Liquid Ink

The official website of Gint Aras, Finalist 2016 CWA Book Award

Honestly, Europe, now’s not the time

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In the last few weeks, I’ve gotten into several conversations with Europeans—British, Dutch, German and Lithuanian—who were having fun at America’s expense. Just today I received an article written by a friend who contemplates American identity as the stuff of hyperbole, superficiality and non-sense. Of course, none of these people could hide their current trepidation, not entirely.

The joy that Europe usually feels poking fun at American idiocy is at once an expression of bewilderment, superiority and self-consciousness. Honestly, I think it’s past time to be poking any fun, and Europeans really do need to start asking themselves some serious questions. What will the continent do in the case of American political, cultural and economic collapse?

People might shrug this question off. European nations are, after all, survivors of calamities. But the current moment is troubling. Europe has looked at the United States, at least since the late 40’s, as a stable global player, and American political and economic interest has been predictable, even dependable, no matter how often it has proven vile. Currently, the threat of chaos is real and I don’t feel Europe is having the necessary conversation.

What’s Europe’s plan if America turns fascist? Make fun of our lack of culture and our poorly educated population all you want, but a fascist America would really put the heat on you. American descent into abjection would strain and risk so many systems. From a bird’s eye view, perhaps a massive teardown of the world’s power structure is exactly what’s necessary for our long-term survival. But it really won’t be any fun to watch the fields getting torched, or to find ourselves standing in the middle of one.

I suppose I’m saying, Europe, that your American friends are ashamed and frightened, and it should embarrass you if at this moment you need to feel better about yourselves by calling us idiots. We know we’re idiots. This thing in America is a mess: we’ve a critical mass of people holding jackhammers to the home’s foundation. If that crew gets to work as it wishes, you might be forced to bunker down in a way you haven’t for many decades. Sure, you’ll survive, as you always have, but I don’t see you laughing on your way to survival, just as I don’t see any global foundation being rebuilt without rational and sensible European leadership.

On an individual level, if you want to be a friend to an American, don’t immediately start pestering or laughing. We know you’re confused, but don’t start an interrogation. Instead, ask us if we could use a cup of tea or coffee. We really, really could, and if you made it for us while we sat forehead-in-palm at the table, we’d only love you. You can spike it with amaretto or brandy while you’re at it. We should have that drink together because, as we both know too well, there’s no place to escape from this planet. No matter what November brings, we’re all going to need each other.

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Photo: late summer light along US 45, East Central Illinois.

One thought on “Honestly, Europe, now’s not the time

  1. What is wrong with a laugh and a cup of coffee? After all if one cannot laugh at one’s self or others in the face of great adversity then all is lost.

    One can only hope what we are in fact observing is rather the deaththrows of nationalism, its last full blown attempt at idiocy before humanity becomes more rational. Hope and humour.

    One can only hope that we will witness a great mirth when the citizens of the U.S.A. start to appreciate irony and start to learn to laugh at themselves in the same way we are laughing at them so that we can laugh with them. More than half of the problem is the U.S.A. national desire to constantly believe in, believe in having to be or believe in having recently been the greatest nation on the planet. There in lies a futile situation where in one cannot really be honest about problems with having to admit one’s stance on perfection may be a blatant lie.

    Hope, humour and humility. Those are the solution!

    So please do not ask us to stop trying to help because coming to the table with a criticism only and not a proposed solution is not going to get us anywhere. May the force be with you! U.S.A! U.S.A! 😉

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