Although I have lived in Austria for over 30 years and am now an Austrian citizen, I was born and raised in Michigan in the USA. The beautiful peninsulas surround by the Great Lakes where I grew up rarely make the news in Austria, so sat up and listened when I heard that the FBI arrested 13 domestic terrorists yesterday in Michigan for plotting to abduct the Governor Gretchen Whitmer and take her to Wisconsin for a “trial”.
In over three decades of living in Europe, I have experienced the full spectrum of European attitudes regarding the United States. Emotions and opinions have ranged from admiration and respect, to consternation and disdain, to anger and fear. One sentiment that until recently no one expressed in regard to the United States was pity. Yet it was my first emotional reaction when I heard the news this morning.
I pity a once great nation that has become so divided. I pity a nation with such wealth and resources that is incapable or unwilling to protect its citizens from COVID 19. I pity a nation built on a grand democratic ideal that has deteriorated into a partisan farce. I pity a nation where democratically elected officials must fear for their lives from vigilantes masquerading as patriots.