Thoughts on the European Election: the reluctant patriot

The election for the EU parliament wrapped up on Sunday.  The results are in, and have set me to thinking.  Across Europe right-wing parties trounced the left.  Several countries will be sending far-right, immigrant-bashing parties to Brussels.  In Great Britain, Labor came in third, while a radical nationalist party came in second.  Europe has swerved to the right.  Now I find myself in an odd position.

I’ve lived in Europe several times in the past, and always felt the ‘ugly American’.  In general I disagreed with U.S. foreign policy, and always felt a bit awkward when Europeans would confront me with it.  Likewise, I didn’t have answers when people asked why healthcare was so messed up in the U.S.  In general, I looked at the European system,  the soft-spoken politics, and slightly left-of-center governments with envy.

Now the U.S. has elected a black man president.  With the exception of Iceland, who has an openly lesbian Prime Minister, Europe is far behind.  Germany is not on the verge of electing somebody with Turkish parents Chancellor.  Quite the contrary, as the U.S. steers back towards sanity, it seems that the baton of Ausländerhaß will be passed to Europe.

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Michelle Obama caught a lot of flack for saying that she was finally proud of her country.  I understand what she means.  We all grow up with the story of the ‘melting pot’, and the idea that anybody can become president.  Now we went and proved it.  It’s not that I didn’t love my country before. We have some amazing qualities, foremost of all being hope and optimism. But, I guess I felt a bit like the child of an alcoholic.  You love your parent, but just wish he or she would stop drinking.  Well things have changed, and now I suddenly feel like Scout to America’s Atticus Finch.

This seems an odd way to kick off my blog, but there you go.

1 comment to Thoughts on the European Election: the reluctant patriot

  • Geoff bruce

    Well said. To think where we were thirty years ago – clubbing blacks, shooting white Vietnam protesters and marching for sanity. Michelle Obama echoes what so many of us feel – NOW I AM PROUD OF MY COUNTRY. Just look at the White House and see that Black is Beautiful. Who would have thought it – especially after the poisoned last eight years?

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