The Blog Goes OT for a Day - Snaps to Our American Chums

The writer's blur can wait a day: bring out the Snap Cup! Today, I dedicate the blog to our American friends. It has all been said before but I'd like to scribble a few words of my own. Forgive the moment of serious political contemplation - I'll be back to writing nonsense once I've got it out I promise.

When I studied American Politics in the dim and distant, the struggles of the African Americans shook me. When I lived over there a decade ago, I was even more shaken. Many people in the UK may be surprised at how big an issue race still is in many parts of the US and I was struck by the extent to which society was segregated by race in a number of subtle and not-so-subtle ways. The echoes of slavery are still close enough to resonate there.

It is a huge deal that, today, the leader of the country (and, until another land mass steps in, the Western World) is of African descent. It is not only moving but also the healing of a deep wound within the country, and the implications for all of us of a United States more at peace with itself cannot be overstressed. That nation has been the subject of much negativity from the world outside its borders for many years but it has a capacity for dynamic change and resilience for which it is hard to find a parallel. Our current woes may have been conceived in the USA but their end can also come about there and my guess is that the optimism prompted by this event could prove the catalyst.

When I found myself in trouble in America (many long stories could follow) the people who went out of their way the most to help me were African Americans. They didn't even know me, but they put themselves in danger to offer me help and I will never forget that. So, when America turns to mush over the historical events that pan out later today, I will be sobbing along. Tomorrow, the upper lip will regain its stiffness but today I'm right there with them: it has been too long coming. What a wonderful day.

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Margaret Atwood

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Palaces and Calluses

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