International View OF U.S. Falling Rapidly

For decades the U.S. has pounded it’s chest and justifiably been viewed as one of the free world’s brightest lights.  However, a recent report by the Pew Research Center that surveyed more than 13,000 people in 13 countries shows that our image is rapidly falling.

Here is an excerpt from the report:

“Since Donald Trump took office as president, the image of the United States has suffered across many regions of the globe. As a new 13-nation Pew Research Center survey illustrates, America’s reputation has declined further over the past year among many key allies and partners. In several countries, the share of the public with a favorable view of the U.S. is as low as it has been at any point since the Center began polling on this topic nearly two decades ago.

For instance, just 41% in the United Kingdom express a favorable opinion of the U.S., the lowest percentage registered in any Pew Research Center survey there. In France, only 31% see the U.S. positively, matching the grim ratings from March 2003, at the height of U.S.-France tensions over the Iraq War. Germans give the U.S. particularly low marks on the survey: 26% rate the U.S. favorably, similar to the 25% in the same March 2003 poll.

Part of the decline over the past year is linked to how the U.S. had handled the coronavirus pandemic. Across the 13 nations surveyed, a median of just 15% say the U.S. has done a good job of dealing with the outbreak. In contrast, most say the World Health Organization (WHO) and European Union have done a good job, and in nearly all nations people give their own country positive marks for dealing with the crisis (the U.S. and UK are notable exceptions). Relatively few think China has handled the pandemic well, although it still receives considerably better reviews than the U.S. response.”

Amazingly, while ratings for Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping are bad, they are not as bad as those for Trump.

Countries surveyed were: Spain, Italy, Canada, United Kingdom, Sweden, France, Japan, Australia, Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Denmark and South Korea.  Some 76 percent of respondents expressed confidence in German chancellor Angela Merkel.  By comparison, only 16 percent had confidence in Trump.

Notorious RBG

Like most, I knew Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a justice on the U.S. Supreme Court.  But I had no clue of who she really was or what she did in a remarkable lifetime until her death.  But I have certainly learned a lot about her in the last few days and now realize why she was so revered by so many, especially females.

Obviously she had a spine of steel and simply would not take “no” for an answer.  No doubt the fact that she was tiny was a benefit.  How could something that small be such a fierce opponent?

But she coupled her resolve with a brain that never seemed to turn off.

She definitely saw the world through the eyes of a woman and often enlightened her male colleagues with a viewpoint they had no way of relating to on their own.  In so doing, she became a champion for females and impacted their lives in ways most never understood.

Time after time a TV clip showed her speaking to young women and they were enthralled by her.  Many said that she became a “rock star” and I’ve seen nothing to make me think otherwise.  Someone gave her the moniker of “Notorious RBG”, a play on words from the name of a rapper.  She seemed amused by this and must have realized that it was a term of endearment used by young women.

She was devoted to her husband Marty, one of the top tax lawyers in New York City.  They were married for more than 50 years.  Like her, he also died of cancer.

He was quite a chef and said at an interview one time that she didn’t tell  him how to cook and he didn’t tell her about the law.

An extraordinary woman who lead an extraordinary life.

The Odd Couple: Ruth Bader Ginsburg & Anthony Scalia

The death of U.S. Supreme Count Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg shocked the country,  Even though she battled a number of health issues in recent years, her passing came as a surprise.  Appointed by President Clinton in 1993, she had been a consistent voice for equality and women throughout the land hailed her for often leveling the playing field for females.

Accolades from both Democrats and Republicans echoed throughout the country.

It was remarkable to me that after her death Friday night, hundreds and hundreds of citizens gathered in front of the nation’s Supreme Court building to pay their respects, at one point uniting in singing Amazing Grace.

But what really got my attention was her great relationship with the late Justice, Anthony Scalia.

Philosophically they could not have been farther apart.  More often than not, their opinions were at opposite ends of the spectrum.  However, this did not prevent them from having a genuine respect and admiration for one another.  One of their bonds was a great love of opera.

One of her former law clerks talked of how close their relationship was and that Scalia always came to her office to sing Happy Birthday to her.

What a contrast this is in these days when winning is the only thing that seems to matter in politics.  Rather than seeking common ground, those on the other side of a political divide must be vilified and conquered.  Campaigns are viscous, take no prisoner affairs.  Truth is thrown out the window.

And how well I know this to be true.  When I ran for a seat on the Montgomery County school board in 2018, my primary opponent’s ENTIRE campaign was to trash me with phone calls and mail.  When this is what happens in a local school board race is it any wonder that such lack of tolerance and civility is vastly escalated in bigger campaigns?

Unfortunately the nation lost an outstanding jurist with the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg.  (Just as it did when Judge Scalia passed away.)

