Thursday, December 11, 2008

America, the isolated

Lizi Zach, our Berlin correspondent, responds to Chris Clair, our Chicago correspondent and his thoughts about dots in need of connecting.

Me? I'm enjoying the back-and-forth.

I'm with Chris - all politics is dirty, and since the advent Bush/Rove, I must admit, I see no evil in the Left (or, rather, what Americans think of as the Left) throwing counter punches. (Let it be known that while registering Americans here in Berlin to vote, another volunteer and I never bothered to put up the "Republicans can also register here!" sign on our booth.)

Just read Chris' post on the Red Electric re Sarah Palin and civics lessons and self-education. Roger Ebert (bless his heart for in this time of great moral crisis, he has put aside his movie reviews and delved into political commentary) opined some months ago about Palin's lack of curiosity. It would seem that indeed that is the crux of the problem, and not just hers, but America's.

The country is so utterly isolated (not just geographically) and, moreover, is purely content that way. Consider one fact along: the overwhelming majority has no more than two weeks of paid annual leave. No wonder so few travel abroad and see how the other half (or 3/4) live on this planet.

The sheer refusal to institute any viable foreign language curriculum in the schools is another embarrassment.

The government has no serious interest at all in having an educated populace. It makes it easier to launch unwinnable wars, fart around with public monies, and pass ineffective legislation that way.

I think back to my father, age 80, immigrating to the States from Hungary in 1956, fleeing the Communist Revolution. If anyone should have been a cheerleader for capitalism and the GOP, it is he, and indeed, many, if not most, of his compatriots became card-carrying members of that ilk.

My father waffled, questioned, thrashed about. And then came Watergate and he asked an American colleague how anyone could possibly remain in the Republican party after such an event. It's irrelevant what his colleague answered; my father's conclusion is that Americans like crooks for politicians.

There seems to be no other explanation.

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