Thursday, November 10, 2016

Scholars of Virtue

“I am amazed,” she said, “at how Americans can smooth out the wrinkles of failure.” The Dutch woman read aloud an acceptance message of the election of the new American president, written by an American acquaintance who did not support the Republican candidate.  The statement equated a closing of ranks. “This turning of disappointment into positivity is typical American for me.” Lemons = lemonade, and is not a very Dutch drink.

Are we scholars of virtue? Riots were breaking out in California. “But the majority of the elected government of the United States is now Republican,” several mentioned on occasion, “this is terrifying.” Ah, the virtue of Republican causes: liberal gun rights, limited family planning, safeguarding of borders, what did I miss?

“Good news!” a friend wrote. “A Muslim woman was elected in Minnesota.”

I fail to see this as good news. A woman with ideas and education elected is brilliant, as would be a man with ideas and education, head gear or no head gear.  That whole deal is about the image, as if images were the ideal, and then I begin to consider that image was a large issue in the 2016 presidential campaign.

“I think the lowered taxes would be great.” An acquaintance said scrolling through the Republican Candidate’s Manifesto on his smartphone. The man earns more than average, and thought the proposal of lowered taxes would apply to him. He may be right there. Or not.

Every once in a while I get that “back whiff” of Europe, that quick glimpse that identifies what is European around me to my American born person. I rarely see it anymore, having lived 28 years outside America. It’s a strange exotic scent, it’s a micro-ness, a compact line of recycle bins for already thoroughly washed items feeling.  It’s a rapid sighting while biking to work of the murky canal, the yellow leaves falling from the trees. It’s says “Here is cultivation, not the Wild West.”

“300%,” a friend complained, “My Obamacare went up 300%.”

The same acquaintance making remarks about the turning of lemons to lemonade, calculated. “So and so said that their employees who worked in America received healthcare subsidized by the company and yet employees had to pay 500 dollars a month premium out of their own pocket with a 2500 dollar maximum risk.” She paused. “I pay 150 Euros a month and the risk is 385 per year.”

However, the other night, pushing my ageing dog in a child’s stroller through the tunnel under the central station, blue and white tiled with the maritime history of the Netherlands, I realized that the mural is all about pushy white men, travelling abroad, committing crimes against humanity in the name of God, gathering the wealth and power, transporting it back to home and closing ranks.  What color or shape is virtue to history?




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