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Saturday, 21 January 2017

No talk of walls

Christmas 1971, when I was working in Pittsburgh, my  mother died in Britain. I felt I must attend the funeral even though it meant spending money I'd saved to cover any emergency that might happen to a foreigner (with a wife and two children) working in the USA.

But to leave the USA I needed clearance from the Internal Revenue as proof I'd paid my taxes, and the IR office was closed. Ed, the father of one my daughter's friends, was an attorney; he phoned me, "Call your congressman." I pointed out I was a voteless alien. Ed said, "Call him and tell him I'll call him if he doesn't do something. And if you're short of cash I'll let you have anything you need."

As it happened things went smoothly. I was reminded of this when the new president ended his speech exhorting Americans to think only of themselves.

10 comments:

Rouchswalwe said...

Kind Ed! Prost to him!

That speech was something else. When he hurled out that phrase (you know the one, I refuse to even write that isolationist, anti-Semitic slogan), I had to check the calendar to make certain I hadn't fallen into the pre-WWII era. And the crowd cheered. For shame!

I felt somewhat better this morning when I watched reports of the turnout (more than double yesterday's) for the Women's March. They even marched in Frankfurt today!

Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

Americans can be (and many of those I met in America were)some of the kindest and most helpful people on this planet. New slogan: "Make America Kind Again"

Avus said...

I, too, thought of the early days of Hitler's Germany and the adoring crowds who "seig heiled" him, when I listened to that chat show host/mountebank spouting drivel to his own followers. Some have likened him to Ronald Reagan, but there is no comparison. Reagan had a gracefulness about him and at least he had served a political apprenticeship as a state governor

Fedorovna said...

Four and a half year old grandson Fedya came on the London march. In his own hand, he amended his mother's placard with the words: 'Please be kind'.

Roderick Robinson said...

RW (zS): Why don't we say "a" crowd cheered rather than "the" crowd cheered? An unspecific group (many of whom we should probably feel sorry for: unemployed, under-educated, easily misled) rather than a definitive group. You want a formidable example of courage? Hilary Clinton, sitting up there on the platform, having to listen to all that, close-up, without spitting on the floor.

Nathalie: For me real America was suburban America.

Avus: I'd query "drivel"; what I heard sounded only too likely.

Fed: So what did Fedya's mum's placard say originally?

Lucy said...

Did you watch any of John Kay's Route 45 road trip? Interesting, and often surprising, though depressing of course. I-player link:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b08ctxhb/president-trump-the-roadtrip

MikeM said...

You'll be glad to know how dedicated and pragmatic The Resistance is here. A friend of mine went, with four or five friends, to the Jan. 21st "Women's March" in DC. You've read about the big turnout of course, but perhaps you've not mulled this detail. My friend KY said she was tired after a day in the crowd, and a bit rattled from being in such close quarters - 100 meters from the main front stage on The Mall. She said "Having only four inches of space to move in kind of took a psychological toll, and my legs are shot from ten hours of standing (she's 60), but it was exhilarating and wonderful almost beyond belief - an unbelievable number of people - shocking to the mind to see." My response, as you might guess, was "How was peeing?"
Her answer? "Oh, we all wore Depends. I'm pretty sure most people did. Wore mine but didn't use it."

Roderick Robinson said...

Lucy: Kinda rushed at the moment, I'll get round to this eventually.

MikeM: Tell KY I think she's spunky and my heart warms to her adventure. The protesting crowds in the US revealed another delight: highly literate protest placards. Especially: Puppet Love, accompanied by an excellent drawing of Trump tongue-down-the-throat of Putin.

Also the out-of-left-field one that's sure to get under his over-sensitive skin eventually: Can't Build Wall, Hands Too Small.

Can't resist another: We Shall Overcomb.

The Guardian, needless to say, is much taken with this new White House phrase: Alternative Facts. That's to say, lies.

HKatz said...

I'm encouraged by a lot of the kindness and principles I still see among people here in the US. But also have been hurt by an upwelling of thoughtless, callous behavior by people who'd always seemed kinder and more thoughtful; I didn't expect some of them to so quickly embrace this guy (in fact, some of them thought D.T. was terrible just months ago).

Roderick Robinson said...

HiKatz: I dislike DT as much as anyone, not least for the way he reduces language to childishness. But his first act (when he was only president-elect) stopped me in my tracks. Ford had been pondering building a new plant in Mexico and he warned the company that cars built there would be subjected to a border tax if they were sold in the USA. Ford immediately withdrew the idea. Since Trump's main campaign plank had been to reduce unemployment in the USA I could hardly fault that. For this idea seems to differ from his other (protectionist) proposals which could easily lead to a damaging trade war.