Two days after President Obama’s re-election

Prague on the Vltava River © Ricky Yates

For better or worse, I am part of social media. I write this blog and I am on Facebook. Yesterday via Facebook, I received a barrage of posts from my American ‘friends’ regarding the outcome of their Presidential and Congressional elections held on Tuesday 6th November 2012. One person, (you know who you are 🙂 ), posted over fifty times between my going to bed late in the evening of Tuesday 6th November and logging on again mid-morning the next day!

The vast majority of these ‘friends’ were expressing a mixture of joy, relief or satisfaction at the election result – often a mixture of all three. But a small minority, mostly ‘friends’ of American ‘friends’ of mine now living here in Prague, were in utter despair at the result and were threatening to leave the USA and come and live here in Europe, in particular here in the Czech Republic. This unplanned blog post is specifically for them.

As I understand it, these right-wing Republicans are concerned about a number of issues. One these is what they believe to be ‘uncontrolled immigration’ into the USA by non-American citizens who they think have no right to live within their country. Yet these self-same people are now proposing to emigrate from the USA, to another country. Have they ever given any thought as to why another country might actually want to receive them as immigrants?

Whilst via this blog, I have been very supportive of American citizens who have come to the Czech Republic at the invitation of Czech companies and businesses and have then experienced visa and work permit problems, it does not mean that, just because you are an American, you have the right to live and work in this or someone else’s country.

In recent times, I have heard various complaints from Americans and other non-EU citizens, who have come to the Czech Republic on a three month Schengen tourist visa, started working here, and only then have begun to apply for a long-term visa and work permit. Their concern is that, by the time they have completed the paperwork for a long-term visa and work permit, travelled to Bratislava, Vienna or Berlin to lodge their application, their three-month tourist visas will have expired before Czech bureaucracy has successfully issued them with necessary paperwork.

Can any American citizen tell me what the attitude would be to a foreign national who arrived in the USA on a tourist visa, started working, and then applied for a ‘green card’? I think I know the answer to my question! Therefore, why should rules, similar to those that apply to immigrants to the USA, not also apply to American citizens seeking to live and work in another country?

Another major dislike of these self-same individuals is what his supporters would see as one of President Obama’s major achievements during the first four years of his presidency – the provision of health care for all, denounced by his opponents as ‘Obamacare’ or ‘socialised medicine’. I am well aware that the package eventually passed by Congress and upheld by the Supreme Court, is far from perfect. But it remains beyond the comprehension of most Europeans as to why the supposedly richest nation in the world has not until now, provided universal healthcare for all of its citizens and that a large vocal group actually object to such provision.

Therefore may I inform all those Americans thinking of leaving the USA and moving to Europe in order to escape ‘Obamacare’, that all twenty seven members of the European Union provide universal healthcare for all of their citizens. Yes it costs money – my Church Treasurer often points out that of all the money that leaves our Church bank account at the end of each month to pay me, only about half of it ends up in my bank account. Because from that sum is deducted employer and employee contributions to social security and health insurance as well as my income tax. But if I need to consult my GP or need a major operation in a hospital, all I have to do is pay 30 Kc (£1.00 or US$1.50) – all the rest is covered. As an online friend recently pointed out, if you are looking for a country that doesn’t have universal health care, why not try living in Eritrea!

One topic that didn’t arise in the campaigns of either of the Republican or Democratic candidates for the American Presidency is that of gun control. Neither candidate wanted to challenge the power and influence of the National Rifle Association (NRA). But if you want to come and live in Europe, don’t try and bring your weapons with you unless you think you can show very good reasons for having them. Just citing the second amendment to the US constitution will fall on deaf ears 🙂 By the way – the murder rate in Europe is about one quarter to one seventh of that in the USA. I wonder why?

I could go on by pointing out many other things that conservative Americans might find objectionable should they try to escape their own country and seek to move here. For example, in the Czech Republic, you will regularly see women openly breastfeeding in public. You cannot ask for them to be arrested as there is no law requiring women to go and hide in a public toilet in order to feed their babies in the manner that God intended. In case you hadn’t ever realised, unlike guns and violence, a woman’s nipple has never killed anyone.

This post is not meant to be anti-American but rather an attempt to challenge some of the frankly absurd comments I’ve seen and read this past 48 hours. To use two well known American expressions – ‘get real’ and ‘go figure’.

41 comments to Two days after President Obama’s re-election

  • Russell Roe

    Thank you for this Ricky, I agree entirely. Another thing they might struggle to understand is how European Conservatives can support a ‘socialist’
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-19896539

  • David Hughes

    “To use two well known American expressions – ‘get real’ and ‘go fathom’”

    Do you not mean ‘go figure’?

    • Ricky

      David – ‘go figure’ is what I meant & what now appears on the blog. It had been corrected from ‘go fathom’ by me, before I received your comment!

  • Very well said, Ricky, and I agree with every word. 🙂 Being a lady of leisure nowadays I was able to stay up and watch the US election results come in. DH and I had been on tenterhooks at the thought that President Obama might not be re-elected and I positively cheered when the magic total of 270 was reached!

    I’m always amused when I look at French expat forums to see how many British immigrants to France cite the rise in immigration into Britain as one of their main reasons for making the move and how annoyed they are when the incongruity of their view is pointed out to them. Sadly their attitude is too often racism in disguise.

