Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Did We Get An Earful Or What!!

Whatever your opinion about our President, the fact is the rest of the world dislikes the man intensely. It is undeniable--accept it. He is blamed for provoking violence and stirring the pot of terrorism and making things a thousand times worse since September 11. I feel sadness about it. The world was with us after that fateful terrible day and Bush blew it--he blew the goodwill and he continues to blow it. The United States is no longer respected nor held in high regard solely because of Bush. (Luckily, the hatred does not spill over to plain old Americans like us.)

Let me give three examples:

1) When we arrived in Hungary, Bush had recently been in Budapest. He made some ridiculous statement comparing some of Hungary's struggles to Iraq. They cannot be compared and people were miffed at his lack of knowledge and lack of respect for the history of the area. And then we were told that all of Budapest was shut down to accommodate Bush with thousands of people inconvenienced. The arrogance of it all does not go unnoticed, believe me.

2) Our taxi driver in Vienna, originally from Egypt, described to us in English and in great detail Bush's visit a few days before to Vienna. For two days the entire downtown area was barricaded with no entry or escape. In addition, the road to the airport was blocked off. Our cab driver lost two days of business AND he was not allowed or able to return to his home the night Bush slept soundly in a fancy downtown hotel suite. He told us it was very difficult to explain to his child why Daddy could not come home. His opinion was that if Bush is so afraid and scared of the citizens of Vienna, Austria he should've just stayed home. What I cannot understand is that if I was George or Laura, I'd be horrified and embarrassed to have caused such a major disturbance of people's families and lives. Does he not care? This type of grandstanding only aggravates the image of the United States in the rest of the world. Who do we think we are?

3) And finally, the graffitti and the posters in some of the wine bars and cafes where we ate revealed the clear feelings of Europeans about our leader. And it isn't good. It is one thing to have a street or two blocked off creating a traffic nightmare for a few hours. It is an entirely different matter to shut down an entire city--tends to make folks even more angry.