A Der Spiegel correspondent looks back on his two years living in an upscale suburb of Washington, D. C., and sees am undercurrent of fearfulness in day-to-day American life. Here’s short excerpt:
Donald Trump has been masterful in understanding how to take advantage of that fear — in many areas of life. In politics, in the real estate market and also in the media. At home, we subscribed to The Washington Post. My wife read the entire newspaper, even the local section — leading her to say things like, “Let’s not drive through Prince William County — there are constantly shootings there.” At first, I laughed at her. That is, until I also noticed that I myself had grown more cautious. For example, I no longer like going to stadiums that don’t have security gates. Is that silly? Yes, but fear in America can be contagious.
And it’s true, this country often drives people to despair, even if you live in a bubble. It is wrought with contradictions. Everyone talks about security, but the Americans haven’t even managed to impose reasonable controls on weapon ownership. Everyone talks about freedom, but then, at the swimming pool we went to a few streets to the north, girls were made to wear bikinis even as babies. If I bought a bottle of wine at the store, I had to keep it hidden in a dark plastic bag until I got home.
I commend the entire piece to your attention.