    • Ricky

      Thank you Perpetua – Not being a man of leisure and being an hour further ahead time-wise than you, I went to bed and awoke to the result and all the rhetoric that prompted this post.

      Yes – some people fail to see the incongruity of complaining about immigration into the UK by other EU nationals, particularly those from Central and Eastern Europe, whilst taking full advantage of being EU nationals themselves & going off to live in France or Spain.

  • Thank you for your honesty. I’m a friend of Sasha F… and also an American. (living in Austin) I will say there are more people wanting to get IN the USA than get OUT of it. I do get your point though. When I come to Prague, I’ll be on a tourist status, staying with people I love and hoping to bless as many as I can during my stay. Fun way to travel. Thanks for the insight, we all need it at times.
    Shalom and Blessings,
    Cathryn

    • Ricky

      Hello Cathryn and welcome to my blog. I’m sure you’re right that overall, there are more people wanting to get IN the USA than get OUT. But this post was written because of the number of comments I either read myself or heard about second-hand, from Americans so shocked that President Obama was re-elected, that they were threatening to leave the country.

      I’m pleased to hear that you are planning to come visit Prague in the future. It would be lovely to meet you when you’re here.

  • Brit in Bohemia

    Brilliant, I agree 🙂
    People like that who don’t agree with universal health care are just selfish, in my book. It’s part of being a civilized country to look after the genuinely ill and truly unlucky, and that needs contributions from all working people.
    And expecting to move easily to other countries without wanting foreigners in the US is also selfish and snobby.
    But thankfully, as you wrote, most Americans that you know are not like this 🙂
    Mike

    • Ricky

      Thank you Mike – I agree 100% with everything you say here. Many of the Americans now threatening to leave their own country, are actually ones who have never done so previously in the whole of their lives – part of the 80% of Americans who don’t hold a passport. Those Americans who have travelled more widely tend to have a vastly more realistic view of the world and life in general. And yes – these are mainly the ones that I know.

  • Oh, this post made me laugh and then it made me squirm since I am one of the Americans you helped with my visa issues.

    I see now how naive I was when I came to the Czech Republic. I just assumed my labor as an American English teacher would be respected and if an employer told us they would take care of our work visas, they meant it. After all, Americans liberated half the country in WW2 and then held the line on communism – I guess I thought there would be some appreciation of that fact and it would carry down to my generation.

    I see now that my thinking is, what I have discovered living overseas, our cultural predisposition to positive thinking. Having a cycle of American teachers constantly having to leave because you didn’t file for their paperwork is probably a highly profitable business. At least, the owner of my school’s red Ferrari, makes me believe so.

    The Czechs themselves lose wonderful advocates on their behalf when folks get treated like that. They are so concerned about being forgotten their leaders wrote a letter to the President Obama during his first term asking “will you still pay attention to central Europe?”

    They ignore the fact that much of American foreign policy is driven by small groups of committed people caring about some far off people or place. I can’t think of a more articulate group of people I’d want advocating for my nation from the other side (due to great memories of the time spent there) than American English teachers. Guess not.

    I am thrilled with my re-elected President and echo him: “the best is yet to come!”

    • Ricky

      Hi Karen – Yes I did try to help you & this post included a link back to one of my earlier posts about your situation and the way you & Anna were treated. My complaint then was mostly about promises the Caledonian School made to you of obtaining work permits and visas for you and others and then failing to keep those promises. As you say, you were a little naive, but the Caledonian School were highly neglectful.

      This post was addressing those, unlike yourself, who were outraged by the presidential election result and were threatening to therefore leave the country. I was just trying to point out the incongruity of complaining about immigration into your own country and then thinking it is perfectly OK to be an immigrant in someone else’s country. And even if you were able to emigrate to another country, you would experience the very things you were trying to get away from – that is unless you move to Eritrea 😉

      There is still a need for native English-speaking TEFL teachers here in the Czech Republic and elsewhere in the world. But every country has the right to have procedures for the issue of work permits and visas to non-nationals, just as the USA has strict rules that have to be followed before a Green Card will be issued.

  • Great Post! I find it amazing that the US was a country built up through immigration by immigrants, often referred to as “the melting pot”, yet they themselves, who came from immigrant families, are against immigration. I often wonder if the “true Americans”, the American Indians, are now thinking “what goes around comes around.” Furthermore, many of them, not all of them, believe as Americans it is their God given right to have everything their way and often behave like spoilt children when it doesn’t go as they want.

    • Ricky

      Hi Matthew and thanks for the compliment. I concur entirely with you about the US being a nation of immigrants who are now complaining about immigration to the country. It is what I have called in another context, ‘last man or woman in, syndrome’. It’s OK for me to come in but don’t let in any more after me 😉 Yes – and I do wonder what Native Americans think of all this……

      Your last sentence does identify a trait of some, (but certainly not all) Americans I’m afraid. We are bigger and more powerful than everyone else so must have things the way we want. American exceptionalism is another name for it.

