Dear America

I must admit you both mystify me and frighten me. The current administration is especially worrisome. Before I go any further, I must state I am writing the from outside your borders, so I have not extensively studied your history.

As I understand it, the United States was settled by immigrants fleeing tyranny and religious persecution in various parts of Europe. If this is as accurate as I’ve been led to believe, can you explain something please? Why is it you, in the form of your government are trying to prevent people fleeing a similar situation from entering your country? What ever happened to “Give me your poor, your tired, your huddled masses yearning to be free…”? Or does that not have an asterisk after it? Something like *”Provided those masses are white Christians”?

Since January 2017 I’ve noticed something of a paradox in your country. There appears to have been an increase in xenophobia, which is commonly defined as “a fear of foreigners”. This of course could lead to the situation described in the previous paragraph. Yet at the same time your leader seems to have no problem interfering or attempting to interfere in the affairs of other nations through threats of tariffs or other means. America has long considered itself a shining beacon in the world, worthy of being emulated. Unfortunately, in the past almost two years, the current administration has dimmed that beacon and turned that perception into one of bully and laughingstock.

On the level of the individual, I admit I am completely baffled by the way you approach politics. From what I’ve seen, both online and through personal contact, if your parents vote for one particular party, that’s the way you vote. Is this because “what’s good enough for m parents is good enough for me” or did you examine the parties and candidates and make your own decision? My sons were raised to think for themselves and to question things. One result of that is that the politics of my oldest son are nothing like mine. But he’s taken the time to look at candidates and issues and reached his own conclusions. I also cannot fathom the way many of you register as supporters of a particular party.

Another thing I and many of my friends fail to grasp is the chauvinism displayed by many Americans. Yes, we too are proud patriots, but we don’t feel the need to proclaim that by flying our national flag from our homes. National pride is a good thing, but by constantly telling everyone what a great country your have, you actually come across as insecure about that greatness.

Finally, I’ll just come out and admit it: Your President scares the crap out of me. How many times since he was sworn in on that day in January 2017 has ne pushed the world to the brink of war? People, a war with another nuclear nation won’t just affect the two warring parties. Radiation won’t magically stop at he borders of the nations involved. It will affect all of us. An analogy might be the Icelandic volcano that erupted. The cloud from that grounded all air traffic in Europe for weeks stranding thousands. Radiation from a war would spread over a much wider area. I can only hope that last night’s election results can put a leash on some of his more outlandish pronouncements and actions.

I am also deeply disturbed by presidential actions and directives aimed at the LGBT communities. Whether he wants to admit it or not, many people who stand under this umbrella are making valuable contributions to American society, such as serving in the military. Yet he wants to legislate them out of existence,

I haven’t studied political science or international relations. I’m just someone who observes then thinks about what I’ve seen. What I’ve written here is based upon that, one more observation before I close: it will take the United States of America at least a decade after the current administration leaves office to recover from and repair the internal and international damage.

Cat,

A very fine line

Whether the Pope realizes it or not, he is in a position most people would call untenable.  As head of the Roman Catholic Church, he is expected to, as he did in France this past week, defend the traditional definition of marriage.  To quote from the article on Pink News website, “Marriage and the family are institutions that must be promoted and defended from every possible misrepresentation of their true nature, since whatever is injurious to them is injurious to society itself”.  This statement is acceptable considering he is, as I wrote, head of the Roman Catholic Church and he was speaking to a conclave of bishops.  The article also mentions that in his year end speech in 2008, he made comments opposing the acceptance of transgender people.

But where the statements, and motives become questionable is that Pope Benedict XVI is also a head of state.  Vatican City, while surrounded by the city of Rome, is not part of that city.  It is an independent city-state, a nation in other words, and the Pope is the head of that nation.  Some of his pronouncements could be construed as attempting to interfere in the internal affairs of other nations.   The statement quoted above was made in France, where the newly elected president, Francois Hollande, has promised to make same-sex marriage legal.

Many nations have passed, or are in the process of passing, legislation ensuring the trans community (transgender and transsexual) are entitled to the same legal rights as other citizens.   Some nations, such as Canada, have made same-sex marriage legal.  So, the question then becomes this: When Benedict speaks on these topics, is he speaking as head of the Church, in which case the comments are acceptable or is he speaking as head of state of Vatican City, in which case he would be attempting to influence the internal affairs of other nations?  And how is one expected to tell the difference?  As I said, Benedict walks a very fine line.

And on that note, I’ll go now.

Enjoy the first weekend of autumn and remember to hug an artist – we need love too.

Cat.