There are many things wrong in this country and never a time like the present to address some of the more dire issues like education, health care, poverty. Go Obama! But on the flip side, I have always been enamored by the spirit of the Individual that America has uniquely bred.
I remember in San Francisco, friends who were dismissive of a Filipino family who lived next door with three or four generations piled into a single family house. The tenor of their complaint was the Filipinos didn’t know how to act right; the undertone, the unsaid, was a lament for not having the same safety net.
An European friend was visiting the other day and we were discussing poverty in the U.S. and the current economic crisis and she said, here in the States, there is no one to help you and it seems that everyone lives so precariously from one paycheck to the next. Yes, it is curious, I thought as I scratch my head trying to impress upon reporters from certain areas of Europe to work for us and they respond, “too much work, why bother?”
America equals rugged individualism and cultural hybrids.
Europe equals safety nets and national identity.
Now we are all in crisis together.
We went last night to see a screening of a documentary about Katrina, The New Orleans Tea Party, directed by friends who said it was curious to them as Europeans how the most compelling theme turned out to be the spirit of volunteerism that arose from the ashes of the storm.
I left thinking that if I saw George W. Bush I would spit on him for turning his back on this great city. I should also spit in his other eye for turning his back on the world. Shame on you W.