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My return to the USA – culture shock and family reunion

Spent this last Christmas and new year with my brother and his family in Ozark, Alabama – together with our parents.. This is the first time we have all come together an had Christmas together, and the first time in 20 or so years since my parents, my brother and myself have spent Christmas together. Anyway, I had a great time, and as always I have mixed emotions about my homeland: I love the fact that parking is free in a lot of places, public toilets are generally everywhere and not to mention a lot of great places to eat and shop. I am however heart broken about many things, signs of a fallen nation just waiting to crumble, a populace that willingly accepts it’s dumbing down by a broken news media and a willful ignorance to find out the truth. George Orwell once coined the term “double think” – Doublethink is the act of simultaneously accepting two mutually contradictory beliefs as correct. This couldn’t be more true when talking about politics with people.

There is another term that unfortunately is lost on me now, but the idea is that it takes an incredible amount of intelligence to realize you don’t understand something. Often, the least understanding individuals are the ones that will argue loudest for the ideas or concepts they don’t understand – and not realize they don’t understand.  I find this prevalent beyond belief, not only doublethink and the willful ignorance associated with that, but also the complete lack of understanding for general ideas – which often leads to pointless discussion on subjects that I may have studied for years and have a general understanding of, and find myself in the middle of discussion with people who obviously have no clue. Simple facts that are easy to prove or disapprove are simply ignored, often ideas of conspiracy are preferred over simple explanations; in the world of modern USA 2+2 does not equal 4. 2+2 is equal to whatever and whomever decides to argue the loudest.

Ideas that once could be expressed and a discussion could take place existed in a not too distant past, today I can be called a nazi and a snowflake in the same discussion with no thought or mental process from the accuser being apparent. Names and terms have become a kind of acceptable replacement for rational thought and discussion. I think these terms are crutches for the conversational cripple and it says more about the accuser than the accused.

In discussions people will simply refer me to look up the “facts” on Alternet, PragerU or Breitbart, Alex jones, or whatever Trump decides to vomit up as his latest wisdom. (disclaimer: I’m not generally for or against Trump. If he does something good I acknowledge it, if he does something shitty, I say it.) I was left with the feeling that there is no going back, when simple conventions and truths that society are built on are simply ignored, it creates an unnatural conflict, an unwillingness to change and learn. The radicalism that I have simply seen online was put on display in so many ways. I don’t just mean left wing radicalism, but also right wing. It’s all there, it’s not only online, it’s right there, just beneath the surface in everyday situations with real people.

Simply put, I believe it’s going to get a lot worse before it gets better – and there is no guarantee that it will get better. 

With that said, in general I love the people, the workers the survivors: because if nothing else can be said about the USA, one thing is certain, Americans are survivors. Life is not easy in the USA, the reality of working two full time jobs and still not make ends meet, is very real, and you see it everywhere. I sat down with my family to eat at Wendys, my son started playing with another kid who I thought was sitting with his family, then his “family” left him there, alone. Well, turns out his mother was working, at Wendys. These are the people the media likes to call “welfare queens”. Working their asses off, surviving, hustling and just trying to get by.

 

Video filmed on DJI Spark drone and Olympus OMD EM5 II

In any case, I have put together a few pictures and so far one video here from my trip to Ozark, Alabama and a couple days along the Florida coast in Panama city and Pensicola.

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BROKEN DREAMS OF MY HOMETOWN AND A NATION..

I originally posted this on my photography blog http://www.kenneshaw.se

I have been many places in my life, I was born in japan, raised on Honululu Hawaii, currently living in Stockholm Sweden by way of Umeå and Sävar Sweden. There is one place however that I call “home”. I grew up here, had my first love, found out who I was and at the time what I wanted to be. When I lived here all I wanted was to leave, and to this day I couldn’t see myself living here again. But for all it’s weaknesses, decay and desperation; I still call Herlong, California my Home. Read More