  • Hello Ricky,

    An entertaining, thoughtful and timely post. I don’t have much to add except ‘hear hear’ and that I found your nipple comment most amusing! Ah, the British sense of humour…

    Hope you’re keeping well,

    GIC

    • Ricky

      Hello GIC – I’m glad you appreciated & enjoyed this post. The ‘nipple comment’ came out my frustration with the majority of Americans who cannot see the connection between the high US murder rate & frequent shooting incidents, with the virtual absence of gun control and the permitted level of violence in films, TV programmes and video games which children and young people are freely allowed to see and play. I compare this to the outcry that surrounded Janet Jackson briefly revealing her nipple during the TV coverage of the super bowl eight years ago. Yes it was a publicity stunt & not a wardrobe malfunction. But did it kill anyone???

  • Hi, Rev. Yates,

    Well, I’m sure you know pretty much where I stand on the election results. For a more detailed description of my present feelings, feel free to read this: http://www.longbowsandrosarybeads.blogspot.com/2012/11/progressive-liberalism.html

    However, I would certainly not think migrating to Europe would help anything. I’m afraid continent is in as much hot water (if not more so) than we are today. I would favor a deserted island beyond the reach of progressive liberalism….;-)

    After the distressing Democratic Convention, the plummeting financial figures, and scandals in the Middle East, I honestly do not know how anyone in their right mind voted for Pres. Obama. In addition, the health care plan, as is, will infringe on personal and religious rights.

    I do hope you consider me one of your American friends (even if we disagree ever and anon!), but please understand that many of people in despair at over the election results are perfectly sincere and care deeply for the future of their country.

    God Bless,
    Pearl of Tyburn

    P.S. Have you gotten a chance to look at “Expressions” as of yet? If so, what do you think?

    • Ricky

      Hi Pearl – I know I replied to this comment but my reply seems to have disappeared! I suspect that, when trying to delete a whole host of spam comments of which I’ve had an abundance in recent days, I also accidentally deleted my own reply. Therefore what follows is my attempt to re-create my original reply as near to what I can remember it being.

      I have briefly read your post to which you link and will go back there in due course and leave my considered response. What was so distressing about the Democratic Convention? Surely it was purely for for the faithful and the media, as was the Republican Convention also? President Obama inherited the financial crisis, in part caused by his predecessor embarking upon two expensive wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Romney claimed that he would fix the financial crisis in eight years but the complained that Obama hadn’t done so in four. And do you mean by ‘scandals in the Middle East’, the death of the American ambassador and three colleagues in Libya? That was a lapse in security for sure, but not something out of which to make political capital.

      I would advise you to be careful with the language you use, especially questioning the mental capacity of every person voted for President Obama. I’m perfectly happy to debate and discuss with those who disagree with me but I believe that those who voted for President Obama, also care deeply for the future of their country too!

      With regard to your PS, I have registered via my WordPress a/c but have not yet had a chance to do any serious reading.

  • Telly Davies

    I’m hearing that a lot of people are threatening to leave the country because of Obama’s re-election and America’s liberal turn. They’re free to do so if they wish but there are a few things people should know before they pack their bags: Canada, Australia, New Zealand and ALL of Europe have Universal Healthcare (aka SOCIALIZED MEDICINE); they ALL have HIGHER taxes than the US; Evolution is taught in ALL their schools; private gun ownership is banned or heavily restricted in each; gay couples have legal recognition in all, can marry in most and will marry soon in ALL; abortion is legal in ALL; ALL are racially and ethnically diverse and, in the case of Australia, they have a leader who is an unmarried atheist woman living in sin with her boyfriend.

    On the other hand Saudi Arabia and Iran have NO taxes, and very low taxes, respectively; NEITHER allows the teaching of evolution; BOTH require prayer in schools; NEITHER allows gay rights, especially not gay marriage; NEITHER allows abortion; women in both countries know their place and don’t complain about it; everybody and his brother owns a gun; BOTH are theocracies run strictly by the laws of the Old Testament; and BOTH have populations with very few Black people and NO Mexicans. It’s practically paradise! A Conservative Heaven on Earth!

    Unfortunately even Saudi Arabia and Iran have Socialized Medicine, but hey, NOBODY’S absolutely perfect!

    • Ricky

      Hi Telly & welcome to the blog. I haven’t a clue who you are, unlike most of my other commenters. But your comment did leave me ROFL 🙂 The one part I would take slight exception to is, ‘BOTH are theocracies run strictly by the laws of the Old Testament’. Both are theocracies ‘run by a particular interpretation of the laws of the Koran’ would be a more accurate statement.

  • This is one of the reasons why I like your blog: the wonderful insight it offers on things international. Sometimes I really need to look at my country from the outside; apparently, everyone does. The whole health care insurance outcry really seems ridiculous, from a European point of view! But then, so was the whole outcry here about the 30 CZK payment when it was introduced a while ago… I guess it’s annoying for people who need to go see their doctors often – I mean those who really need to – but it’s still a world removed from the American system. And seeing as my sister is one of those people, plagued by several illnesses like asthma, not having to pay the full price of all the medicaments is really, really cool, to use another such expression. 🙂

    This semester, I’m attending a course on recent (from 1945 onwards) American political history: politics are not exactly my forte, but this course is captivating. Anyway, when, before the election, the teacher asked the class who we thought would win the election, I think all of us raised hands for Obama – including the teacher. From this side of the pond, it just seems perfectly understandable… Oh, and the teacher’s Canadian.

    • Ricky

      Hi Hana – Thank you for your compliments. I’m glad you are enjoying the blog.

