Tuesday, July 24, 2012

What an appropriate way to celebrate a ghoulish anniversary. Two days before the one-year anniversary of the horrific massacre of young people on the island of Utøya in Norway, a university student shoots up the midnight premiere of Batman in Aurora, Colorado. Fewer deaths, just as scary.

I would like to congratulate the American National Rifle Association on yet another triumph, but what can I say about Norway? I'm a transplanted American & lived 3 years in Denver, way back when, from 1955 - 58. At the time Denver had the second-highest murder rate in the country, just behind Chicago. I'm sure that's ancient history. My mother loved Denver & Colorado best of all the places we lived; we all loved it. Aurora back then was a lovely out of the way place to go picnicking & skiing.
Now it will be remembered for James Holmes & his insane shooting spree, as Utøya & Norway generally - because what do you ever hear about Norway except it has oil? - are now known for an even worse crazy, Anders Breivik. Holmes shot up a cinema & timed his gun blast with the first boomboom in The Dark Knight Rises. Always plenty of those in a modern superhero movie. Breivik went after young people at a Social Democratic Youth summer camp - young people working in politics, engaged & following their ideals. So once again - down go some of the best & brightest because a psychopath can't get his head around making an honest effort. Anyway, it seemed to be the immigration of Muslims that was his - if you'll pardon the expression - trigger. No idea what Holmes' target was. Something about he was Batman's enemy?

The Norwegian prime minister was barely articulate after the massacre on Utøya, but President Obama knew exactly what to say & do, as always, & clearly it came from the heart. That man is my hero. Before I moved to Europe-Denmark-Svendborg, I paid no attention to what the rest of the world thought of America. What business was it of theirs anyway? My road to Denmark actually began in Ireland, where I took a summer course at the School of Irish Studies in 1971. Even though I had demonstrated against the Vietnam war at the University of Arizona in Tucson, I was angry to see 'America out of Vietnam' grafitti in Dublin, forcryingoutloud. Let the Europeans butt out! Now I wish Americans would realize what a rock star Obama still is over here, & what a very bad joke Mitt Romney & his Republican right are. A cut above Berlusconi, but just barely. Okay, what business is it of Europeans anyway? Well, for starters they are America's best allies & trading partners. Does this count, just a bit? It should! Now I think it really should.

But I didn't intend to go all political. Back in the late 60s & early 70s, when the more left-leaning of us drove around with 'Make love, not war' bumper stickers, the 'greatest generation' - the ones who saw Europe from a trench & the odd 3-day leave - joked that during World War II they did both. Didn't stop there either - that's why there are so many of US. The other side's bumper sticker snarled, 'America - love it or leave it.' I did both. No going back now - but this blog's in English, not Danish, even though it could be. A heart can divide & survive. A hitch overseas is a great way to learn more about your own country. It doesn't mean you will stop loving where you came from.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Guilty guilty guilty

Hi out there. I plan to be around on Tuesdays & Fridays if anybody is interested. I recently turned 66 - making me only one digit off 666, the number of the Beast from the Book of Revelations. That seems appropriate, since my generation - best known as the Postwar Baby Boom & ME generation - had it all & still has, if you count all the leading positions, both political & economic. What we did not have was huge families of future taxpayers to pay for us in our dotage. Neither did we browbeat our daughters to find a suitable stud, hop into bed & start reproducing. Nope - we said/say: You go, girls! 

We didn't think of this as high treason at the time, but now we are the root of financial woe all over the place & known as the Elderly Burden or Pensioner Bomb. Sometimes it feels like the rest of the population hopes we will self-destruct. Never mind that a lot of us still hold down jobs, do useful volunteer work - it's simply expected of us - & are active grandparents. Nothing absolves our guilt.

Sorry, all you younger taxpayers. I'm still working for my living, have produced 4 amazing & creative children with 3 very different men on 2 continents. Still curious about all sorts of things. I agree that responsibility comes with all the privileges we have enjoyed. REALLY - not just trying to sound large - & life is so interesting that I can't wait to see what happens next.

Elders were once respected, then treated as a bit of a joke, but this must be the first time in history we are considered an international threat to society. Otherwise, as always, some old people are wise, some are dingbats, some grow more open & tolerant with age, some more narrow-minded, & some get senile.

Have no idea if I am wise, but I've been around both geographically & on that inner journey the ME generation was always into. And scrappy - yep, guaranteed.