How many migrants to and from Europe, Canada, the USA, Australia, and New Zealand have had this experience:
They’ve migrated and worked and saved and succeeded in the new country but always hold a dear memory of the old land. This homesickness has been acute in the first couple of years but worn off somewhat after that – what with new careers, families, and homes. But it starts again at about 15 years and they decide to go back and see the old place.
They plan to make a big trip and see everywhere they used to live – and possibly everyone they used to know. The get on the plane or ship and float on water or air to the old home country. And are horrified to find that it is not there.
Oh, the dirt is still there, and in the case of a lot of places it has crawled halfway up the buildings…but the society and people and nation has so changed from what it was that they are strangers in a wasteland. Worse – if there has been a war go through the place – or a spate of developers – even the buildings they knew do not exist.
Their old friends are dead, or older, and do not have the last 15 years of shared memories to talk over. Only the past – and that can be as dead as the dust. They run out of conversation in 5 minutes. Even if the old language is the same, the speakers are not talking to them.
This is the thought that I took back to the UK when I visited in 1995 – from having once lived in the place in 1973. It was just that way, though there were plenty of tourist activities in which to immerse myself. Would I get any benefit from another visit? Yes, if my current interests could be pursued – the UK is a nice place.
Canada or the USA for me? After 52 years? There’s a big question. An expensive one to answer, too – especially with the fear that seeing my youth gone would age me more. I can do that right now at local prices and wearing comfortable clothes.
As long as it is on a sticker – not a brass plate.
We all make foolish errors from time to time. And not just errors – we make foolish choices, utter foolish statements, and espouse foolish ideas. If we are lucky , we find out about them before real harm is done. Then we have the gravest test of our character – I call it the Will Rogers moment.
It’s the point at which we realise we are in a hole and holding a shovel. What we do with the implement after that realisation defines us. If we dig ourselves out of it, we are wise – if we dig ourselves deeper, we are foolish.
I’m brought to this thought by watching politicians discover their mistakes – We’ve seen it most poignantly here in Australia with the discovery of archaic dual-citizenship laws that were used as political tools to oust members of parliament. It continues, and the lawmakers show no sign of ceasing to dig – and no signs of mending the law to recover some of their dignity. We laughed with them at the start but by God, we’re laughing at them now.
The US President, Mr. Trump, has also found it politic to change his mind about enforcing a law regarding immigrants. The awful truth that the law was one devised by his political opponents has now come to light, and they will need to call the spin doctors and the lobbying journalists in to adjust the telling of the truth accordingly. I expect some whoppers from the other party in the next little while.
Have you ever noticed that whenever Hollywood movies play ” The Battle Hymn Of The Republic ” someone is going to get a well-deserved pasting?
The rest of the movie might have been occupied with the Americans getting slaughtered in great numbers – tanks, planes, and ships blowing up and all – but when the chips are finally down the old Civil War song comes on and business starts to pick up. This has been the case ever since it was written, and I hope it continues in the future.
Make no mistake about it – I am on the side of the US in past and future wars. It was a point of polite contention when I was a guest of the old Confederate Historical Society here in Western Australia, and it is bound to be a factor when in social gatherings in the future. People who point out that I was raised in Canada and am a naturalised Australian citizen and thereby hope to change my mind can go and get knotted – and I am prepared to buy them a Boy Scout manual to assist them at it. I still admire the US and the US military.
It’s not a popular view – at least not in the trendy pink-tinged circles I frequent. Contempt for the American military is a basic tenet of the locals – and I have learned to largely ignore it. For my part I have developed my own assessment of foreign claims to military or historical fame…but have kept them to myself. I shall continue to do so – I prefer to live on speaking terms with my friends.
I also keep my opinion about political figures in the USA to myself – aware that it would be as pointless to air them as it is to listen to others. We in Australia are…to put it bluntly…in Australia…and would do well to concern ourselves with our own governance. We’ll need all our wits about us to remain on good terms with the Asians now that the price of iron ore has fallen and the price of apartments in Sydney has risen…
I wonder – is there any other piece of music – save the ” Marseillaise ” – that is so evocative in a motion picture? I can’t imagine Canadians turning steely at ” O Canada ” though I must say that whenever I heard ” The Maple Leaf Forever ” I experienced an overwhelming desire to beat up on a Quebequois. To be fair, I felt that way when I heard a doorbell. French-Canadians’ll do that you ya.
It is a good morning. It’s election day.
It’s the day your ancestors earned with Lexington, Saratoga, and Yorktown. And you kept it with LEXINGTON, SARATOGA, and YORKTOWN. Good for them and good for you.
Go vote. Vote for the candidate you think is best for the job. Vote according to your own opinion – not the memes of Facebook or the television’s paid commentators…or the umpteen dozen polls that have flooded the net. You have a brain. Use it.
And disregard the overseas detractors that say the country is doomed. They’ve been saying that since 1774 and they’re wrong. The nation has survived war, famine, disease, and pestilence for over 200 years and it will do so for 4 more no matter who gets to be President.
I can examine the records of the chief executives of the US for the last 68 years and find loudmouths, crooks, and political pansies. Sleazers, geezers, and breezers. Loons, toons, crackers, and coons. I can also find genuine patriots, heroes, and able planners. In every administration, each President has made seriously good decisions, and seriously bad ones. They have also all had pieces of good luck and bad luck. The country has survived.
Go out there and do your duty – and do it with pride and pleasure. Regard it as a holiday for your spirit. The rest of the world can govern themselves for a day ( or not…) while you govern yourselves.
The rest of the world will not shut up yapping – the internet and their own egos will make sure of that – but they cannot go into that ballot booth with you.