      As I’ve said in other places, most of those expressing frustration with the Presidential election result are part of the 80% of Americans who do not hold a passport & have therefore never set foot outside of the USA. They sadly therefore have a world or international view, that is so USA centric that it sees no other point of view but their own.

  • Hi, Rev. Yates,

    In response to your response, the Democratic Convention was distressing in any number of ways, including the shameless way in which Sandra Fluke and her ilk demanded abortion rights and birth control. In addition, I found it distressing that this administration is embracing the effort of homosexuals to redefine the meaning of marriage. I found it distressing the way the words “God” and “Jerusalem” were booed. I could go on, but’s that enough for the present!

    Granted, Obama inherited a financial crisis; but he only made it worse, and then continued to blame his predecessor! Also, the Libya tragedy wasn’t a mere “breach in security.” It was accompanied by suspicious circumstances that are looking more and more like a cover-up. And yes, I do believe the murder of four of my countrymen is a subject worthy of making an issue out of during a vital election.

    I must respectfully protest the assertion that Americans are somehow stuck in a time warp or harbor an egocentric world-view because we don’t “get out and see the world” enough. Believe me, I would love to “see the world”, or at least Britain and several other American states that friends and family members live in. But I can’t because I don’t have the financial liberty to do so. I believe that is the case with many of us.

    Also, I must address Telly Davies: I’m afraid you seem to be badly misinformed about what Conservative Americans actually believe! We do not believe women should be “kept in their place”; we do not believe that their should be “few blacks and Mexicans”; we’re not opposed to giving gay people “rights”, as you put it; we don’t want a theocracy!

    We believe that women shouldn’t have “the right” to murder their unborn children and that homosexuals shouldn’t have “the right” to redefine marriage. We believe in ethnic diversity, but there must be some guard on our borders. We don’t think the government should have a monopoly on guns. We believe that religious people should not be expected to practice their faith on Sundays only, but in everything they do. We believe in the greatness of our country, and reject the notion that we should crawl on our bellies on apology tours in the Middle East.

    Okay; I’m done now 🙂 Thank you for allowing me to vent my opinion!

    God Bless,
    Pearl

    • Ricky

      Hi again Pearl – I’ve sat on this reply of yours for sometime so I can reply to it properly. Then, as you will see above, I accidentally deleted my previous reply to which the first half of your comment is addressed. I’ve now tried my best to reinstate what I wrote previously so there is hopefully some coherence to this thread.

      Briefly – You’ve done the usual Roman Catholic thing of dumping abortion and birth control into the same pot. There is a vast difference between using the contraceptive pill or condoms to prevent conception and the removal of a foetus from the womb after conception. Official Roman Catholic teaching is that there is no difference. I, and many others, including many practising Roman Catholics, believe the former is fine to prevent unwanted pregnancies, whilst disagreeing with the latter except in cases of rape, serious risk to the health of the mother & when there is a serious abnormality to the foetus meaning it is unlikely to survive following birth.

      A black camera operator was abused and a Puerto Rican woman shouted down at the Republican Convention…….

      The conspiracy theory about the attack on the consulate in Benghazi has been pretty well debunked in evidence to Congress this past couple of days.

      I do appreciate that you need money to travel & that the USA is a big country in its own right. But it remains the case that I see & hear a vast difference in opinion & understanding between those Americans who have travelled outside of their own country & those who have not.

      With regard to Telly Davies’ comment, parts were a little ‘tongue in cheek’ but still did make some significant points. I don’t know who is having to ‘ crawl on our bellies on apology tours in the Middle East’ but the USA does actively support totally undemocratic regimes such as those in Saudi Arabia & the Gulf, for purely one reason – oil! Until the USA has decent public transport, ceases to drive gas guzzling cars, etc., that will continue to be the case, regardless of what you think about the ‘greatness’ of your country.

  • June

    I agree with everything you say but would ask how many people could have been fed and housed with all the money spent on the election? How many miles did Obama, Romney and BBC journalists fly during the campaign? Not only the cost but adding to the greenhouse gasses. At least in the UK there is some sort of ceiling on what can be spent on elections and nothing at all was spent on the Police Commissioners Election.I spoilt my paper as I had no idea who was standing as I had no communication from the candidates except the Conservative. I refuse to go on-line to find out on principle, as by making this the only choice a large number of voters are disenfranchised as they do not own and do not want a computer.

    • Ricky

      Thank you June, especially for turning your earlier email into this comment as I suggested. Like you, I find the money spent on the US elections totally beyond my comprehension and am also amazed at the lack of political will on either side to legislate for some form of restraint. I found it interesting that, when David Cameron appeared on the David Letterman Chat Show in New York at the end of September, he drew the loudest applause when he mentioned that the UK does not allow political advertising on TV & Radio – see http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-19739066 .

  • Dear Ricky, I thought your answer to Pearl was spot on. It was great fun to read my British friend defending the Dems! Pearl, I know your media source may have told you the President of the United States went on an apology tour in the Middle East, but if you look through his speeches, you won’t find an apology. I urge you to do that, as it is a lie. But think about this Pearl, our great country overthrew a democratically-elected, secular government in the 1950s in Iran. Why did we do that? Simply for money. More money for the oil giants. So before you talk again about how horrible it is that President Obama went on an apology tour in the Mid East, make sure it’s actually true, and then consider maybe, that America has occasionally pursued policies that might be worth apologizing for: slavery, Japanese internment camps, overthrowing democratic governments. I believe our strength as a nation comes from not denying it, but fixing it, and taking responsibility when we were wrong.

