In an affable meeting between President Bush and Aussie Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, Bush said he admired Rudd because he was like a Texan, a straight-shooter. Rudd reciprocated by saying that he will make Bush an honorary Queenslander.
Any idiot could tell that the two men were being diplomatic. Hosts are polite to their guests and guests should be polite to their hosts. Both leaders did the right thing.
I am not at all surprised that a Texan should be hospitable. Having visited Texas and stayed there for several weeks, I would be the first to declare that Texans are the most courteous and hospitable people I have ever met. I was amazed by their consideration when we were trying to negotiate difficult roads during our drives. There was no impatient honking as you would get in Queensland. Everyone we met was friendly and there was an admirable Western chivalry in Texan men which really charmed me. People said “Please” and “thank you” and that wonderful “Pardon me” that brought an appreciative smile to my face. Even young people were courteous. I would gladly visit again.
Frankly, I’m not quite sure that Bush would really want to be an honorary Queenslander if he ever became familiar with the place. He would be shocked by the angry honking on the roads, the impatience, the two-fingered salute, the queue jumping, the lack of respect for other people and the inability of many people to speak politely.
From what I see in other states, though, this problem is endemic to Australia. I suspect that Texans would be horrified by our behaviour. It isn’t being honest to judge Aussie behaviour by the extra-friendly greetings of trained volunteers during the Olympics. Such “greeters” were vetted. We seem to have lost our sunny and friendly attitude. And that is such a shame.