Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland until I return to the Murcia region of Spain in the Autumn for a month or so
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Friday, 6 July 2007

Bill gets quoted by Andrew Sullivan

Yesterday (i.e. July 4th - probably two days ago, now) Andrew Sullivan posted a lengthy series of blog entries extolling the virtues of the country he has made his home, as his tribute this year to the anniversary of US independence. I had no trouble at all in recognising that most of what he wrote was fully justified, but one of the articles struck me (under the current Administration there) as being a bit hard to take, so I wrote an email to Andrew to express my views - Andrew does not allow blog comments, but does reproduce some of the comment he receives by email. He picked up my email and published an edited version of it here:


Staying Away From America
A British reader writes:


"Although I don't live in the US I have visited it many times and consider it a great and wonderful country. However, I have taken the conscious decision not to visit during the current Presidency. Like you I was a pretty strong supporter of GWB when he first became President (mainly because I didn't rate Gore very highly), but again like you I have come to realize what a danger he represents to US democracy and world security. However, particularly in relation to Part VII of your series yesterday the fact is that I, as a perfectly normal and innocent non-US citizen do not feel secure visiting the US safely.

I regularly read blog entries, even in your own blog, expressing horror that a US citizen can be treated so badly (Padilla), but the reaction to non-US citizens being treated extra-judicially by your government is, for a lot of Americans rather different. I know the Florida tourism people, for example, have been running advertising campaigns here (the UK) trying to encourage visitors after a number of outrageous incidents involving British citizens had been widely publicised here and had led to a downturn in tourist bookings from this country. The US is a great country and will, undoubtedly, regain its equilibrium in due course, but meantime there are many other parts of the world where I can vacation without feeling I have to glance over my shoulder."

Andrew concludes -
Any non-citizen in this country is at risk of government detention at any time. If they can do it to citizens, they sure can to aliens.



For anyone who is interested here is the full unedited text of what I wrote in my email; I accept fully that Andrew's editing in no way changed the basic tenor of what I wrote although perhaps the 'flavour' was altered somewhat:


"Hi Andrew

I hate to 'rain on your parade' on this day of all days - although I don't live in the US I have visited it many times and consider it a great and wonderful country. However, I have taken the conscious decision not to visit during the current Presidency. Like you I was a pretty strong supporter of GWB when he first became President (mainly because I didn't rate Gore very highly - possibly that was a mistake, too), but again like you I have come to realise what a danger he represents to US democracy and world security.

However, particularly in relation to Part VII of your series today the fact is that I, as a perfectly normal and innocent non-US citizen do not feel secure that I might visit the US safely - the fact that I as an 'alien' effectively have no rights under US law whilst there is frankly something I am not prepared to risk while GWB remains President; the law is no different now than it was under Nixon, Agnew, Carter, Reagan and Clinton (during whose Presidencies I visited before ), but the way the law is interpreted is creepy under the present incumbent and his Vice-President. I regularly read blog entries, even in your own blog, expressing horror that a US citizen can be treated so badly (Padilla), but the reaction to non-US citizens being treated extra-judicially by your government is, for a lot of Americans (probably not you, admittedly) rather different. I know the Florida tourism people, for example, have been running advertising campaigns here (the UK) trying to encourage visitors after a number of outrageous incidents involving British citizens had been widely publicised here and had led to a downturn in tourist bookings from this country.

The US is a great country and will, undoubtedly, regain its equilibrium in due course, but meantime there are many other parts of the world where I can vacation without feeling I have to glance over my shoulder - a lot of perfectly innocent people have been damageed by US government paranoia over the past 7 years. Meantime I prefer to spend my holiday money in other places.

However, to end on a happier note - Happy Independence Day!

Cheers!

Bill Cameron"

No comments:

Post a Comment

Welcome to my comment area. Whilst all comment is welcome you are requested to respect the views of others. To read full terms for use of this facility, please visit my 'Terms of Use' section, linked to under the 'About this Blog' heading at top right of the blog. Note added 12JUL2010 - All comments will now be pre-moderated before they appear in this blog; this is a measure to prevent 'spam' commenting, which has become frequent of late. Thank you.