  • Bob

    Right on Pearl of Tyburn and Telly Davies: I was hoping some Americans would speak up for the oldest Representative Republic in the world. One small correction on Telly’s reply It is not really SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, it is rationed medicine. There is no lack of health care in America, there is a problem with Health Insurance. Most of the problems have been caused by Government interference in the free market between patient and Dr. and the Non-affordable Affordable Care Act i.e.: Obamacare proposes to fix these problems with yet another government intervention. The Americans with the poorest access to health care are those covered by Medicaid, a government run program. The recent fiscal problems of the U.S. were not caused by “two unfunded” wars started by President Bush (although many conservatives like myself have plenty of criticism of him), but by the flooding of the financial institutions with toxic mortgages encouraged by government with help from both Democratic and Republican politicians. The U.S. Supreme court has ruled that money spent on political campaigning is equivalent to free speech protected by the Constitution. One of the problems Europeans have with America is their source of news. If all they listen to is CNN and BBC, they will get a left biased view of the news about America.That is the America that stopped Europe from slaughtering millions of their citizens in the last century. This is the Europe that is imploding and collapsing from the weight of their welfare state.

    • Ricky

      Hello Bob – I don’t think Pearl of Tyburn and Telly Davies are of the same mind – rather they are at odds with each other. I did say that the healthcare package eventually passed by Congress and upheld by your Supreme Court ‘is far from perfect’ but it does provide cover for those who had none before. For sure it can be improved upon but a complete free market will unfortunately not do that.

      I do agree with you that another major contributing factor to the fiscal problems of the US were the toxic mortgages you mention for which politicians of all parties have responsibilities for encouraging. However, two unfunded wars started by President Bush have also massively contributed too. Whatever the Supreme Court has ruled regarding the money spent on political campaigning, I like my sister June, find the amount spent utterly obscene and believe it could be used for far better purposes.

      For the most part, Europeans have no problems at all with their source of news about the USA or any other part of the world. They at least get news about the world beyond the borders of their own countries. I’ve been told by numerous Brits and others living in North America, that US news networks hardly report on anything happening elsewhere beyond the borders of the USA. All news networks have their faults, but BBC in particular, is a vast improvement on Fox News!

      Whilst I agree that Europe has financial problems too, partly due to the ageing nature of its population and the demands they inevitably place on the welfare state, let me assure that we are neither imploding or collapsing.

  • Russell Roe

    A problem with America for Europeans is the fact that some Americans unequivocally believe their country is the best in the world. Americans rightly consider their country to be the founder and promoter of values like democracy and freedom of thought and expression. This position rightly comes across from most Americans and there is nothing wrong with it. I am proud of my country (as I will come onto explaining) however, being overly-patriotic can be problematic as I will attempt to illustrate.

    What I believe is detrimental to a country is when it fails to acknowledge where things go wrong. American’s inability to do this is a problem for Europeans. Pearl, you have raised Obama’s so called ‘apology tour’ to the Middle East and as Karen rightly said, Obama did not apologise, but Obama’s intent was appropriate. In Strasbourg in 2009 Obama said that ‘there have been times when America has shown arrogance and been dismissive’. The problem is that there are people in the world (not just in countries like Iran) who believe America has been arrogant and dismissive for right or wrong reasons. This needs resolving.

    If America wants to be the promoter of democracy, freedom of expression and the capitalist free market etc in the 21st century it has to have good relations with other countries in the world. I would have no issues with David Cameron going to India with the primary intention of acknowledging that Britain was oppressive towards India. However, I would also want Cameron to acknowledge that Britain contributed to the Indian economy and way of life by bringing things like the railways and even things like cricket (even if India beat us!). The railways and cricket are now very important in Indian life and to the Indian economy.

    I am very proud of my country but I also recognise that other countries have done lots of good things and that other countries have contributed to British life. I believe what makes a country good is being able to identify where it has gone wrong (see next paragraph) as well as what it has done and is doing correctly. There is nothing wrong in trying to show someone else their country’s or its government’s peculiarities or mistaken approaches, see Ricky’s extensive blog posts about Czech bureaucracy. 🙂

    I am pleased that today Britain realises its Empire treated people brutally and oppressively and was not the great Empire that people believed it to be. I am also pleased of the fact we can look back at the 1950s and 60s and realise the attitudes to immigrants were misguided. I am not saying you should be pleased about mistakes but pleased about where they make you and your country better and pleased when they are permanently consigned to history. Everyone makes mistakes and any idea that America doesn’t make mistakes or makes less mistakes than other country’s is unfounded.

    I would happily argue with any American that the Second Amendment is wrong and that access to healthcare should be determined by the needs of the patient rather than the ability to pay; but also be prepared to listen to why I should be entitled to own a gun and have to pay for healthcare. However, I feel we can happily have our own ways of doing things and the fundamentally different approaches between America and Europe over some issues will rightly or wrongly never change.

