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Posted: March 31, 2012 7:36 p.m.

America through foreign eyes

I've been in Europe for going on three weeks now, and I'm ready to come home. I miss my family, my bed, my friends and my guitars. I miss big steaks, cold sodas, twisted Southern English and rock and roll. I even miss our stupid American electoral circus, the lame tabloid-like coverage of our party-hardy political parties and the inert populace that thinks "insightful news analysis" is a reporter droning on about which politician said which "bad word" in which public forum. I miss all of this - warts and all - and I want it back. Europe is lovely and sexy, but it's not home.

We Americans look pretty silly in Europe - far sillier than we really are. I turned on the television in Copenhagen, and guess what I saw of America? I saw hillbillies in a swamp, trying to move some logs to a saw mill. I saw rednecks with guns.

Gun-handling Americans are a hot item on European TV. No one in Europe owns a gun; everyone in America gets a new bazooka for Christmas...so the TV tells me.

I saw illiterate gang members representing America; I saw toothless moonshiners representing America. I heard some of the worse hick slang this side of Appalachia, and it was all "the story of America."

This is what Europe thinks of us - of me. And, the travesty wasn't isolated to south of the Mason-Dixon line; I saw mobsters, too. And, I saw Dean Martin. If you judge America by what you see on European TV, it's easy to sum up: Dean Martin smokes a cigarette while New Jersey mobsters shoot Alabama rednecks who are chasing gators in a Florida swamp. That's America in the eyes of European television. That's the life everyone thinks I live. It's a hard reputation to play down. So, I want to come home, where the truth is a bit clearer.

Europe is an amazing story of ancient history, deep culture and tiny soft drinks that cost about five bucks a pop. Europeans are curious about America - the same way we are curious when we go to the zoo to watch the funny monkeys behind the glass walls. Europe is wonderful, but I can only say, "No, I don't own a gun rack," so many times before it gets old. America, I'm coming home to you. You're far from perfect, but you're mine, and I love you.

 

David McCoy, a self-proclaimed Southern Gentleman and Raconteur-in-Training, lives in Covington with his family.

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