Saturday, January 5, 2013

Is New Zealand all that different to the USA?


Recently we have seen many sad examples of how things can go horribly wrong in the USA. Of course most of you will be thinking about the ‘massacres’ at schools and other places by gun wielding individuals who we later find out have some sort of ‘mental health’ issues. We also see other examples of ‘societal rift’ in the USA. Why is this so?

Firstly, countries like New Zealand take a large part of their news feeds from the USA (and of course the BBC) and given that the Americans have a penchant for their sort of USA-centred news, we are therefore partaking and observing  all that is ‘bad’ and ‘good’ about the USA. Of course we have our own news gathering services but if you did an analysis of the news and the point of origin, then I think you get the picture---right? So NZ and other countries are fed news that gives a picture of the USA on a constant basis. This has happened for a good many years and naturally that has a knock on effect, re how we see the world---as an extension of the USA.

I’m pretty sure many people will disagree with my blunt and simplistic analysis (there we are--- I have given you the words to criticise my ‘position’) and may even react with anger. That’s OK, if it gets you thinking.

I headed my blog with a question---‘Is NZ all that different to the USA?’ Well it is and it isn’t. If you take everything I say in the context that the USA is many times bigger than NZ, both in population and in area, then you may come to the conclusion that in a larger pond there are more ‘creatures.’ The ‘creatures’ I refer to are of course the life-styles, beliefs and ways of behaving. It goes without saying that the bigger ‘pond’ is more diverse and possibly more ‘extreme’ in its variations.

Some people have stated, and here I am only reporting ‘others’ views,’ that “the further one travels from the coast of the USA, the more extreme (yes, and whacko!) the views.” Where does one find most of the ‘survivalists, fundamentalist religions and political views that verge on the ‘laughable?’ OH hell, there goes my chance of visiting such areas! I’m on the lynch list.

Add in of course the slavishly adherent love affair with an Amendment (you know which one I am referring to) that allows and possibly encourages citizens to bear arms; an amendment which was written at a time when the ‘guns’ were only effective at close range and the squirrel had to ‘pose for the camera in order to be hit.’ That icon of law could not and did not take into account the array of ‘weapons’ that would be used in its ‘upholding.’

Now add in my last ‘factor’ for this blog; the fact that nearly one in four teenagers in the USA is on some sort of ‘legal’ medication. God knows how many are on ‘illegal’ ones.’ This figure is a blemish on society and it is possibly replicated in NZ, although possibly on a lesser scale. (We are playing catch-up though) What is it about society that has changed so much in recent generations? Why is society so damaged that a large portion of its members have the need for ‘mental health medication?’  Let’s leave the answering of that for later blogs and for others to add their viewpoints. I merely make the point.

I come to the conclusion that apart from the scale and extremes, New Zealand is indeed following on from the USA. It is more a matter of time and scale that reveals the differences. Luckily, that which we follow is not all bad and the links between our two nations are strong and generally healthy. The USA is reaching a point where it is going to look at its very base building- blocks. The words will fly and we will see even more extreme viewpoints about what is needed to ‘fix it.’ Watch out for some colourful ideas and the politicians who will do their best to mould society in ‘their image.’ For the ‘fundy Christians,’ the word ‘Beast’ will be prominent in their protestations. For the liberals who will be throwing up their hands in disgust, not necessarily in worship, it will all be too much.

We will be watching from NZ and feeling a little smug,  knowing that in a smaller pond we can more easily see what the other ‘creatures’ are up to. THAT’S THE DIFFERENCE!
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