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September 29, 2005

Bristol, England

Sorry about the lack of posts. It's difficult when in another country. I've been working a lot this week - it is kind of a last minute they have to understand everything right now kind of thing, so I've worked late.
The clients are great - they took me out to some bars and dinner on Wednesday night and we just had a marvelous time.

They asked me tons of questions about the USA and how our government works. They all admitted that they did not realize that each state has its own constitution, legislature and judicial and executive branch. In fact, they did not understand the 'balance of powers' until I explained them.

They are appalled by legal gun ownership in the USA.

I have invited all of them to go out target shooting with John and I should they ever come to our part of the country. Oddly enough, they all agreed.

They were surprised that Kansas is larger in square miles than England (not counting Wales or Scotland) and has a population of only 2.6 million.

Every one of the guys think that Tony Blair is Bush's poodle. I just looked at them funny. We had a lively conversation about guns, defending one's self and New Orleans. I think I was able to explain a little about how our government works as compared to the Parliamentary government here.

They had no idea that we could vote for so many office holders.

They had no idea that we could vote for a Democrat Senator and a Republican President.

They were shocked when I explained how many levels of government we have - city, county, state and federal - and even more shocked to find out that we elect leaders in all of those levels.

They all think West Wing is real. I set them straight.

Not one of them realized that our abortion laws will allow abortion up until the minute of birth. They thought that our laws were like the laws here in the UK - where there are limits on when a child can be aborted. They were apalled and wondered why the press seemed to think that the USA is on the brink of banning all abortions.

As a whole, the Brits seem to be really hung up on the USA and how we live our lives and elect our leaders. There are daily critiques of the USA in the papers and on the BBC. It's almost comical - do they have nothing here worth reporting on outside of the latest young woman who has been killed by some rapist?

The idea of self defense is incomprehensible to the guys I'm working with. They think I'm pretty much some kind of viking/amazonian woman - because I told them I would not hesitate to shoot someone threating my home and family.

In fact they all kinda backed away from me a little bit. One of them said to just give the crook what he/she wants and he/she will leave you alone. When I told him I would happily gouge out the eyes of any man who tried to rape me - he was absolutely stunned - he said that I had to be fair and use fair force.

At the same time, every single one of these guys will admit that the UK is an enormous Nanny State.

One hospital has now banned visitors from cooing at babies - because, you know, babies' feelings might be hurt by all those coochie coos, etc.

I really love coming to the UK for work for a week or so, but I would never, ever want to live here!!

Posted by Beth at September 29, 2005 03:03 PM