So by now, I’m sure that everyone has heard about the whole Todd Akin thing. The ignorance, the “apology,” and all of the drama that ensues.
I heard about it first on Facebook, then from my husband while he was browsing Reddit, again while reading through blogs, and finally I saw it featured on the Danish six-thirty news. American politics are embarrassing enough, with more drama than a trashy teen television show before you mix in the real idiots.
Now, my Danish has somehow still, miraculously been improving, and I actually understood a lot of what they were saying about the incident on the news. To be fair, none of them called anyone an idiot, and didn’t mention the word ignorance, so they were a lot more objective than I’ve already been here, but while they were discussing it, it seemed that they couldn’t quite erase the bemused expressions off of their faces. They even said “this is quite difficult for Danes to understand.” Overall, it was even more embarrassing to see our news being covered in Europe. They did a small spot on it again during the morning news that I was watching while attempting to finish the sleeve of my nephew’s sweater, and the anchor asked her guest why this was even an issue in the states. The guest responded citing that American politics are quite entwined still with religion. A president in the US is expected to pull out a few God Bless Americas every time he makes a public appearance, while she admitted that if a Danish politician were to do the same, he would be laughed at. She mentioned that the US tends to play to and honor Christian values instead of science and common sense. She even managed to say it in a fair, non-judgmental tone of voice. Kudos.
Now, if some Americans heard that, they would probably say “you bet we do, and we’re proud of it!” but even as I look at that sentence again, I can’t help but cringe and wonder when the US is going to catch up.
As an American here in Europe, I often feel the shadow of the US following me around. I’m often the token American, and I feel like I have to answer for everything (ridiculous as it may be) that the US does. The “US” being politicians, corporations, psychotic individuals, etc. The title of this blog, An American Hermit Crab in Denmark, is actually the title of one of my poems, and I’m feeling more and more like I’m carrying my “home,” the US, on my back wherever I go here. I wish it were easier to realize that the people who leave the states to live somewhere else are often the people who aren’t the most thrilled with how things are going there, and are the last people who can really answer for the shenanigans that play out on the news.
The best part about feeling the shame of having such awful human beings as leaders in my home country is seeing people rise against them. Maybe if things get weird enough, the general public will have a breakthrough and we’ll turn, as a country, a bit more towards science and research, and if we’re lucky, maybe towards some common sense, too.