US hype?

Old Nov 26th 2006, 12:22 pm
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Default US hype?

Hi

First time posting so hope I don't rub anyone up the wrong way!

I don't (yet) live in the U.S. but have worked in the past for a US company (in the UK), stayed in the US for a number of weeks at a time and may move there at some time in the future (work related).

What I want to ask is all these "freedoms" that Americans go on about all the time (you see it on tv and when I speak to them)... I have to explain that "No, we don't have to check with the Queen whenever we want to do anything", "Yes, we can [and do] make fun of our politicians without being imprisoned!" and "we are a democracy and do vote"!

So what are all these wonderful freedoms that are over there?! Albert Einstein said ""I came to America because of the great, great freedom which I heard existed in this country. I made a mistake in selecting America as a land of freedom, a mistake I cannot repair in the balance of my lifetime." In my visits there I've never felt any freer or not - but then I haven't lived there. I've asked this question also on an "Americans in the UK" expat site too - and some say they feel more free here than in the US!

So, is this what I would call hype from the great American propoganda machine working well, or are there truly all these extra freedoms which the rest of the world is missing out on?! I have my own opinions of the US - not from ignorance but from being there - and in some ways I find the US a scarey place! I look forward to your opinions...

Thanks for your input No offence was meant...
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Old Nov 26th 2006, 12:25 pm
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Default Re: US hype?

The freedom not to have a TV licence.........

Thats about it ....
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Old Nov 26th 2006, 2:08 pm
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Default Re: US hype?

God, you ask a big question. Good thing you do.

Perhaps the answer lies in a collection a lots and lots of little, everyday things which you look at and say "well, that is odd, you'd think we would be free to do this - or that".

In order to function properly, you must carry ID, have a myriad of insurance policies, provide a number for just about everything (soc sec), forget buying fireworks (in some states), cannot burn leaves/trash in your own back yard, do taxes every year, some of it is just "life" - some of them make you go: WTF??????

Here's a classic example:
We adopted a cat from an animal pound 4 months ago. Paid $40 to do the humanitarian thing. My wife had to sign as much paperwork as we would in buying a car. We got a letter through the mail the other day stating unless we had the animal spayed before Dec 10th, they would pass the matter onto the courts. OK, we signed and agreed to get her spayed when we took her in, but nevertheless, its pretty heavy handed.

Like I said, I think its the accumulation of lots of "little things" which you would not expect to be constrained by which makes up the answer to your question.
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Old Nov 26th 2006, 2:13 pm
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Default Re: US hype?

Freedom to work really hard - without holidays getting in the way
Freedom from walking - no pavements
Freedom from visiting the doctor or dentist - no time
Freedom from having your car MOT'ed! Live dangerously like the rest of them
Freedom to drive at age 15 - see above
Freedom to live on takeaways - no time to cook
Freedom to be fat.
Freedom to be a meat eater, try being a vegetarian
Freedom of speech, err ask the Dixie Chicks!
Freedom to be barefoot - try getting size 5 shoes
Freedom to listen to Country Music, 24 hours a day - ok just here then

Freedom....I feel an Aretha Franklin song coming....
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Old Nov 26th 2006, 2:22 pm
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Default Re: US hype?

Like I said, I think its the accumulation of lots of "little things" which you would not expect to be constrained by which makes up the answer to your question.
I have had a little taste of that in my visits... Once I was in a park with my girlfriend in Lansing MI... It was spring time and we were just sitting in the car for a few minutes with the windows down, looking through theatre listings and deciding what to do / where to go... A guy comes up - not sure if police or some park-keeper - on a bike and says "Sorry, it's park policy - we don't allow anyone to stay sitting in their car in the park." I thought "?????!!!!!?????" Also seen a lot of the showing ID for silly reasons at times when buying items.
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Old Nov 26th 2006, 2:30 pm
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Default Re: US hype?

Free? Absolute bollox
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Old Nov 26th 2006, 2:40 pm
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Default Re: US hype?