    What can be changed over time is the perception of Obama’s re-election and most importantly the discordant nature of politics in America. The key issue is whether Obama’s re-election will lead to a decline or improvement in America’s economy and by extension its strength and influence in the world. I thought it was unfortunate that David Cameron became the British Prime Minister however, we endeavour to embrace what we have, identify weaknesses and failures in our country and its government and promote the strengths and successes that our country and government achieves. Despite this, I respect those who voted for Cameron. I think they want Britain to become a better place but have different ideas to me about how to achieve it. When someone wins an election, a line needs to be drawn under the result no matter, which is why I like this blog post so much.

    In America, the strength and intensity of division and the lack of agreement over social, economic and foreign policy is problematic and will lead to America becoming less powerful and influential in the world. I am particularly referring to the debt ceiling and to what will happen on 1 January if compromise cannot be sought. Whilst I am not a fan of my country’s current government, I am grateful that two parties agreed to work together to ensure political stability. I hope Obama and the Republicans are able to act in the same conciliatory way as our two governing parties. That would contribute to making America a greater country.

    • Ricky

      Russell – your long comment is so full of common sense that it needs very little from me in reply, other than to say I agree 100% with almost everything you write here. What does need to be said for the benefit of other readers of this blog post & the 30 comments it has now attracted, is that I know Russell to be only 17 years old. Yet he writes with more common sense and understanding than all those whose outrageous comments were the origin of this post, as well as a small number of those who have left comments here. My plea to all my readers and commenters, especially those Americans who have taken issue with what I originally wrote – please take note of the total common sense of a 17 year old Brit with a Czech mother as expressed in the comment above.

  • Rev. Yates, thank you for replying.

    First, I would like to say that I personally identify myself as a Catholic of the Latin Rite as opposed to a “Roman” Catholic. I know, I’m being a little picky here, but the origin of the term “Roman Catholic” was used a slur during the days of persecution in England, and I find it rather dismissive of our fellow Catholics in the various Eastern rites. We are all members of the Universal Church, whatever our rite. Moving on….;-)

    Abortion and contraception are both serious evils in the social teaching of the Catholic Church. First, contraception induced by abortifacient drugs is equivalent to abortion. Second, contraception in any form is an artificial means of preventing pregnancy while still engaging in sexual intercourse, which we believe is very wrong. We support Natural Family Planning for those who wish to space pregnancies. Those Catholics who use/support contraception are not following Church teaching.

    I never heard of the incidences involving the black cameraman and the Puerto Rican woman, but these are random incidents, the likes of which can be found anywhere and everywhere. My original point was this: The conservative movement in America does not advocate prejudice against any race. I am honestly pretty tired of being accused of prejudice for disapproving of the policies of our first black president and wishing to guard our borders.

    I am not a mindless nationalist. I’m sure my blog testifies that fact. However, I believe there is a fine line between making a respectful apology for a certain incident and being excessively deferent to other nations. I do think that the United States is one of the greatest countries on earth, and with good reason. But I also think the United Kingdom is one of the greatest countries on earth, and I greatly respect her heritage historically, religiously, and politically. I simply believe that basic conservative values would serve both nations best.

    Russell Roe, while I disagree with you one many points, I respect your opinion and admire your intelligent delivery. As it is, we are the same age, so it is always nice to come across a fellow teenager who takes an interest in cultural and political issues. If you interested, please feel free to visit my blog “Longbows and Rosary Beads.” I believe clicking on my username will send you there. I would love to get your opinions on my articles.

    Thank you, again, Rev. Yates, for your time, and God Bless,

    Pearl of Tyburn

    • Ricky

      Hi Pearl – My reason for using the term ‘Roman Catholic’ is to counteract the common trait of the Roman Catholic Church, (regardless of what rite it uses), in calling itself the ‘Catholic Church’. As I’m sure you know, the word ‘catholic’ means ‘universal’. Sadly, the leadership of the Roman Catholic Church, (regardless of what rite it uses), thinks that it is the ‘universal Church’. Others of us would choose to disagree. The Church of England declares itself to be ‘part of the One, Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church’ – a bit more generous I hope you would concur 🙂

      ‘Abortion and contraception are both serious evils in the social teaching of the Catholic Church’. In that sentence from your comment, you perfectly illustrate the point I made in my previous paragraph. What you actually mean is, ‘Abortion and contraception are both serious evils in the social teaching of the Roman Catholic Church’. Regardless of what you believe, the reason most Roman Catholic families, (regardless of what rite they belong to), have families of a similar size to the average in North America or Europe – i.e. two or three children, is because they use simple contraceptive methods such as condoms or the contraceptive pill. I have to tell you that so called ‘natural family planning’ or ‘the rhythm method’ is not particularly reliable and couples realise this! Please understand that preventing conception is not evil.

      My comment about what happened at the Republican Convention was to point out that, when you get a large group of people together, inappropriate things are said & done. This is regardless of the political flavour of the people gathered.

      All countries & their political leaders, make mistakes. I believe that it is not a weakness, but rather a point of strength, to acknowledge when a mistake was made in the past.

  • Bob

    Goodness where to begin. First a correction on a comment made by Ricky concerning two incidents at the Republican convention. There were some comments made by at least two attendees(to a black camerawoman from CNN) that were certainly not appropriate. Those individuals were immediately removed by security. The incident concerning the Puerto Rican delegate was reported absolutely incorrectly and it went viral in minutes on the net. What actually happened was that when this delegate was about to announce the nomination of a person as chairman for the convention, a disagreement between supporters of Ron Paul and the RNC chairman about seating of the Paul delegates erupted in shouting of the Paul delegates and the RNC chair had to restore order. None of this involved the Puerto Rican female delegate, who stood patiently by until order was restored and then took the microphone to make her announcement. I discovered all this in 10 minutes by googling these two incidents. When people level charges they should check their facts first.

