22 important Things You Need to Know As an American when visiting other countries, what things did you realize were utterly ridiculous if they were in the US?
- Not being allowed to drink in public.
- Crazy fear of nudity. As an American in Europe, one must quickly get past any squeamishness concerning nudity. Or else don’t go out to any green areas, or beaches, from April/ May- August. People here, at least in Denmark, will sunbathe somewhat or completely nude. Even in parks, the forest, and cemeteries (yes, you read that correctly). Near my home, there is a beach that has a section reserved for nudists. Now, this section is not shielded from view. In fact, just 100 metres or so away from the nude adults, will be young families playing in the water, soaking up the sun. Yes, young children can look over and see grown (often quite old) naked people. No one cares. Hell, if you look, you can see them from the road!! Again, no one cares. At the swim halls, everyone must shower before entering the pool. This means, young children and adults are running around completely naked. And children are allowed into the changing rooms/ showers of the opposite sex until they’re 7 years old. This means, little boys are seeing naked women, and little girls are seeing naked men. Until the age of 7.
- Not showering before entering a pool. Maybe this is a rule at indoor pools in the US? If so, ignore this point.
- Medical insurance. Who the hell decided to get INSURANCE companies involved in health care?!???? Whomever they are, the American taxpayers should have stopped that before it started!
- Paying for an education. Again, what??? Why should only those who can afford to, get an education? And how has the cost of universities and colleges been allowed to skyrocket so?
- Fast food restaurants everywhere
- Not taking better care of the needy. This idea that helping those in need will only result in people being lazy needs to go.
- Having to live in constant fear. Of almost everything. Fear of being attacked. Fear of a mass shooter. Fear of getting sick. Fear that your child will be stolen. Fear of losing your job (I mean the death- gripping fear we have in the USA. The kind of fear that comes from knowing that, losing your job means more than just a minor setback. )
- That one can be taught to drive by anyone holding a license. Here, in Denmark, if you want to get a driver’s license, you must enrol in a driving school, where you will be taught per the requirements set by the ministry. It will cost you somewhere around $2000, if you pass on the first go. This ensures we have well- trained drivers, who also understand, and respect the responsibility.
- Also, how cheap it is to own a car, pay for gas, insurance, etc. In Denmark, cars are expensive, gas is expensive, insurance is expensive. Plus you have to pay CO2 tax and road wear tax. This keeps people from driving crappy, gas- guzzling, environment- polluting cars.
- Fighting against a living wage. Why would anyone NOT want minimum wage to be raised? From what I understand, had the living wage followed inflation in the economy, minimum wage would now be around $22 an hour! This would mean that, those working in trained professions would be paid more, as well!
- The idea that politicians are allowed to take such high donations. Basically, that politicians are bought by corporations, meaning they are no longer working for the taxpayers.
- Taxpayers living in fear of the government. The government should be fearing the taxpayers, and be willing to bend over backwards to keep all of you happy!
- Obedience. In the USA, it seems that obedience is far- too valued. Parents demand it from their children. Bosses demand it from their workers. Police demand it from the public. Politicians in office demand it from the citizens. Sure, for those in power, obedience is wonderful. You keep everyone in line, no one questions what you’re up to.
- The undervaluing of children. Children are especially expected to be obedient. They’re often not treated with respect or kindness. They’re ordered around, threatened, intimidated, shamed, humiliated, yelled at, hit, isolated, and more. It’s no wonder the American society is in the mess it’s in if children have this kind of start in life.
- That America has allowed itself to be bought and owned by the car, gas, and interstate companies. Most Americans NEED a car to get around due to the lack of public transportation. Imagine being able to hop on a train, or bus, or even being able to safely bike to work! You can either sit back and relax, or get some exercise in. Bike paths throughout Europe are often set up as a separate sidewalk- type thing. As opposed to just a painted line on the street (if there’s anything like that at all). Or imagine biking being more than just a leisure activity!