While they passionately disagreed on their interpretations of the law, they did show us a great example of respect and dignity.





What Happened To Civility?

The circumstances that lead to the phone call are incidental.  Suffice it to say that the female on the other end of the line lives in Montgomery, is in her 70’s and like me, is Caucasian

We were doing the usual “who’s your mama and ’em” when she wanted to know if I was voting for Trump or Biden..

“Biden,” I told her.

She went off like a Roman candle.  Immediately questioning my manhood, patriotism, heritage and God knows what else.  Suddenly I was a 2nd class citizen, unfit to even cast a ballot.

She told me that masks worn for protection during the pandemic were worthless, that most deaths attributed to Covid-19 were from something else and that all she watched was Fox News.  (Which explained a lot to me.)

I told her that grandpa fought in WWI and daddy was in WWII and that I was not a draft dodger like Trump.  She did not want to hear any of it.  According to her, Biden is a socialist and that “black” woman will be running everything if he is elected.  I was jolted by her total lack of tolerance or civility.  I was the only “white” person she knew who was not voting for Trump..

I told her that if she wanted to vote for Trump, fine.  That this is a free country and therefore we can vote for whomever we wish.  Which includes me.

No doubt there are Biden supporters who are just as vocal and obnoxious as she was.  People who have forgotten what civility is and what it encompasses.

They are just as disturbing as she was.

Auburn University and the University of Alabama will play football against each other on Nov. 28.  It is an intense, storied rivalry, some say the fieriest of any in college football.  Young athletes will spare no effort to best the other team that day.  But watch what happens as soon as the game ends.  Men from both sides will shake hands afterwards, they will hug one another, share a laugh.  They are both civil toward and respectful of one another.

It’s an example a great majority of our citizens should follow.



You Decide

The closer we get to election day on Nov. 3, the more the news will be engulfed in charges and counter-charges about both candidates for president.

The latest blockbuster was an article in The Atlantic magazine by editor-in-chief Jeffrey Goldberg on Sept. 3.  Titled, Trump: Americans Who Died in War Are “losers” and “suckers.”  The outcry was both immediate and loud.  The president said the article was total nonsense.  However, this did not stem the reaction from Democrats, as well as retired military.

Who to believe?  I certainly do not know.  That is for you to decide.  Go here to see the article in its entirety. 

However, I did do some background checking.  The Atlantic has been around since 1857.  So it is hardly a Johnny-come-lately publication.  It has 500,000 subscribers.  It was selected as “magazine of the year” in 2016 by the American Society of Magazine Editors.

Goldberg became editor-in-chief in 2016 after being on staff for a number of years.  A native of New York, he went to the University of Pennsylvania.  An award-winning journalist, his specialty has been foreign policy and it is interesting to note that he served in the Israeli Defense Forces.

The only thing I do know is that the next few weeks will be painful to watch and listen to.  And it will certainly not be one of our prouder moments.


Thank God And Greyhound

The so-called 2020 “conventions” by both Republicans and Democrats are history.

Due to the pandemic, both meetings were more political theatre than usual.  Both sides carefully screened who spoke for them in trying to promote either President Trump or Joe Biden.  Which for the GOP meant that if you were kin to Trump you got a place at the podium.  However, if you were the only living former Republican President like George W. Bush, you were nowhere to be seen.

And of course at the close of each evening the cable news networks chimed in with their commentary.  Meaning that you saw the proceedings through which set of rose-colored glasses they wear. It is amazing how CNN and Fox can listen to the same speakers and come away with interpretations that are 180 degrees apart.

The most amazing presentation of all to me was President Trump’s more than hour long monologue where he described an alternative universe.

When I woke up Thursday morning before this speech, Hurricane Laura was ravaging Louisiana, wildfires were burning in California, the national debt was the highest in history consuming more of the Gross Domestic Product than immediately after World War II, 180,000 Americans had died from Covid-19, there were six million more people out of work than on January 1, racial unrest was rampant and schools were struggling to reopen.

And what did the president tell us?  That things would really get BAD if Joe Biden was elected.

Which is about like your ex-wife putting you in the hospital from a gun shot wound and telling you that the next woman you marry will probably be a much better shot.

I did not see all the speeches from either meeting, but the only one that stuck with me was by 13-year old Brayden Harrington of New Hampshire.  He told about meeting Joe Biden at a political event and learning that both of them had severe issues with stuttering.  Then he related how Biden took a few moments to visit with him and give him some tips on dealing with his speech impediment.

You can go here and see what Brayden told the country.

So now it’s on to election day Nov. 3.  It will be a brutal trip with both sides trying to scare the hell  out of us about the other guy.

Whether you are a Republican or Democrat, It will not be one of our finer hours.