Explaining ourselves abroad

Larry McCoy is a long-time friend, classmate, and retired journalist who spent his adult life writing and editing news for broadcast on major networks. Here’s an email to his former colleagues:

Email to My Friends Overseas

To: BG (Canadian), LD (German), RE (Australian), MH (Romanian), TL (German), TA (British), RH (New Zealander), PK (Canadian/German/Australian), DK (Australian), MA (Australian), ST (Austrian), KHP (Austrian)


I don’t know how to explain what’s going on here. We have lost our way. Truth is no longer valued. We have elected a man who repeatedly says things that aren’t true. He has hired a propaganda minister who says if the president believes something then it is true.

Vulgarity and insensitivity are good, widely appreciated. Our president is fond of mocking those who disagree with him. Banks over here are always bugging customers to go paperless, and we have now become a factless country and are apparently proud of it. True information has no value. The president says something, it is reported and recorded and a day or so later he denies having said it and accuses the press of making things up. The propaganda minister and other underlings then engage in more obfuscation.

Reporters have talked with people who voted for the man, and many of them seem pleased by what he is doing. We are not the United States of America. We are merely the States of America.

The president can say the most inappropriate things about himself (how many times he has been on the cover of a certain magazine or how big the crowd was when he appeared somewhere) and we’re not offended or appalled.

Our president and his minions issue orders without thought of the consequences, without thorough consultation with the agencies affected. When things become a mess, we are told that isn’t the case, that things are running smoothly. The news media and most of the people in it are attacked and called dishonest. We can’t believe what is happening, and we flip on a TV channel to watch four people talk at once about how they can’t believe what is happening.

A top aide to the president has told the press to shut up and listen. This is a man who ran a white nationalist, anti-Semitic web site and who has just been made a full member of the National Security Council while the Director of Intelligence and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff have been told there will be some meetings of the National Security Council that they won’t necessarily be invited to.

Our president is a man who doesn’t read but tweets. He is said to watch a lot of television and when he spots something he doesn’t like or does like he is compelled to tweet. Isn’t that sweet? There doesn’t appear to be a Mr. or Ms “no,” someone who has the guts to tell the man “no.” If there is no one telling him to stop with the asinine tweets about crowd size or alleged voter fraud, we’re in real trouble when there is a crisis and he relies on impulse rather than reason.

I have lived under a number of presidents whose policies I didn’t like. I have never before lived under one who scared me. A young American friend in Australia, young enough to be my son, tells me: “I’m scared for my kids. I used to be concerned. Often worried. Never scared before.”

People have gone out into the streets in great numbers to protest the new immigration rules, rules that the propaganda minister and others seem to argue were necessary because of the threat of imminent attack. Is it going to come to troops in the streets facing off against a population all decked out in pussy hats?

I hate Starbucks coffee and have often said I’m mystified why Starbucks has been such a success. Their coffee is way too strong and way too expensive. I went out of my way this morning to stop at the local Starbucks, my first time there. The boss of Starbucks has said he intends to hire 10,000 refugees over the next five years. I and others are reduced to little gestures. We can’t let the bastards get us down.


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