I have to admit that I never thought that my experience in the United States constituted a cultural shock to me, a Portuguese. People, of course, accustomed to long journeys and with a universal vocation. Not only is the food (which is already a lot!), Is the traffic, how people relate, going to the doctor, buy medicines at the pharmacy, television programming, the format of TV news, the format of newspapers, political life, parish life, so many other things.
Never consider a country better or worse than another country. The comparisons are inevitable, but I always try (something I learnt over time), to understand how certain people see the world and interact with it. As one friend said, to experience a new culture, to learn a new language is to open a new window to the reality.
Two months after starting work in the newsroom of the Missouri Digital News, this Missouri statehouse experience has confirmed my friend's statement: the culture and American politics has helped me to open up to the new reality.
Here is a small but significant example, something imaginable in European parliaments. I speak of the famous filibuster, that is, when a senator talks endlessly in order to kill the bill. Or, when the minority party uses the filibuster so that the House cannot pass another bill that the minority rejects. I have to confess, when I learned of it said, it is absurd! More absurd when a senator is not even required on the bill, you can just read a book, a newspaper, talking about wrestling, baseball, whatever you want. Do not think that is a rare thing. Just last week, the purpose of a bill on the statement and the court expert opinion held the filibuster.
However, if we adopt the principle that no country is better than another and try to understand the idiosyncrasies of a people you come to the conclusion that the filibuster can be the greatest service you can do to the democracy. If we consider that philosophy of Machiavelli (a power maintenance based on a broad consensus) is very present in modern governance, subjecting politicians to permanent temptation and actual sin to rule often sacrificing the truth on the altar of statistics, filibuster can be considered "atomic bomb of truth." This, of course, is the most positive view of this democratic instrument.
No better or worse countries: there are different countries. And as we have much to learn from these differences!
Missouri Digital News is produced by Missouri Digital News, Inc. -- a non profit organization of current and former journalists.