The Feeling: He was not able to completely expess his impressions of America, except to say there was a feeling, or atmosphere there which was unlike any other, although he had travelled outside of his country before. America was different to anything he had ever seen or known, and although it was not all perfect and not everything was superior to his own country, there was a freedom and a feeling of safety that was not present in other places.
Logic: Roads, bridges, cities, laws, cars, airports, broadcasting, business and enterprise, (you name it)-- in America, it seem to be conducted with a lot of logic, whereas, he stated in his country and other countries he knew of, the illogical seemed to win over the logical.
Go here for Part 1 of Visiting America.
Go Here to listen to the two parts of the Barbara Simpson interview of a South African's impressions of America. (link coming soon)