Monday, June 15, 2009

What happened to our brains?

I often wonder what happened to America's brains. I just saw a brilliant film on DVD called Frost/Nixon, and I was reminded of that era. I never liked Nixon very much. I thought he was a paranoid lunatic. But looking back, he and his men had a certain sophistication and brains. They were educated men who went too far in trying to re-elect their leader, Richard M. Nixon. But back then the Republicans represented a hands-off approach to governing. They believed small was better. They never interfered with our personal freedoms such as abortion or religion. His regime dined at The Sans Souci. They were part of America's elite. Nixon ended a war he inherited. He opened the door to Chinese relations. He also lied, lied, lied.

But compared to the Sarah Palins of the world, he was a genius. He was sophisticated and reasonably well-spoken. I never pictured him dragging a wolf-carcass behind him or dropping every "g" in the language. He never paraded around a daughter he had to be ashamed of. Nor did he constantly talk about Christian morality like the last administration while sticking it to us and leaving a scorched earth behind. George W. abandoned Afganistan and started a war in Irag. He never shut up about his religion which he tried to stuff down our throats. He ignored crimes of greed. He also ignored New Orleans during the hurricane. And he would probably choose a pig roasting on a spit to an elegant restaurant like the Sans Souci. He was unsuccessful at business and his military time. He was an unsuccessful man in all his endeavors.

Sarah Palin is another uneducated candidate. Not sophisticated, not worldly. What doors will she open for us? How to kill moose? Or wolves? How to speak poorly and know nothing about geography or the world? To me she's no more qualified than a cocktail waitress who cordially asks if you want two olives in your martini while fiddling with her ears and bunny tail.

Right now, Richard M. Nixon would be a God compared to recent Republican offerings.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


Why is it so many kids are doing their junior year abroad and reluctant to return to the good old US? Could it be the historic individuality foreign nations fight to maintain in spite of the EU? The love of playtime as well as work? The fact that in Europe the modern blends with the old and every ounce of history isn't cleansed every few years until every inch looks like one big, impersonal mall? Could it be that those nations provide free health care? Or could it be the sense of adventure overseas which seems to be lacking here? Maybe it's the guaranteed six to eight weeks of vacation time workers get in Europe?

My nieces have done everything they can to stay in Germany. My other friend's daughter, a student at Berkeley, was attacked on the street and beaten senseless by a stranger in Berkeley. Is it any wonder she longs to stay in Europe where she feels safe? Our kids don't want to come back. They see that the technology overseas has surpassed ours. Europeans function with smaller cars. Their taxes pay for health care not wars.

Here, we've ripped out Main Street and replaced it with hip boutiques and mall stores. Love and relationships are found on a computer. Our coffers are empty. How about our souls?

But I am an American. I'm comfortable here. And I know for certain that we have the most reliable and consistent plumbing in the world.