Grandma's Tales

February 15, 2007

Why do you hate America?

Filed under: World View — Geeta Padmanabhan @ 10:59 pm

Out of the blue, I found this comment by Antibush. It has nothing to do with anything I’ve written in these columns but I thought I’d respond anyway. From Antibush:
Are we safer today than we were before? We have lost friends and influenced no one. No wonder most of the world thinks we suck. Thanks to what george bush has done to our country during the past three years, we do!”
Here is my answer:
Since 9/11 the US has not had a single terrorist attack. We, in India, have had six (or seven?). These included an attack on our parliament building. It can’t get scarier than that. Google “Kashmir” to find out how many were killed there in these 6 years. So who should be afraid?
Yes, the image of the US has been well and truly beaten. The main reason for that must be the knowledge that “it possessed unchallengeable powers of interference”. It has certainly damaged America’s image in the eyes of the world. But that’s only the image, not the Idea (or Ideal) that is America. It is still a great country or how would you explain the fact that the H1B visa quota allotted to us gets filled up much ahead of the last date?
Now read what Jan Morris wrote for the Guardian:
Whatever we may think in our moments of despair, America is still a lovable country whose patriotism can still be touching: try restraining a tear when you listen to Irving Berlin’s setting of the words on the Statue of Liberty — the ultimate American text, with music by the emblematic American immigrant. The Great Republic is great still, full still of decent clever people trying to be good. Even now, it is as free as can be expected, and its democracy is fundamentally honest and robust. It laughs at itself, criticises itself, and dislikes itself just as much as we do.
All it needs is someone with a key to unlock that Idea again, and I hope it will be that next President, whoever it is. All its greatest Presidents have been people with a divine spark. The dullards may have been efficient, respected or influential, but the Jeffersons and the Roosevelts, the Lincolns, and the Kennedys have all been, in their different ways, artists.
So may it be a President with the key of original inspiration who can release the Idea from its occlusion. All the ingredients are still there, after all — the kindness, the imagination, the merriment, the will, the talent, the energy, the goddam orneriness, the plain goodness — all there waiting to burst out once more and bring us back our America, blessed and blessing too.”

The US should now worry about its economy and its crime rate. Whatever happened to your gun-control law? How many more kids do you want to be shot at? Where does the country stand on health care? We all hope the new government will turn its attention to those cares.


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