Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Hey, Keep it in the Family, Pal!

This guy really chaffs my ass. This is a letter to the editor to the English version of El Pais about Condoleeza Rice's visit to Madrid. I know everyone has a right to express their opinion, but why not disagree with Bush at home where it could do some good? Where we vote! This letter seems almost ... disloyal. This guy says , "He is EMBARRASSED by the actions of Condoleeza Rice"? What? Did she pick her nose in public or something? Did she make a pass at Moratinos?

Of course, I have never seen any editorial piece or letter to the editor (or actual story for that matter) even remotely positive about the U.S. in El Pais, so I won't bother to write a rebuttal. I understand the score. They are the left in Spain and they hate us - no problem. If I had a problem with that I would read ABC. But what is this guy's purpose in writing this letter? Why write a letter to a foreign newspaper to list everything wrong in the U.S. and say you are embarrassed by your country? It seems to me the only reason is to preach to the Choir, to ingratiate himself with the Spanish press. It goes down a virtual laundry list of things they always say is wrong with America. And there is NOTHING they love more than a real American agreeing with them. But is he real? The letter is almost too perfect! (his syntax is a little screwy too). He lists all the big hits, like from a manifesto:

- The U.S. is the axis of evil.
- The U.S. is not really "ideal". (What?)
- We're corrupt.
- We're religious fanatics
- Bush wasn't really elected.
- The rich man keeps you down
- They control you with fear.
- Only the rich benefit, everyone else is screwed.
- Tax cuts screwed everybody.
- Iraq.
- We get no vacations.
- We got no medical insurance.
- Oh, and Miguel Angel Aguilar (with all the correct accents) is totally right.

Of course, in Spain there is no corruption (except in Marbella). Religion plays no part in anything (except the state funds all kinds of Church programs and abortion is officially illegal). Bush wasn't really elected (except for that second time). There are no rich in Spain (except you have a much better chance of becoming "the Man" in the U.S. than in Spain because the rich keep you down so well). Only the rich benefit in America (that's why everyone wants to immigrate to the U.S.). There is no fear in Spain (except for global warming, immigrants coming to get you, globalization, and THE AMERICANS!). Who needs tax cuts in Spain? (everybody needs them and they are coming - it looks like they'll start in France). Iraq? (well, he's got me there. At least we tried). Lots of vacation in Spain (except that they really can't afford that anymore. Employers are afraid of hiring anybody because they can't fire them). Spain has "free" medical insurance (except that most of my friends in Madrid go to private doctors and brag about it). But Miguel Angel Aguilar - with all the correct accents from El Pais - is a genius!

I am not saying we don't have problems, of course we do. Let's just not whine to the foreign press about it. We can bitch and moan at home.


Theresa said...

Hi, I just stopped in from "Notes from Spain" to see who my worthy opponent is. Interesting blog you have here. So, how did you end up between two countries?

You're right about it doing more good to complain over in the U.S., but don't forget there are voters living over here too, me for starters. I don't think the left hates the U.S., that's a bit harsh, isn't it. In any case, I guess this guy has as much right to send his opinion to El Pais as to any other paper. Sorry, there I go again, trying to pick a fight ;) Sometimes I just like to play Devil's advocate. I guess every place has its good things and its bad, and finding fault is easier than seeing the positive aspects of a country.

Carl said...

Hi Theresa! I'm not an opponent. I'm a colleague.

I'm between two countries because I fell in Love with Madrid but couldn't work there. I was looking for a "real" job (not teaching English) in about 1987. Those were different times, even harder for an American to work in Spain than now.
So I decided to work in Los Angeles and dream/play in Madrid.

Of course the letter writer has every right to comment. But this is the place where I can vent, etc. Every place does have it's good and bad, it's just that in about 24 years of going back and forth between the States and Spain I seem to only hear the bad.

I know I am harsh sometimes, but I'm afraid I do believe they hate the U.S., and that makes me sad to tell you the truth.

I have seen your blog too. I like it - a fellow Californian!

EuroMadrid said...

Three HURRAHS for you!! I agree with your comments 110%. What a brillant takedown of that dude! ¡Toma ya! How much do you wanna bet that the so-called John H. Robbins is more commonly known to his friends and family as "Juan Hernan Rodríguez" and that it turns out he's really a cousin of an El País editor studying English in California? (hee, hee) Don't pay any attention to Theresa. As you can see from her photo, she wears rose-colored glasses. :-)
Enjoy your blog. Keep it up, compadre!

Carl said...

Thanks euromadrid!

Theresa is alright, she's a Californian. She has just been away for a long time and needs some perspective. Right Theresa?

John said...

Speaking of Americans slamming America in the Spanish press, The worst case I have ever seen was John MacEnroe. It was brutal and when he was done he got a standing O. I used to like him.