- Posted June 16, 2012 by
Beverly Hills, California
This iReport is part of an assignment:
New citizens: Why did you become American?
" Sadly.....it's NOT the same America...ANYMORE " !
" That wonderful magical...fantasy...intriguing...fascinating...alluring land...where most dreams RARELY come true " ! When I first ventured to America, the land of my fantasies and dreams in 65 it was a wonderful, magical and amazing place, especially LA where I would thereafter spend 25 years.
It was the peak of the British Invasion so as a British (Welsh born) radio and television DJ and entertainer with a journalistic background (cowboy at 13,reporter at 15, radio DJ Australia at 16,band promoter at 17) I had little trouble making a success of my career and was a top DJ in many States. I found the Country, people and opportunities by far the best anywhere in the World and I had grown up in the UK, Australia, NZ, etc.
I was a single Father with 2 Sons at the time,It's been TOUGH folks,as any single parent will understand, pursuing an extremely competitive career and trying to raise kids at the same time ! Somehow we all survived. The boys were with my Mother in Sydney as my wife and I had seperated and later divorced, she went to the US in 65 and has lived there since. I went to the States to seek a better future for us and to further my broadcast career. Later I got to introduce top bands like the Stones at their concerts too.
During the 60'and 70's America and especially the West coast was the BEST place on the Planet to be. I was an entertainer and writer living in the hub of the World's creative stage ! What more could anyone ask for, I felt exhilirated and grateful to be on American soil and loved and enjoyed every exciting moment ! My Son went to high school in southern california and cruised Van Nuys and Whittier blvds when they were THE place to be if you had exotic cars and he ALWAYS drove classic Corvettes, Camaros and Mustangs !
That was then... this is now and I spend much of my time in the far east.. After the Vietnam war America changed in MANY SAD ways. US troops returned and brought their frustrations, anger at government screwups and what amounted to US surrender and scurrying to leave in defeat of another futile and unwinable US war and country where they had lost many of their buddies and best friends ! They felt betrayed and were even madder when people called them baby killers,etc ! At the time many if not most Americans were in a very anti-war mood. A large percentage of the troops had become addicted to drugs like morphine and this didn't stay in Nam but resulted in violence, crime and homelessness for too many of these formerly fine, decent and patriotic folk......in essence destroying their lives, their futures and their American dreams !
Then came the invasion of mostly mexican illegal immigrants, they flooded over the border any which way they could and the small contingency of border guards could do little to prevent them ! Every cheap motel, apartment building and trailer park became havens for the illegals and eventually they ventured into jobs other than agriculture which was their original employment as temporary workers and into mainstream jobs taking them at much lower pay from Americans thus causing long term unemployment and havoc for legal citizens and residents...including mexican Americans.
Before long, mexicans and other latins formed or joined gangs, these differed greatly from the gangs of the 50's and 60's...they became more violent and deadly daily.....many mexicans and other latinos started smuggling marijuana and other drugs across the border and immigrant gangs from places like el and san salvador started fighting the mexican gangs for territory,etc. Rapes, robberies, murder and mayhem were the order of the day in many parts of LA and gradually spread nationwide as the gangs expanded, not all immigrants came to America for the DREAM ! On top of this there was the problems of motorcycle gangs like the hells angels. rebels, mongols,vandals. to name just a few that were also competing for territory,etc. All these factors and many more like out of control DIRTY HARRY mentality cops taking matters into their own hands to dish out street justice,etc. political corruption, crooked lawyers and judges,etc corporate sheisters from coast to coast and a growing army of shopping cart losers heading West to warmer grounds, runaways being groomed as hookers,etc and a whole FREELOADER mentality younger generation of LAZY, UNAMBITIOUS, LOST people, absolutely turned LA and much of the Western US into something other than the American dream !
The jails and prisons of America, especially California were filled to bursting point...mostly with blacks, mexicans, working classes and the poor, not just because many of them commited the most violent and worst crimes but because most couldn't afford decent mouthpiece lawyers who have long sprung the wealthy crooks ! Resulting in many innocents being punished together with the guilty ! The penal institutions were and still are places of sheer hell, mental and physical torture and society's VENGEANCE...NOT rehabilitational institutions in any way, shape or form and people come out much WORSE than when they entered with a deeper hatred and contempt for the justice system, establishment and society !
- " The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons "
Even so...America is still the BEST place in many, many ways, especially for those who are unhappy and discontent with their lot elsewhere,but with daily shootings and millions of hapless people too, countries like Japan where I and my Son's have lived for years are MUCH safer environments with a MUCH better raised, self disciplined, extremely HONEST society as most expats will agree.
In all fairness though, I have SO MUCH to thank America for and learned more in short time there about life and reality than anyplace ever ever before!
All this disillussionment...and I have ALWAYS been an optimist folks...SHATTERED my visions of the American dream and my images of the America...I fell in love with...my feelings about America HAVEN'T changed...There's only ONE amazing place called America...it's just NOT the SAME place...anymore !