    In regard to the recent economic distress America has suffered and still suffers. The recession had nothing to do with the large budget deficits run up by the government. The recession was a result of what I had mentioned before and had nothing to do with two unpaid for wars. Mortgages were given to people who really did not qualify for them, these toxic mortgages were then “fenced” by two quasi government agencies Fannie may and Freddie mack, changed into derivatives and injected right onto the balance sheets of large U.S. banks, thus freezing the flow of capital and lending. The financial system froze, and the lifeblood of capitalism stopped moving.

    In regard to the notion of American exceptionalism. I can understand Europeans not understanding this idea, but is dismaying to me that some of the Americans making comments on this blog apparently do not understand the principles of the founding of their own country. America is an exceptional country because it was founded on an idea. The idea that free people are capable of governing themselves. That our inalienable rights do not come from men or government, but from God. Our Constitution was written to protect those rights listed in the Declaration of Independence from a tyrannical overreaching central government. Unfortunately President Obama has shown a disdain for the constitution and and has stated that he does not like it because it handcuffs the federal government. It was written in order to handcuff the central federal government, and keep a good deal of the power in the hands of the individual states. Americans do not trust the federal government and with good reason. The concentration of power in the central government will ultimately lead to tyranny.

    Russell: the reason the Constitution has written into it the right of the citizens of America to bear arms is to give the citizens the means to remove an overbearing and tyrannical government should the need arise God Forbid. The very first thing Hitler did when he came into power was to disarm the citizens of Germany. Americans will never willingly give up their right to bear arms.

    Of course never mentioned are those thousands of times a year that an armed citizen has prevented a crime.

    Rick: I just heard on today’s news that the Government debt of France has been downgraded in quality. I read the Wall street Journal every day and when I read that the Greeks are burning their country down, Spain has an unemployment rate of 25%, the U.K. is in it’s second recession in less than five years, the entire southern tier of Eurozone countries are going bankrupt and the German voters are very unlikely to be willing to bail everybody out, it is clear to me that Europe is going bankrupt

    • Ricky

      Bob – I’m only briefly going to reply to this long comment & my apologies for sitting on it for so long before approving it.

      With regard to the RNC, I fully accept your explanation of the second incident and would repeat what I said to Pearl, ‘My comment about what happened at the Republican Convention was to point out that, when you get a large group of people together, inappropriate things are said & done. This is regardless of the political flavour of the people gathered.’

      With regard to the right to bear arms, it relates to a totally different era of more than two hundred years ago rather than present day society. Guns rarely prevent crime but frequently cause murders to be committed. Most murders in both North America and Europe occur between people who know each other. The domestic family row escalates and because a weapon is freely available, it is grabbed and used in a fit of anger. There is a correlation between murder rates and the number of weapons in circulation in a country.

      With regard to the European economy – yes there are problems. But back to the origin of this unplanned blogpost. Why were so many disappointed Republican voters saying that they wanted to escape there own country and come to Europe? I was just pointing out the absurdity of what they were saying.

  • Hello, again!

    Just on the point of Anglicans being “Catholic”, I think it’s all in the method of interpretation. For example, Mormons consider themselves “Christians” while at the same time differing from many traditional Christian doctrines, such as the Blessed Trinity. However, if you look at the word “Christian” in it’s most basic definition as “one who follows Christ”, then they absolutely are Christians, yet not in a traditional sense.

    The same, I think, applies to Anglicans. If you want consider yourself “Catholic” in the most basic definition of the word as “universal”, and you wish to make that stand for your position as members of the global Christian community, you can go ahead and do that. However, in the traditional sense of the word, you are most certainly not Catholics since you are not in communion with the Holy See and your doctrines often diverge radically from those held by us.

    Hence, while the term “Roman Catholic” has taken on a life of it’s own since it was first coined, I often feel it carries a certain derogatory connotation to make us sound as “foreign” and “anti-Anglo” as possible. In essence, I feel it carries elements of the old English documents that labeled us “Papists” and “Popish Persons” sent out to subvert society. I’m not saying you’re using it this way, but I am saying I would prefer being called a Latin-Rite Catholic, which I am.

    God Bless,
    Pearl

    • Ricky

      Hello again Pearl – Certainly Mormons, and I think also Jehovah’s Witnesses, like to be known as ‘Christians’, but as you rightly say, both groups deny basic Christian doctrines, particularly in relation to the divinity of Christ. Therefore Roman Catholics (of all rites 🙂 ), Orthodox, Anglicans, together with mainstream Protestants, all regard them as sects.

