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Saturday, March 16, 2013

USA: The Immigrant

Email from America: 1
This series of pieces is a humble homage to ‘Letters from America’ by the late, great Alistair Cooke, who took the Oath of Allegiance in 1941 and whose life’s mission thereafter was to present the American experience to the rest of the world.

I first visited the US in December 1977, and moved here in June 1978. Since then I have lived in Northern Ohio, part of what is called the ‘Midwest’. Looking at a map will go a long way to explaining our local thinking.  But Ohio is by many measures a very average state, which explains the media’s interest in us only every four years, during the national elections. What we see here is as average  'American' as it gets.

Much of my free time has been spent trying to understand this society, and after 35 years it’s still a work in progress. It’s not a coincidence that a leading satirical website is called The Onion, because our culture has many layers, and will bring tears to the eyes.
For all that, like Cooke and millions of other newcomers, I’ve made it my country. To the often ill-concealed pleasure of our national enemies and allies, we’re expert at flaunting our faults and divisions. I shall explore these in future posts, but I also hope to show you some of the virtues that our critics seem more reluctant to learn.

Tim is an English-born math professor and lecturer on gambling strategies.
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