Jane Haddam’s WordPress weblog

Peace and Swords

with 3 comments

So, okay, I’m usually pretty good at keeping up with the news.

In fact, I’m usually something of a cable news junkie, the kind of personwho has to see all three twenty-four-hour-channel reports of any situation, and then the commentary shows on the same situation, just because…just because.

Never mind.  There isn’t a because.  This obviously comes from the same place inside me that really likes chocolate.

Yesterday, though, I had a pretty cramped day, so that I not only didn’t watch my usual round of stuff, but I didn’t even listen to Ed Flynn on the radio when I was driving around.

Or rather, I did listen to Ed Flnn, but only for a couple of minutes, and he was talking about dogs.  Ed Flynn is our local talk radio wing nut.  He’s been on a local station for about thirty years, and he makes Glenn Beck look positively left wing.  He must hae said something about Obama getting the Peace Prize, but I didn’t hear i.

What all this means, of course, is that I didn’t hear about Obama getting the Peace Prize until I started getting e-mails fairly late in the evening, and then I was just too tired to deal with them.

And what I want to talk about isn’t exactly the Peace Prize.  The Peace Prize, like the prize in literature, has become so politicized by now that it doesn’t mean much of anything I can tell.  On a couple of occasions, I’m fairly sure it was given out–Jimmy Carter especially, but also Al Gore–to insult the Bush administration in particular or the United States in general, and I’ll never forgive Carter for going to Stockholm and bashing his own country.

Some of the right wing pundits I’ve been able to catch since I’ve heard about this say that Obama was given the Price because he “apologizes” of America when he gives speeches overseas–in other words, for the same reason Carter and Gore were given it, which makes me wonder if Moore is going to get Peace or Literature when the time comes.

The more I think about it, though, the more I think it may have been something else.

Americans are always being castigated–sometimes deservedly–with knowing nothing of what is going on in the rest of the world.

In the case of the issue of immigration into Europe and immigrants living in Europe, though, I think the problem is not so much lack of knowledge as excess of history.  Americans have generally done well with immigration, at least in the long run.  The Irish came, the Italians came, the Jews came–and in the end, each group ended up not only assimilating, but establishing a whole new style of “being American” that the rest of us tended to enjoy.

What’s more, our present immigration problem–the millions of largely  Latino immigrants streaming across our Southern border–looks to be headed in the same direction.  Whatever the problems we may be having with it in the short run, the children of even our illegal immigrants speak English, and their children tend to speak only English.  California got rid of bilungual education in its public schools largely because Latino parents, not just Anglo ones, opposed it.

It gets better than that.   The children and grandchildren of our illegal immigrants, and a fair number of new legal immigrants themselves, join the armed services at higher rates than the people whose families have been being born here for many more generations.  America takes immigrants and turns them into Americans, and the immigrants themselves seem to be very enthusiastic about taking part in that process.

For that reason, a number of writers–including Christopher Caldwell, whom I mentioned here a few days ago–tend to compare the immigrantion problem in Europe not with  American immigration, but with American problems with race.  I don’t think that will work, either.

In spite of the Jeremiah Wrights–and Jimmy  Carters–even the inner city kids I meet don’t view the country as being irrepably evil, and most of them get indignant when they read or hear things that suggest we are.   Jimmy Carter’s claim that the resistance to Obama’s administration was mostly about racism got my black students even more angry than it got my white students. 

What’s happening in the huge, growing and largely Muslim immigrant “communities” in Europe has no precedent in the United States, not even during Jim Crow.  In several countries (including Sweden, where Obama will go to accept  his prize), there are large no-go zones in and around the major cities where the police don’t dare to enter and the law does not apply.

The result is always disastrous for two groups of people–women and Jews.  In some neighborhoods in London, Birmingham and Leeds, even non-Muslim women wear the jeadscarf, because n ot to wear it is to risk sexual assault in broad daylight and a constabulary whose basic attitude is that it’s your fault if you got raped, you should know better than to walk around asking for it.

In the midst of the non-stop deniggration of Israelthat is the theme music of much of the European media, there’s another Jewish problem nobody is mentioning–a large-scale emigration of Jews out of Europe to Israel and the United States.  Sixty years after the Holocaust, and the determination that it would never happen again, Jews once again have to fear for their lives walking in certain neighborhoods in Berlin,  Paris, Amsterdam, and  Brussels–and have to fear for their lives because they are Jews.

There’s a lot more to this than I have either the time or the inclination to go into here, including a rising level of sheer brute phsical violence that is making a hash out of Europe’s vaunted social progressivism.

It just occured to me that giving Obama the Peace Prize might have something to do with recognizing the fact that the United Sttes has, somehow, manged to confront the challenges of immigration and race and, make it all work more often than not.

In Europe, they’re not making it work, and it’s no longer possible for them to pretend that it doesn’t matter.

Written by janeh

October 10th, 2009 at 9:24 am

Posted in Uncategorized

3 Responses to 'Peace and Swords'

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  1. I first took it as some sort of rumor or joke. When I found out that it was real and that nominations closed on 1 February, less than 2 weeks after Obama took office. I decided that it was a case of Bush Derangement Syndrome.


    10 Oct 09 at 1:57 pm

  2. I’m torn between BDS and general America-bashing as a motivation. I really can’t see it as a response to America getting something right. That’s especially true because it’s something we’ve been doing more or less right for generations, and in particular it’s an issue on which W took the Euro-approved position.

    First, they–that is, the Peace Prize committee–would have to concede that America ever got anything right–not a common position among the Euro elites–and then they’d have to admit that Europe is flunking the whole immigration/assimilation test. That also is not a common position among the sort of people who give out Nobel Prizes. One of the things which seems to be driving the growth of “fringe” parties in Western Europe is the unwillingness of the majors to address the issue, let alone actually do something about it.

    How the Muslim immigration to Europe will play out, I do not know, but if I were an Algerian in France, a Turk in Germany or a Pakistani in Britain, I’d be very careful not to sever all ties with the old country. Being a visible minority is a very dicey thing, and this could turn nasty with relatively little notice.


    10 Oct 09 at 4:39 pm

  3. That would be a tricky balancing act. Quite a few Canadian civilians had to be rescued, at great expense, when a war suddenly flared up. In principle, most Canadians would think this quite appropriate, but somewhat fewer agreed when they realized that the Canadians in question had dual Lebanese-Canadian citizenship, and suspicions arose that some or all of them were simply obtaining and using their Canadian citizenship as a kind of emergency backup, and only needed rescue because they’d misjudged the political situation in their real home country.

    Anyway, I was mildly surprised at the announcement, but not by much because the choices of the winners always seemed to have been made on very obscure criteria. In fact, in some cases, they seem to be operating on a hope that there will be peace in the future, as the peace plans of the winners have proved very unsuccessful.


    10 Oct 09 at 6:50 pm

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