      Basic Christian doctrine is set out in the historic creeds – The Apostles Creed, the Nicene Creed and the Athanasian Creed. In your Latin-Rite Mass, I understand that you make your affirmation of faith using the words of the Nicene Creed. In our Anglican liturgy for the Eucharist, we do so too. This morning, I and the rest of the Prague Anglican congregation declared, ‘We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church’. The historic meaning of the word ‘catholic’ as it appears in the Nicene Creed is ‘universal’. It does not mean that the ‘one holy catholic and apostolic Church’ is only those in communion with the Pope in Rome. This is not the first time I’ve had to challenge this somewhat arrogant view on my blog. See this post & the discussion following http://rickyyates.com/the-austrian-pfarrer-initiativepriests-initiative-a-call-for-honesty/

      Whilst calling someone ‘Papist’ or ‘Popish’ is both pejorative and derogatory, calling someone a ‘Roman Catholic’ is not, as far as I am concerned. It just is an accurate description. Whilst I understand the term ‘Latin-Rite Catholic’, the vast majority of English-speakers wouldn’t have a clue what you were describing!

  • Hi, Rev. Yates,

    Oh, my! Your article for which you posted a link is loaded with new topics that stray pretty far from this present post! Suffice to say, there are any number of things we disagree about concerning priestly celibacy, women’s ordination, papal infallibility, and the interpretation of the word “Catholic” with a capital “C”!

    But I think we’ve really had a good run at debating for the present. May we call a Christmas truce? 🙂 Then, after the holy days, I can put up a post on my blog dealing with the effects of the Protestant Reformation, and we can a regular party with it! The Catholics will supply the eggnog, if the Protestants agree to supply snickerdoodles 😉

    God Bless,
    Pearl

    • Ricky

      Hi Pearl – Yes we have strayed from the original topic of this post & I suspected you hadn’t seen or read my previous post to which I linked & the considerable discussion that it provoked. We can certainly call a Christmas truce and I look forward to reading your further blog posts in due course.

  • Russell Roe

    @Pearl: I will gratefully give my opinion on your blog posts and will have a good look through your blog but I will try and avoid commenting on issues I am not aware of like the ones you and Ricky have just been discussing!! I am not religious although I do believe that there is perhaps some kind of superior being, but this superior being is not the kind that is written in the Bible, the Koran or any other religious text. Ricky mentioned my Czech heritage and this is one of the reasons I like reading this blog because I like to read about how Czech culture is perceived by expats living there. I have never been to United States, but from what I have read and seen I hope I have gained a balanced and reasonable view of your country. I see it as a country which is equally great but equally fallible (when I say it is fallible I am principally referring to the government and Wall Street – I do not mean the American people)

    @Bob I take serious issue with a citizen using a firearm even if it is for the protection of others. In the UK this is what the police are for and in most cases the police are able to interfere before the use of a fireman. Sadly this is not always the case however, in any situation where someone claims to be using a firearm for protection this is still violence, is still as bad as the perpetrator of the initial violence and is therefore still likely to lead to further violence.

    The usage of a firearm for protection just makes the situation worse and is going to cause more deaths and injuries. When I see deaths caused because someone who has serious psychological issues gets hold of a gun so easily it makes me really sad. I am very grateful I have gone to school in a country where I have not had to worry that another student will steal his or her parent’s gun and bring it into school. I am deeply sad that this even has to be an issue. The second amendment works on the principle that people are responsible and rational and if everyone was responsible and rational it would work fine but because people are not it does not work fine. That is why the Germans voted Hitler in because they were not responsible and rational. Hitler implicitly instilled the feeling that they needed a responsible and strong leadership to sort their problems out. I strongly disagree with your characterisation that Hitler disarmed the citizens of Germany. If anything he did the opposite. What do you think the Hitler Youth, the SS and the SA were doing? If a citizens was on the side of the Nazi’s s/he could get a gun easily. Please correct me, if you feel this assertion is misguided, I don’t know enough about gun ownership in Nazi Germany but I do not believe the citizens of Germany were universally disarmed.

    I also disagree with the idea that universal gun ownership could be used to remove a government. This principle (and many others that the amendment is grounded on) is outdated. Ricky referred to this in his reply to you. As I made clear in my first post the divisive nature of American politics is a clear issue and because of this there would never be a smooth removal of a tyrannical government today. There are probably enough Americans that consider Barack Obama to be oppressive and tyrannical to start some kind of revolution but he has not been removed. Donald Trump, would be a prime example. Jokes aside, because America is truly a great country I do not think it would be conceivable that American government would become tyrannical. This argument for the second amendment that lies in history. Therefore, I think a measured move away from gun ownership would be preferable. But, of course, this will never happened because the owning of a gun is such an intrinsic factor of American life.

    In my opinion the second amendment originates out of a fear that doesn’t exist. A fear that everyone else is irrational and irresponsible and needs to be kept in check, when in fact it is the ownership of firearms that are instrumental in creating irrationality and irresponsibility. I am sorry I feel so strongly and unambiguously about this but when people needlessly die and the upholding of an ignorant principle is seen as more important than the countless number of deaths that have occurred from firearms ownership I feel despair and frustration. Of course, this may sound like an extremely emotional and misguided position to most Americans and one day I hope to go to America and find out why my assertions may be misguided and based on appeals to emotions.

    • Ricky

      Hi Russell,

      Many thanks for this long, thoughtful comment. As you will see from her last comment, Pearl has agreed to what she calls a ‘Christmas truce’ & Bob also has said privately to me that he has no intention to comment further on this blog post. However I will say that I agree entirely with every word you say about gun ownership & its consequences. Sadly, there are none so deaf as those who will not hear.