I cannot explain Americans

Most of the people I have met since moving north of the border have been circumspect in talking about Americans in generalities–far more circumspect than many Americans I have heard across the years as they  happily paint with a wide and blurring brush across cultural characteristics of virtually anyone. But, lo, the day would come–and apparently today was that day:  on at least three occasions I was presented with unanswerable–but not imponderable questions about the why’s and wherefores of the Americans as though Americanness could be analyzed from the examples.

Why, for starters, do American governors crash and burn, as did Mr South Carolina yesterday?

Explain how populism became so deeply rooted in behaviours, in two sentences or less.

Why do Americans fail to acknowledge health care as a right?

Now, I can put forward all sorts of opinions about any of these but not in cocktail party soundbites and certainly not in a manner that gives tacit agreement that the propositions behind the questions truly reflect the nature of Americanness. I am failing to be properly American, somehow, by failing to be able to explain aberrations that occur in America.

Ah well, nothing for it but to ask equally broad questions about wounded moose and the debate between whether it’s better to snare rabbits or shoot them. Such questions don’t search; they simply serve as jousts.


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