Friday, July 22, 2016

July 22, 2017--Europhiles

I know many progressives who are again saying they are giving serous thought to moving to Canada if Donald Trump is elected.

I say "again" because many of these same people said this when Nixon was elected and then when Ronald Reagan became president and even while contemplating a George W. Bush presidency.

But as far as I know, these friends remain comfortably in America though they are still grousing.

The grousing is not situational--it does not emerge only every four years like some locusts.

Not so between the lines, they disparage America no matter who is in office.

They see us as culturally, intellectually, and governmentally inferior not just to Canadians but, more pervasively, to Europeans.

These frankly anti-American liberals have such an elevated opinion of themselves that they turn to Europeans for special forms of friendship, appreciation, and emulation. They see the Brits and French and Germans, particularly, to be more nuanced in their thinking and how they conduct themselves in a globalizing world.

They like the books they read and the movies they make.

In sum--those who live in these countries are civilized; we are not.

If we were civilized, they wonder, how could Donald Trump be running nearly neck-and-neck with Hillary Clinton. The best explanation--most Americans know nothing about history, world affairs, or social policy. In fact, there is a longstanding, deep strain of anti-intellectdualism and paranoia pervasive in American culture. And above all else, these of my friends are horrified that perhaps 30-40 percent of the American population is fully anti-science and directed in their personal and political lives by their  religious beliefs.

Some of this is true and helps explain why many accomplished Americans look across the Atlantic for a more enlightened approach to life in the 21st century.

Yesterday I wrote satirically about socialist French President Francois Hollande and his capitalist $10,000-a-month hairstylist.

Today, I refer you to Great Britain's new Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, former mayor of London and principal proponent of England's exit from the European Union. He is the one, in case you missed this news of his appointment, with a version of Donald Trump's signature hairdo.

On Wednesday he held a joint press conference with Secretary of State John Kerry.

Previously, Johnson had said very disparaging things about President Obama and Hillary Clinton and so this was an awkward moment for Kerry, who somehow managed to maintain a stiff upper lip.

Johnson recently called Obama a "part Kenyan" with an "ancestral dislike of the British Empire." A few years ago, he compared Hillary Clinton to Lady MacBeth, writing that she's "got dyed blond hair and pouty lips, and a steely blue stare, like a sadistic nurse in a mental hospital."

He didn't say anything about how he knows so much about what nurses look like in mental institutions.

That's not all. Boris compared Vladimir Putin to Dobby the Horse Elf from Harry Potter, and, more outrageously and riotously, claimed that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey had sex with a goat.

Again, we do not need to know how Foreign Secretary Johnson knows about that.

And then there is Germany, where the far-right . . .

So, I say to my Europhile friends, before emigrating to Canada or Western Europe, take a close look at what is really going on in your favorite country. By comparison, America might not look all that bad. Which, I suppose, is why no one I know has expatriated.

Boris Johnson

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