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Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Life's a bitch -- for the Moment

For me lately it's been a depressing old world. Winter in the north of England probably has something to do with my malaise. So does being an American. And the election in November. And my unhealthy habits have caught up with me enough to ring some alarm bells.

In my imagination this blog was going to be humorous and pithy. I was going to write every day. I don't feel humorous and pithy. Or like writing every day, for that matter -- nor have I.

Of course this kind of malaise is an indulgence reserved for those societies that do not worry about feeding mouths, or keeping warm, or having a roof over a solid house. In my 'blink-of-an-eye' lifetime the ideas and ideals of my bringing up have altered in such a way as to throw me seriously off-kilter. For example, I remember being taught in school the words on the Statue of Liberty written by Emma Lazarus:

"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door."

Those words still move me. I don't really know how people in the US feel about immigration any more. But I don't think it's the same. We've left the idea behind, I think. I don't even know how I feel now. In England we feel over run by different cultures, different creeds, different languages. For me it is difficult any longer to see the US as a democracy. It is certainly not the kind of democracy that Britain is. I see the US as being much more authoritarian. The British are the only people I know of that could take the idea of having an unwritten constitution seriously! I still haven't been able to figure out how that works -- but I am convinced that it does.

Finally, for today: God bless you, people of Iraq. You did get out and vote. You risked your lives and I am grateful to you that you stood up to be counted. I don't know what the future will be for you, but I do believe you hold it in your hands.