|For many of Britain's transplanted Americans, who lived through the height of the vitriol hurled at the Bush administration over the Iraq war, it is a feeling that takes some getting used to. One US diplomat recalls that during Bush's November 2003 visit to London, disrupted by major anti-war protests, the president was moved to remark on a recent stunt by magician David Blaine, who had been pelted by kebabs as he was suspended in a plastic box above the Thames. "I'll bet you they wish it had been me up there," he said. |
At some stage, feels American Londoner Matthew Lynch, an instinctive conservative who voted for Obama this time around, the "Bush-bashing got so unimaginative and boring, it was beating a dead horse".
Yet even with the often heard British caveat that "it's not Americans, it's the administration we can't stand", the effect on ordinary expatriates was inescapable - particularly for those, like Lynch, who feel that history may gradually soften the view of the 43rd president and that "if it was not for Iraq, his presidency would not be so tarnished".
Zimmerman arrived in London on the day that Bush took office in 2001. The move was prompted by his work as a research scientist. "It was just chance," he says. But so appalled was he by Bush's election that he began thinking of himself as something of a political refugee. He took to joking to Londoners who asked him where he was from, saying: "I'm pretending to be Canadian until the revolution." (He chuckles that, despite Britain's famous pride in its non-American sense of "irony", this sometimes elicited the response: "Where in Canada?")
"It has been very, very rare over the past few years to run into Brits who didn't respond to the Bush administration as kind of the political equivalent of a snake-handling cult," he says.
Soriano's husband Cesar, a foreign correspondent who before moving to Britain reported from Iraq for USA Today, recalls: "Before we knew anybody really, we would never tell anybody we were American. Because we'd always get it in the neck."
Since election day, as one American businessman puts it, living in an Obama-smitten Britain, has felt like a long, pleasant sense of "exhaling".
Marsha Soriano says she is feeling "really proud" these days, and has even displayed the Stars and Stripes on her desk. "It's a great time to be American."
Sunday, December 28, 2008
Americans in UK now love America again.
UK: I dislike these sort of Americans or any ex-pat who feel their existence on this planet is based on the people in the country they are in love them. I consider these types an especially wretched lot.