Saturday, July 19, 2008

A letter from abroad.

What follows is a letter in today's New York Times. When I read it, I remembered when a bridge team in international competition held up a hand-written sign saying they did not vote for Bush.

At the time, I said that what they had done was stupid because it only aroused the right wing nut squad, people who believe the president is so much a wuss that the sight of anyone who doesn't support his particular brand of swagger is a direct threat to the security of the USA.

Lee Child took me to task, saying that Americans have to disavow the criminals in the White House when we travel overseas and that this bridge team did a very brave thing, a very proper thing.

He was right, of course, and I was wrong. As I so often am.

So here is a letter from England that I find hopeful for our country, a letter that manages to separate the crimes of this political family from the intentions of the American people. Let us hope that this letter writer speaks for the majority of people in other countries and that we have a chance to heal our rift with the world once we remove this failure from his inherited seat of power.

And that's as close as I ever get to prayer.

With that, here is the letter:

Re “So Popular and So Spineless,” by Thomas L. Friedman (column, July 16): We British agree about the “rancid moral corruption” impeding United Nations measures against President Robert Mugabe and the other leaders of Zimbabwe. But we don’t agree about “a decline in American popularity.”

We know Americans are fundamentally decent. It is the administration we decry. The distinction applies throughout a world that Mr. Friedman sees turning anti-American.

This White House will be remembered not just for the grandstanding, the brazen public falsehoods, the fear-mongering, the trampling of the Constitution, the cynical politicization of justice, the parsing of human rights, the blind quest for untrammeled power, but most vividly for the things its occupants thought and did that they never intended anyone to know about.

Americans, learn the lesson. The rest of us already have. And it’s not Americans whom we blame.

Charles Dawson
Jevington, England, July 16, 2008

Thank you, Mr. Dawson. Thank you.


spyscribbler said...

That's a nice letter, but it's my experience that people abroad sort of think we all are Bush. Well, in the end, we DID elect Bush. *sigh*

Lee Child is right, though. And so were the Bridge players.

Great post.

Anonymous said...

I still find the logic behind trying to attribute a value set, or opinion to 300 million people by virtue of their citizenship baffling.

As an Australian, when someone tells me what American people think or do, I usually ask them how on earth they think that many people can maintain a single thought like that long enough for it to make the press?

Catherine (long time lurker)

Anonymous said...

btw, identified myself as Australian not to represent the other 20 million people located here, but more to show, I'm very far away geographically.