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Monday, 1 August 2011

The worst and the best of politics: Europe, the US and… Norway

Today, I was totally ready to vent my spleen on European politics:
  • On the chicken-shit deal for the Greek debt crisis that was negotiated by the countries of the Euro-zone, last week.
  • On the fact that the deal that was reached, would not end even one bit of the Euro-zones’ misery and all government leaders acted like it would.
  • On the fact that Italy and Spain are again ‘on the road to nowhere’ with their interest rates, like I predicted, as a consequence of the second bullet.
  • On the fact that:
    • the Dutch government leaders acted like some ‘little pests’ at the school yard and`
    • Chancellor Angela Merkel acted like a bad-tempered housewife
 in the weeks before the deal
  • On the fact that Europe shows discord and selfishness where unity, solidarity and thoroughness are required.
  • On the fact that it’s not: ‘One for all and all for one’, but ‘everyone for themselves and 'God for us all’.
  • On the fact that Dutch prime-minister Mark Rutte made a ‘slight error’ of €50 bln, when he addressed the negotiated deal to the Dutch parliament.
  • On the fact that Dutch Finance Minister Jan Kees de Jager ‘forgot’ to inform the parliament of the €35 bln in warranties for the European Central Bank ECB: you know, the kind of warranties that never cost the taxpayer money, until they do.
  • On the fact that Europe is sold to the voter as a bad second-hand car, instead of as a source for prosperity, peace and friendship.
  • On the fact that parties like PVV, Vlaams Belang and the True Finns poison the atmosphere in the political debate.
… and on American politics:
  • On the fact that the Tea party serves a kind of undrinkable extract, brewed from what they think is ‘fair politics’ and that they dare to compare themselves with the original Tea party.
  • On the fact that the rest of the Republican party doesn’t have the nuts to send them back to their corner, by showing leadership and courage.
  • On the fact that the Democratic party pulled the chicken switch on the tax increase.
  • On the fact that the current deal is ‘postponing the inevitable until the Presidential elections have been held’.
  • On the fact that President Obama seems to be just as much a failure as his predecessor George ‘Dubya’ Bush.
  • On the fact that too many Americans are not represented in congress, while they should be in a democracy.
  • On the fact that the bottom 50% of  American society has less money than the top 1%
    • On the fact that everybody accepts this as a fact of life, instead of as a disgrace to society.
  • On the fact that some people think that you can pull the American army out of the 140 countries, where they currently reside and that such an event wouldn’t have consequences for the world; the world that we unfortunately have only one of.
  • On the fact that by some  people, pulling back behind their own white picket fence is considered as the solution for all world problems.
I took a sip of the proverbial vinegar and was ready to hit the crap out of the keys on my keyboard.

But before I could do so, I watched the Dutch evening news: it showed a memorial service for the victims of the terrorist attacks at Oslo and Utøya, attended by (a.o.) King Harald of Norway, the Norwegian Prime-Minister Jens Stoltenberg and the chairman of Norwegian parliament.
It didn’t have pathetically optimistic speeches, no outbreaks of rage,  no exaggerated sentiment of unity and no national anthems-sung-by-opera-stars.

What it did have, however: the dignity, candour, true compassion and class that especially Dutch politics, Euro-zone politics in general and American politics are lacking so clearly these days. The same characteristics that were shown by the Norwegian people during the last two weeks.
And I felt a sparkle of hope that politics will turn open the window and look outside to the world: it is still there and it is worth saving.
Today I want to paraphrase a speech from one of the most famous American presidents, JFK:
Today, in a divided world, the proudest boast is 'I am a Norwegian'... All united men, wherever they may live, are citizens of Norway, and, therefore, as a united man, I take pride in the words ' Jeg er en Norsk!'

That's all, folks

1 comment:

  1. vent one's spleen = zijn gal spuwen