English German

  Edition # 1  
San Francisco, 01-26-1997

Figure [1]: The transportation boxes from Munich arrive in San Francisco.

I hope my description won’t keep you from visiting us. Don’t worry, Michael can highlight the scruffy areas on the map, and I swear there’s still enough places that don’t have to be highlighted because they are relatively safe.

What really is shocking to us, is the poverty that follows you all the time you’re walking through San Francisco. There are many homeless beggars. If you walk beyond a bridge you’ll always find two or three homeless people that sleep there looking for shelter from the weather. A big issue is that the conditions to receive social benefits have recently gotten worse. The government is planning to limit payment of social benefits to two years. If you don’t find a job by then, you won’t receive social benefits anymore. They say they are going to introduce support programs to help the unemployed find jobs, although there is debate in the liberal newspapers about this because they think that’s not enough. If you read the local newspapers, you'll find that they attribute the rise of violence and crime partly to bad education, especially in public schools. Nevertheless, there are no protests by the general population. The old-fashioned prejudice about America is still true indeed: In case you’re healthy, young, Caucasian and willing to take a risk, you can achieve anything in America. In case you’re poor, sick, black or old, you’d better not live in America.

I hope I haven't focussed too much on these horror scenarios but I think that you’re interested in a realistic image of America. Anyway, it’s different if you live in that country or are just traveling there as a tourist. Even as a tourist, you notice the social distress and the social unjustice, but you’re involved in a totally different way if you're living there.

Thanks to Boris Kleinbach, kleinbach@ymail.com for translating the original German text to English.

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