domingo, 15 de julio de 2018

Happiness and concerns of a dual U.S. – Venezuelan citizen

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us...
Charles Dickens
A tale of two cities

 I left my native country, Venezuela, in 2003, because I felt that staying would either force me to abandon principles and values I have always cherished or die in despair and frustration, living under the Venezuela Hugo Chavez was creating with the support of the corrupt Venezuelan armed force.
I emigrated to the United States of America, a country I have always loved, first as a young university student, later as a frequent visitor and, now, as my country of adoption.
When my wife and I were deciding to leave Venezuela, she asked me: “What shall we do if the U.S. also deteriorates?” and I answered: “We will have to wait and see. I believe that when the U.S. gets a cold, the rest of the world already has pneumonia”. We took the plunge and came and I can say, with much gratitude, that we have been living our American dream ever since, in a country of plenty, where seniors are respected, where life can be lived in a civilized manner, where things mostly work. There is no doubt that, in most aspects of life, living in the U.S. is ideal. The country offers its citizens equal rights, a strong civic tradition, quality of life and, for many years, was characterized by a bipartisan approach to the solution of national issues.
Soon after we arrived it became apparent to me that the city upon the hill had lost some of its gleam. The country I remembered had changed. Of course, this was to be expected. Wars had taken their toll, horrible terrorist acts had taken place in U.S. soil and an already monstrous national debt appeared to be accelerating. The immense territory of the United States, where immigrants had long found a home and had ben eventually integrated into the national texture, was feeling the strains of new waves of immigration that did not seem to the same agenda of earlier ones.  Reputed political scientists such as Samuel Huntington had written about the different objectives of some of the new immigration into the U.S., including the reclaiming of the land that had once belonged to their ancestors. In the political arena something had also shifted, bipartisanship being replaced by bitter ideological debate and loss of trust among adversaries. National issues were no longer seen as common problems to be solved through bipartisan effort but denounced as generated by the ineptitude of the “other side”. 
Still, the sheer dimensions of the country allowed for a significant absorption capacity. The high level of civic education, the respect for the rights of other, the civility of community life, the healthful “habits of the heart” of the citizens, mentioned by De Tocqueville, all of these characteristics remained largely in place and provided a welcome contrast to the country in turmoil we were forced to leave behind, now in the claws of a uncouth and corrupt autocracy.
The tragic current situation in my native country, Venezuela, has fully validated our decision to leave. We are happy living here and will stay, doing  our civic duties as citizens of this great country. Since 2012 we are no longer Venezuelans living in the U.S. but also citizens of the U.S. 
As such and as citizens of the world we are now facing situations that no longer affect only a relatively small country like Venezuela but have a global impact over the destiny of the human race and the future of civilization. As members of the U.S. society our civic duties are of a greater magnitude, including how to contribute to the stability of what still is the most powerful country on Earth. Because of its power the U.S. is called upon to exercise the highest quality of leadership.
As a political conservative, based on my Venezuelan experience as victim of authoritarian demagogues, I am concerned about the direction the U.S. is moving. The country is losing its capability to solve national problems through a bipartisan, rational approach. Instead, emotions run freely, obscuring common sense. When a courageous and dignified leader like John McCain objects to this, someone within the official hierarchy responds “It does not matter, he is dying anyway”.  
The presidential elections of 2016 offered us a difficult choice: a seasoned political figure with poor transparency, Hillary Clinton, and a notorious businessman with a tempestuous public record, Donald Trump. What we knew of the two candidates offered us no guarantee of statesmanship at the presidency of the United States. Frankly, one could have thought that this great country had more, better choices to offer.
President Trump has been an extremely controversial leader. In matters of global significance for the human race he has decided against the majority of nations. He decided to withdraw from the Paris Accord on Global Warming. Moreover, he put into practice a policy of promotion of U.S. coal production, going against the global trend to reduce the use of highly contaminating fossil fuels. In the complex matter of immigration, where severity should be tempered with compassion, he has implemented a policy of zero tolerance that, although understandable, will not solve the long term, underlying problem and increase international conflict. In the European arena, he has shown a confrontational attitude against U.S. traditional allies, choosing to browbeat them in public on the issues of NATO, trade and BREXIT.  He has shown much tolerance for Putin’s policies and behavior, promoting Russia’s entry into NATO and showing reluctance to admit that Russia has tried to influence the U.S. presidential elections. President Trump has also antagonized Canada and is currently engaged in a trade war with China. He has denounced the Iran Nuclear Agreement and has entered into negotiations with North Korea’s leader, perhaps without sufficient assurances that this autocratic leader means to do what he has promised. Although the world knows Kim Jong-un as a cruel dictator, President Trump opinions of him have  been highly laudatory.  
I am sure that President Trump and his collaborators are trying to do what they think is best for the Nation. He still commands an approval rating of about 41% (Gallup, July 2-8).  However, his unorthodox bedside manner and his decisions on major geopolitical issues seem to promote tension and animosity both abroad and at home.  Institutional checks and balances seem to have weakened due to the politicization of government powers and agencies, a process in which both political sides of the aisle are engaged. As a result national strength appears diminished while significant global opposing forces gather strength.
Time for our leaders to stop and think. 

2 comentarios:

Anónimo dijo...

The US, Canada, Australia, and Europe are all under assault from cultural Marxists (mostly white communist intellectuals), who theorize that they can destroy the capitalist economic system by destroying the white civilization that underpins it. Their weapon of choice - uncontrolled immigration of non-whites/non-Christians and constant racial propaganda barrages (political correctness, diversity, gender lunacy, vilification of white history, tearing down statues, promoting race violence and hatred, etc.) through the schools, the media, and Hollywood, who channel everything through the Democratic Party or Labor parties elsewhere to achieve a fake legitimacy. When we see Mexican immigrants running through our streets waving communist flags and screaming "kill the white oppressor" and are beset by constant racial attacks in public at every turn, enough is enough. When you can't express or discuss an opposing view with these people without inviting attack, enough is enough. These are the same kind of ideological idiots who destroyed Cuba and Venezuela, and who are now destroying Nicaragua. The "nation of immigrants" fantasy used to work in the US until the rise of the radical left, who began to see it as something they could exploit and then concocted their "long march" strategy to impose communism here. Too many people come to this country now only for economic benefits/crime enterprises and then want to participate gleefully in the country's destruction and dismemberment. They are killing the golden goose like Chavez destroyed PDVSA. Why is it only white countries that should open their borders and be destroyed? Why did then California DEM governor Jerry Brown refuse to accept 500,000 Vietnamese refugees in the 1970s under threat of blockading Travis Air Force Base? Because he didn't want 500,000 anti-communist Republican voters in his liberal state! The Dems only care about getting enough votes to get total power so they can impose their twisted idiocy on all of us any way they can. This is the basic madness of Marxists, idealist zealots vainly chasing paradise who destroy everything in their wake, and who see anyone who would challenge them as a monster. As Vladimir Lenin once wrote, “We can and must write in a language which sows among the masses hate, revulsion, and scorn toward those who disagree with us.”

Anónimo dijo...

Today CNN quoted someone who I cannot remember. The source said something like "the interview between Trump and Putin is like a boxing fignt between an amateur boxer and Muhammad Ali"
Trump atacks mercylessly traditional US allies while praising the enemies like Kim Jomg-un and Putin. Hard times...