Younger readers might find this hard to believe, but there was a time, not so long ago, when both Britain and America were admired for the governing principles they espousedby Diane Roberts / April 17, 2019 / Leave a comment
The world watches the United (for the time being) Kingdom and the (not really) United States and asks in horror: what is wrong with you?
Both nations have stumbled through the looking-glass and found ourselves mired in a pair of 1990s movies. Britain is re-enacting “Groundhog Day,” waking up every morning, not to Sonny and Cher crooning “I Got You, Babe,” but to news of another failed Brexit vote. America is stuck in the “Madness of King George,” except now the deranged potentate’s name is Donald.
Younger readers might find this hard to believe, but there was a time, not so long ago, when both Britain and America were admired for the governing principles they espoused—if not always for their governments’ behavior. Britain gave the world the mother of parliaments and the common law; America took many of its most important ideals from the former colonial master and created a much-envied constitution promising equal protection under the law and free expression.
It was admittedly a messy process, what with various peasants’ revolts, civil wars, and not a few riots. But things in the early 21stcentury looked good, at least for a while. Both nations embraced the rights of women, gays, bisexuals, and transgender people, people of colour, and people of various faiths. We knew that the planet was in peril from greenhouse gases. We realised that economies had to be global or fail. We assumed that the era of constant war had finally ended.
Boy, were we wrong. With the Brexit referendum and the election of Donald Trump, two of the world’s most influential nations pivoted sharply and marched resolutely backwards. The only thing Theresa May gets out of those constant trips to Brussels is frequent flyer miles. She may tell the British people that this time it will be different, this time the European Union will see the obvious advantages of giving the UK all the benefits of EU membership without having to be subject to EU rules, but it never works out that way. She just demands another vote in which parliament demonstrates it can’t even decide what it dislikes the most, much less what it likes.
In the US, Donald Trump lurches from gaudy lie to gaudy lie, dialing the crazy up to 11 and breaking off the knob. He pretends to have made…