A very wise contributor to this forum recently said:
“I’m convinced that the best way to gauge the temper of the times in any particular place is to live there oneself’ “
He is absolutely right. And so I hope that he will understand that I am writing as someone who has lived in two countries that are not in the U.S.A – but are independent, democratic countries who elect their own Prime Ministers to do the bidding of their electorates.
I’m not altogether sure why I’m doing this but somehow feel that, on behalf of my nation, I ought to offer apologies to the rest of the world for yesterday’s disgraceful behavior in our nation’s capitol. I fear that such antics do after all reflect who we are – what we have become – rather than who we used to be. They’ve made us, the land of my birth, the laughingstock of many if not most other nations.
Some of those involved may vainly grope for excuses and may cite infringement upon personal liberty by things like Coronavirus lockdowns, mandatory wearing of masks, etc.. Such things do not wash with me.
At least the FBI are doing their job and are hoovering up all film, video and airline passenger lists that may lead to more arrests. As of this moment, they’ve already nabbed 52 people, more than I’ve seen arrested in any civil unrest before now. It’s also worth noting that, in two weeks, we’ll have a new President and a whole new Government who, hopefully, will bend their efforts to putting this sort of nonsense to bed once and for all.
Again, I apologize to all for any irritation, anger or whatever caused by this humiliating lapse within the United States of America by my fellow citizens.
This morning I received a message from an acquaintance, a woman in her 70s who grew up between Britain and Hunland. She asked me for my opinion on Adolfina Honecker’s, I mean, Angela Merkel’s, China deal. Having been distracted with other things recently, I hadn’t heard about it. (Funny how real life and work tend to get in the way of things) I took a Captain Cook and was amused.
Amused. Yes, I was amused. The EU will now increasingly become reliant on China. Had this been 20 years ago, I would have been more forgiving. Even 10 years ago one could have been relatively forgiving. After all, Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao followed Deng Xiaoping’s maxim that China’s initials “PRC” should serve as an acronym for its foreign policy: please remain calm. Under Deng and his hand-picked successors, China sought to position itself as a stable, doveish but assertive alternative to an often histrionic United States. As the 1990s came to a close and the USA engaged in a catastrophic series of wars and foreign policy blunders after 9/11, Deng’s call bore fruit.
Here for starters is a listing of all the countries – large or small -that I’ve previously visited outside the UK, organized roughly north to south where Europe and Africa are concerned.
1. Finland (inc. Ivalo, 200 miles north of Arctic Circle) 2. Sweden (to verbally examine a PhD candidate’s thesis in public!) 3. Denmark (Copenhagen – somewhat disappointing) 4. Germany (Berlin especially memorable) 5. Netherlands 6. Belgium (Bruges highly memorable). 7. France (8 years full-time residence in historic port-town of Antibes on the Riviera, approx halfway between Cannes and Nice).
Historic country, vast array of scenery, but something lacking tourist-wise – lack of communication, joie de vivre?).
Germany is a special place, special in the nest of three-headed, phosphorescent rats on the shores of Lake Karachay sense. Germany can be difficult to stomach at the best of times. After all, even seemingly mundane matters can give those of us with distinctly Anglo-Saxon leanings fits of the vapours. For example, in order to be enrolled in a “Krankenkasse”, I was instructed to provide a copy of my British health insurance card that does not exist. They were well aware that prior to my descent into madness, I mean, move to Germany, I had been living in the United Kingdom. They were also aware that there is no British health insurance card. Yet they requested it anyway.
For ages now, I’ve felt it best to avoid discussing, except with people with whom one is really really close, two subjects: politics and religion. At this moment, therefore, I’ll confine my comments to saying that I’m incredibly glad that the USA election process has finally come to an apparent end.
Oh, sure, there will no doubt be recounts and even some lawsuits to follow but, the latter being baseless so far as I’ve seen, I’m prepared to accept them as a form of entertainment rather than being annoyed by any intrusion into my alleged mind. Any recounts should go quickly because, with the time-consuming work of signature verification and postmark checking already done, the ballots will need only a trip through a high-speed scanning/sorting machine. What’s most upset me has been the endless yammering of media types, the odd preemption of favorite TV programs, often conflicting and largely incorrect poll results, etc., etc.. In particular, I swear that the CNN people must be paid by the word. I got to the point of almost not caring who would win the Presidential election, just so long as there was no more talking about it.
Let quiet reign, that I may finally sleep soundly. At least until the riots start. Yes, that’s right, the authorities expect that “civil unrest” may break out in Seattle, Portland and a number of other cities. Why all those people want to go out and cause trouble is beyond me, but then that’s a subject for another posting.