America: do you still have it better?


America, you have it better

than our continent, the old one,

you’ve no castle ruins

and no green rock deposits*

your vital moments aren’t

fundamentally upset

by futile remembering

and useless strife.

Use the present auspiciously

And if your children write fiction

Perpetuate for them the good fortune of not

writing about knights, bandits and ghosts.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832

translation by G Forsythe Ph D

* green rock or basalt were seen as ossified volcanic rock — i. e., the young United States was still active and erupting, Europe was petrified.

So let’s see now some 180 years later:

  • any castle ruins?  how about the Rust Belt?
  • any ossification?  how about Congress?
  • any futile remembering?  how about elections where the winner of the popular vote lost?
  • any useless strife?  how about filibustering, refusing to go along with the President on anything, the name calling, insulting verbal attacks on those with differing political views?
  • any fiction about knights, bandits and ghosts?  Looked at the new TV shows lately?  How about the movies such as the ones about the Superheroes (our knights), the horror shows with oceans of bloody gore and nightmare zombies and vampires, etc?
  • any fiction about bandits?  who needs fiction when we have 1% of the US population owning 90% of everything in the US and now being given more tax breaks while the middle class is finding it harder and harder just to survive, let alone prosper?

And how about that Old Continent?  They must also have all of the above, but:

  • the European Union is or has the potential to be the strongest economic force on earth;
  • we, not they, have dug up and used up all our natural resources;
  • we, not they, refuse officially to believe in human causation for global warming;
  • we, not they, have to rebuild an infrastructure;
  • and the city of choice on this planet to which people go to live in the greatest liberty and affordable creativity?  Berlin, not New York, LA, Atlanta or any other American city.
  • we, not they who have had the experience of autocratic governments for ages, now have Donald Trump with 44% of the population still supporting a lying, irresponsible, bullying, dishonest wannabe tyrant

America:  do you still have it better?