On my way across the US, I’m listening to the radio. Conservatives are debating the importance of protecting the constitutional rights to bare arms. As a European, I find the discussion unusual and very interesting. It is apparent how ideologically different the southern states are compared to the northern, how polarized American politics are, and how both sides in the gun debate do – to some extent – have a plausible argument.
“You can never stop criminals from getting a hold of guns”, the conservative radio guest says. “Look at New York, they have some of USA:s hardest gun restriction laws, but they have more gun murders than Texas, where gun laws are very liberal”, he argues. Then he gets to his point (and I’m paraphrasing here), a point that would be practically impossible to make in Europe. “The only thing that happens if you force guns out of the hands of good Americans, is that you take away their chance to defend themselves against criminals and maniacs. If the Colorado cinema shootings would have taken place in Texas, an armed citizen would have stopped the murderer. But in Colorado, all of the victims were unarmed and defenseless.”. I can’t help to see his point, even if it’s emotionally too distant from my personal beliefs and views on gun control.
Speaking of southern states and conservatives, I arrive in Birmingham, Alabama. I happen to come across Arby’s, a steak sandwich chain I’ve never been to before. So I pick the a Philadelphia steak and cheese sandwich, or “Philly steak”. It’s basically a long roll sandwich thinly-sliced pieces of steak and melted cheese. It has its roots in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I love the United States. I love the American spirit, and I love the food. Both the classics, and the modern American culinary fusions between cultures from around the world. Many of the food chains in the US are, believe it or not, really good. But there’s also a lot of bad ones, and I must say Arby’s is one of them. The bread is spongy, the meat is bland, and even though the cheese is acceptable, it’s not enough to make me cheer. I see how the principle behind a “Philly steak and cheese sandwich” is good, heck I’ll make one myself in an upcoming recipe video, but as far as Arby goes, I give it the thumb down.