If Only They Didn't Speak English: Notes From Trump's America

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If Only They Didn't Speak English: Notes From Trump's America

If Only They Didn't Speak English: Notes From Trump's America

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If your government doesn't maintain the infrastructure, mend roads, bridges, railways, what are they for? From his experience as the BBC's North America editor, Jon Sopel gives facts and insider's anecdotes which illuminate American politics, history and culture. I give this author his credit he has done his best to give a fair account of the things he witnessed.

Like all good journalists, he goes out of his way to find new or interesting angles on a story; that's as true of this book as his broadcast work. And if the world falls apart, one can count on the BBC and their reporters to do an excellent job reporting on it.Though being a news reporter, Sopel’s main focus is on how Trump has managed to sidestep and overpower traditional news media. A dangerous chapter to comment on, but it amuses me that he doesn't understand the term person of colour. A well written account of the things that Jon Sopel really likes about the USA which, thankfully, chimes perfectly with what I've found, travelling there for around ten years.

Mr Sopel looks at the various key cultural and social norms that define America and sets it against the rest of the West – especially western Europe – and tries to explain what drives American society, and what its flashpoints are. An easy read for non Americans wanting to absorb the BBC 24 news bulletins in a more thematic and considered perspective. The most interesting and alarming are those on God and guns, where real insights and frightening statistics lodge in the mind. Nonetheless, it is nice to have your impressions confirmed by someone who actually knows what he is talking about.

You might have thought that what an individual chooses to ingest to alter his or her consciousness was his or her own affair. Nonetheless, Mr Sopel has good things to say about the US, such as how charming and polite its people can be, and how thoughtful and intelligent Barack Obama was when he was in office and his dignity out of it. Beginning and ending with chapters that explain the Trump presidency, such as the anger that got him into power and a new chapter on the first year of chaos in the White House (as well as the surprising resurgence in economic prosperity), there are chapters on religion, race, guns, patriotism, pharmacological abuse and big government. Another way to distract people’s attention is to inflate a huge balloon, of red color and with inscription “PATRIOTISM” on it. The USA as a whole hardly knows UK exists, but Westminster politicians have talked up the "special relationship" for decades.

It seems that more than half the population consider themselves ‘seriously religious’ and it’s virtually inconceivable that an atheist candidate could – at this time, at least – find his or her way to the White House. The National Rifle Association is too powerful, and has too strong a hold over politicians in Washington, and the US population – where guns in circulation outnumber people to own them – are too wedded to their machinery and its embeddness in the constitution, however distorted its interpretation might have been.It’s possible that many ignore the obvious exaggerations and mistakes in detail (or outright lies) but focus instead on the general underlying message – and as a result many of them are sold on Trump’s view of the world and his focus on how to make America great again.

Please, do not forget that about 200 years ago allegedly the Founding Fathers of the USA declared that “all men are created equal”. The title of the book refers to the fact that Americans speak English, which gives the British people the idea that we’re sort of like their long-distance cousins—we don’t live in the same house, but we’re a part of the same family. The ambition is to probe a bit more deeply, but the author can't get far without his sense of outrage, and what we are left feels a bit too much like a list of what Trump did next.It caused such a massive influx of prisoners, that the country heralded a special programme of prison building to cope with the extra demand for cells. First they bring to the stage Bill Clinton, who looks like a harmless redneck, looking refuge in sexual quirks. Sopel doesn't take aim at Trump or at Clinton, he doesn't lambast the poor coverage or the role of social media and he doesn't reduce Americans down to thoughtless fools. The two examples cited by Sopel as indicative of the vanity and personal style of the President were Rex Tillotson and Admiral Jackson (physician turned politician in quick time!

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