Originally Posted by Thydney
Free? Absolute bollox
Nice one Sid. Sucinct yet comprehensive.
A thoroughly well thought out reply.
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Old Nov 26th 2006, 3:04 pm
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Default Re: US hype?

Part propaganda machine, yet having said that it's the promise America holds that you can become anything you want to be if you work hard enough.
When I left the UK 20 years ago, it was still very much a class based society based on where you were from and how you spoke.
This seems to be less important in the US, here it seems to be based more on what and who you know (education, work ethic and networking). I think the US' values are more based on an old fashioned puritanical system with an underlying emphasis on social Darwinism, if that translates?
For the average working Joe Schmo there does not seem a lot of difference.
The financial reward carrot in the US is definitely bigger, but at what price on a human level?
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Old Nov 26th 2006, 3:12 pm
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Default Re: US hype?

Originally Posted by lionheart
......but at what price on a human level?
Well, you can expect to spend a lot of time doing things like reading and posting on this forum.....
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Old Nov 26th 2006, 3:17 pm
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Default Re: US hype?

Originally Posted by gardnma
Well, you can expect to spend a lot of time doing things like reading and posting on this forum.....
You know, that's the online equivalent of wiping your arse on my social studies paper
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Old Nov 26th 2006, 3:19 pm
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Default Re: US hype?

Originally Posted by lionheart
This seems to be less important in the US, here it seems to be based more on what and who you know (education, work ethic and networking).
I think its generally based on how much you can make for yourself or your employer - everything else takes a back seat
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Old Nov 26th 2006, 3:23 pm
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Originally Posted by lionheart
You know, that's the online equivalent of wiping your arse on my social studies paper
Glad to oblige old beanbreath.
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Old Nov 26th 2006, 3:33 pm
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Originally Posted by gardnma
Glad to oblige old beanbreath.
Actually beanbreath is a compliment. Elina thought the baby had pooed when I got up this morning, turned out it was my breath after eating Kim Chee with dinner last night ................... and less of the old.
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Old Nov 26th 2006, 3:36 pm
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Default Re: US hype?

Originally Posted by lionheart
Part propaganda machine, yet having said that it's the promise America holds that you can become anything you want to be if you work hard enough.....
Yes, I've often thought about that. I know the ideas and inventions etc that were laughed at or turned down by Brits and so those people have gone to the US to sell their ideas - and succeeded. I think that in certain industries, it's always more of who you know than what you know... wherever you are.

I know that hard work can of course bring financial rewards anywhere, but yes it seems that in the US things are better off... and with cheaper cost of living in most places... But like you say, what about the cost? The live to work / working late / hardly any holidays must have an impact... When I worked in the US company (in the UK), it was quite a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. I had to go the LA headquarters and boy, the whole place was completely different to work in. Nobody talked to each other in work time, they were amazed that in the UK, working for the same company, we had a whole 3 weeks paid holiday time every year, maternity pay etc etc. I certainly wouldn't want to work there every day!

There are of course things I like about the US too... Of course just visiting there I'm sure that the almost £1=$2 exchange rate helps in my perceptions of cheap prices, cheap eating out etc. But (in MI) I like the open spaces, larger houses and easy driving. In winter I like to have actual snow too! But don't like that it's hard to find anything green - unlike UK which is green year round. I went from MI to CO by car last winter and it was mile after mile of brown "countryside".

Well, I shall keep looking at this great forum and see how soon I'll be moving! [this will be with work].

Thanks everyone for all your replies
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Old Nov 26th 2006, 3:38 pm
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Default Re: US hype?

Originally Posted by Thydney
Free? Absolute bollox
Could not of put it better myself, every day there seems to be a new rule or legislation stopping you doing one thing or the other and the Criminal justice system over here is a joke, ie they seem to chastice and convict the small time offenders but let the big shots off?

Don't get me wrong I love living here thats not my point my point is that it is far from a free country.
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