A View From Denmark

Fountain in CopenhagenI’ve recently had the pleasure of hanging out in Copenhagen, Denmark for a week.  This wasn’t my first visit to a Scandinavian country, I’ve been privileged to enjoy several.  These visits have given me an opportunity to see a fair amount of the culture and the lives of the people who call Scandinavia home.

One very worthwhile aspect of these visits is the opportunity to see how people in Scandinavian countries view us average citizens in the U.S.A.  Increasingly it seems the image of an average American (U.S. citizen) might be summed up with the question;  Has everyone lost their minds?

Consider:

  • We put highly toxic waste into most public water supply systems.  We even import foreign toxic waste for that purpose.  (And call it medication.)
  • Our medical care system is ready, willing and able, on a moment’s notice, to bankrupt any and all but the most wealthy.  We have a “for profit” medical system and there are extravagant profits being made via that system.
  • We increasingly have a “for profit” prison system and have a higher percentage of our population incarcerated than any other country on Earth.
  • A great many U.S. citizens know who the popular entertainment personalities are romantically involved with but have no idea where the Baltic States are or what’s happening there.  Many (most?) do not know where Finland is or quite possibly that such a country even exists.
  • Many (most?) U.S. citizens seem to think they want to be rich but have no idea about the cultural effects of a “winner take all” capitalist economic system.  Nor any idea of how good life can be when there is a viable, stable middle class.
  •  The U.S. military/industrial complex seems determined to exert military power around the world regardless of the costs of doing so to the American public.
  • The Scandinavians I’ve spoken with feel they are seeing worthwhile returns on their tax dollars.  Free or low cost higher education and medical care being two primary areas they see benefits in.  Not having to worry about being bankrupted by a sudden illness or injury probably even has some positive effect in preventing such illnesses/injuries.

Now it’s not that the Scandinavian countries have somehow found a way to establish heaven on Earth.  The reality is that unfortunately what is happening in northern Europe is looking like the culture there is gradually replicating the events that have brought the U.S. culture to the low point it currently is at. Culturally insensitive profiteering seems to be like a contagious virus spreading around the world.  And I have to say it’s sad to see the gradual deterioration that is appearing in Scandinavia’s cities.

It’s all the more sad to see the deterioration happening here at home.

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