USA Impressions

So I was in California last month and I have a few impressions and thoughts I'd like to share, mostly not connected to the elections.

I have a lot of direct experience in the USA: in 1997/98 I spent one school year at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and in that year I also traveled around the whole USA a bit (mostly coasts and Chicago+Minneapolis). Since 2000 I've been visiting the country about twice a year for business trips, usually one week. This gives me a sketchy view on the country's evolution.

I don't seem to be able to write this post without mentioning the healthy food craze, the terrorism-fear-induced security measures (PATRIOT act etc.) or the big-money-driven laws for protection of old business models (DMCA etc.). With this off my chest, I can go on to my most recent impressions.

Last month was the first time I've seen advertisements for balanced energy choices, pushing clean coal energy. Are we in the 21st century here? Big money massaging the public to allow power suppliers to go with the cheap options, obviously.

Then, of course, the ridiculously expensive and dirty presidential campaigns and the laughable "debates". I hoped Sen. Kerry would win, now I'm looking with slight apprehension what else G.W.Bush does in his second term (if indeed the official elections go as currently predicted - they aren't over yet).

Now a change whose implications have yet to be seen: in Ohio in 1997, gas prices were simply not a consideration (among the middle class), everybody just drove their cars. These days people are actually starting to think about the economy of transport, and I'm interested where this will ultimately lead. An example of this trend is the hybrid car (electric+gas), something almost unheard of in Europe.

The most surprising development of the USA, though, is a subtle one. While watching the TV, I noticed they don't say african americans any more and use the clear and accurate term blacks. Whatever happened to political correctness? Could this be a breeze of reason?

All in all, USA stays a potential candidate for my next big move after Innsbruck. 8-)

Posted at 1443 on Thu, Nov 4, 2004 in category Personal | TrackBack