- The two party system. I understand now why the American political system is such a mess. Who decided that having only two parties was a good idea??? In Denmark, we have no fewer than 10 (though I believe it’s more than that) parties to choose from! You can vote as extreme, right or left, or as conservative, right or left, as you want. No one will ever accuse you of “throwing away your vote”, or “voting for the lesser of two evils”. Even if your party doesn’t win prime minister, every vote for your party gives your party more power in parliament. Which, really, is where the power is. All parties, which get a certain number of votes to qualify, act in parliament. This means there’s no one side fully taking over.
- Obvious corruption in the government, and the public turning a blind- eye to it. Americans seem to accept that politicians are corrupt and there’s nothing to be done about it. It’s like the old, and very outdated, concept of “boys will be boys”. Government needs to be transparent, and the public needs to be able to hold them accountable.
- I know I mentioned this briefly, but fearing the police. How crazy is this??? Taxpayers pay for the police to protect and serve. Not to shoot first, ask questions later.
- Guns. More specifically, the idea of owning guns as a right. Gun ownership should always be a privilege and treated as a huge responsibility. The fact that you can go to a gun show and buy a gun on site is just mad. Or that, once you own a gun, there are no requirements for keeping it. One can own a gun for years and never have practiced shooting. They can keep it in their nightstand, desk drawer, kitchen drawer, hallway closet, garage, wherever, and it never has to be locked up. In Denmark, one has to apply for a gun, and have a good reason for having one. Not, “just because”. While the application is being processed, one then goes through extensive training. You must enroll in a shooting course, and go in until the trainers sign off that you know everything about handling a gun. Then, before you’re assigned a gun, you must buy a ministry approved gun safe, steel with a combination lock. Upon receiving the gun, you must still go to training courses, mandated and followed up on by the government. You will also have surprise inspections to see that you’re keeping the gun locked when not in use, and can show you know how to use, clean, store, etc, it.
- Allowing pharmaceutical companies to control the price of medication. Again, the American people have allowed companies which only look out for themselves, and their bottom line, to have full control over their welfare. That diabetics must travel out of the country in order to procure their insulin, or else are playing roulette with their lives due to being able to afford their medication, is just appalling. I’m currently on medication for ADHD and bipolar disorder. These are medications I’ll probably always need to take, but their not life saving, simply allowing me to function. Yet, I’ll never pay more than $300 a year for all of my medication.
- The idea that Americans believe they are “free”. First, this is something only chanted in the USA. Second, it is so far from the truth. America is NOT the “land of the free”. At least not now. I lived in the US for 32 years. I’ve only been in Denmark for 12. I can tell you, for a fact, that I have enjoyed far more freedoms, TRUE freedoms, in these 12 years than in all 32 years in the USA combined. No exaggeration. I feel that this mantra only exists to keep the prols in line. Yes, I’m talking about the taxpayers. The 99%. That, combined with pushing the fear of the “others” is what keeps everyone in line, and allows the rich and powerful make all the decisions. By keeping everyone chanting about “freedom”, and how “America is the best country in the world”, plus how the keep everyone fighting amongst each other (whites hating blacks, blacks fearing cops, white middle class hating the poor, the poor hating immigrants, Christians hating muslims and atheists, etc), then they can keep the public from noticing what’s really going on. Which is, all of your precious “freedoms” are being taken away from you. You’re being pushed so far back into a corner, you’re willing to lash out at anyone nearby. And, sadly, the ones closest to you are the other people being pushed back into corners. You all end up lashing out, tearing at each other, never noticing who has pushed you back there, caged you in, and why.
Edit: I just wanted to thank all of you who have found meaning in my answer. While I’m so touched by all the upvotes, shares, and comments, I’m also saddened that so many find so much truth in what I wrote. At the same time, only once one can admit that something is wrong, then can things begin to change. The more USA taxpayers acknowledge that the system is broken, then the country will be closer to a change for the better.
My fellow Americans, you deserve to have your basic human rights taken care of. Then, all of you will be on much more even footing, and you can focus more of your energy on things that truly matter. Health care and education for all, and a proper safety net for if and when the rug gets pulled out from under your feet. Those are worth paying taxes for.
Keep in mind, it will be an upward battle. Those in power don’t have a single desire to work for you. They want things to be exactly as they are. But by working together, things CAN change. ✊