Storm in Channel. Continent Cut Off
"Storm in Channel, Continent Cut Off" was the earnest headline of an English newspaper during the heyday of British empire. It reflected the same unconscious assumptions of world supremacy that were mocked in the Delderfield novel, God Was An Englishman.
"The British got their empire by having the peculiar ability of being able to speak without moving either their lips or their hands. They also coped with tropical heat by dressing in several layers of woolen clothing tightly buttoned to the neck, drinking scalding hot tea and briskly walking about in the midday sun. This so amazed the indigenous populace that people hung around gawking trying to figure out how the aliens could speak through their ears and taking bets on when the white guys were going to melt. Then, when an entire nation was watching intently to see who'd win the bet, other Englishmen crept up from behind with a huge net and took over the country."
Recently, I was in a restaurant where several people were discussing vacation plans. "I'd love to go to Europe," someone said, "but it's gotten so expensive." All agreed that where once Europe was a bargain or at least reasonably priced, it now unfortunately had gotten very expensive. "Yeah, that's true," said another diner. "We'll just have to wait until the prices come down," and everyone nodded at the rightness of this thought.
However right that idea might sound, it's still wrong; Europe has not gotten more expensive, America has gotten poorer.
The American dollar has slipped dramatically. In Canada your dollar is now worth about 96 cents. In England it's worth around 45 pennies, just cut your money in half and throw away a little bit extra. Go to any European Union country and your dollar only covers around 70 cents of the price. Under the Bush Administration and our astronomical deficit the country has been mortgaged to the hilt. Foreign investors control enough of our wealth so that should China suddenly call in its debts we'd be bankrupt overnight. If other countries were uneasy and refused to lend us money we'd go broke fast. If they lend less, and less willingly, we'd go broke more slowly but we'd still go broke inevitably. Does this have an impact in the way we conduct our foreign policy? Does this mean that foreign investors representing countries with other cultural ideas and their own plans for world dominance have a greater say in how we live our everyday lives? Do we risk becoming a place where all the big bosses are from somewhere else and an American can only rise so far then no more? A place where a foreign employers attitude towards race or gender or illness or disability will impact hiring practices? Does this mean that America is at risk of becoming a second-class nation, a has-been power?
You bet your life, it does. "Europe has gotten so expensive." Storm in channel. Continent cut off.
Written for Assimilated Press by roving reporter pinko