Page 51 - Cormorant 2019
P. 51

   including the tensions between North and South, East and West, Slavery and Liberty, and native and non-native Americans. The guided tour of Congress will doubtless remain one of the most startling discoveries of RSE2 for the European visitors. Statues and paintings from different States and periods of history are gathered in this seat of power that balances even the President’s prerogatives, reinforcing the sense that the United States is a
rich mix cultures. Despite being the capital of the United States, perhaps surprisingly Washington DC simply does not encompass the sheer diversity of American views. This was despite the Congressional Research Service doing their best to present an objective picture of security issues currently vexing US Senators and Representatives.
The stopover at Philadelphia helped us understand the circumstances around the Declaration of Independence and the signing of the American Constitution. A guided tour of the Liberty Bell and
the Independence Hall allowed us to grasp the disagreements between the Thirteen States in the late 1700s. All agreed on the ‘ends’ – less taxes and better representation in the British Parliament; but they differed on the ‘means’ – whether to go to war with Britain or not. If Europe is a bright patchwork of different people and nations, we also realised that the
United States is clearly a mosaic of different States with their individual cultures.
Our last stop in New York enabled us to view another facet of the United States. The stunning architecture of dozens and dozens of skyscrapers combined with the sense that New York seems to always be on the go, conducting business and exuberant entertainment day and night, which promptly projected a feeling of power, wealth and exuberance. Emotions peak at
the 9/11 memorial. By contrast, the United Nations combines almost all the countries in the world in 1950s, Scandinavian-style meeting rooms. These chambers provide quiet places for compromises
and agreements that could lead to, as Dame Karen Pierce - the Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom to the United Nations - told us, a deep modernisation of the Security Council in the next year. New York brings together business and one of the most impressive world democratic institutions.
It would be pretentious to say that RSE2 enabled us to fully understand Americans and the United States. Nevertheless, RSE2 certainly allowed us to question our preconceptions. The United States is definitely a much more complex reality to understand than would have been possible solely by sitting in the Cormorant Hall.
  Our last stop
in New York enabled us to view
another facet of the United States. ◆◆◆

   49   50   51   52   53