March 17, 2004

ROUND-UP

There's a lot of buzz out there about Spain; I found tons of interesting things via The Best. I don't have the time before work to comment on everything individually, but I recommend that you read all of these:

The Spanish dishonoured their dead by Mark Steyn

an open letter to Jose Blanco by Al Maviva

Subspace Crystal Ball and The Stampede Begins over at The Best. And follow the footnotes.

Annika's posts 1, 2, and 3.

But there is one thing that I want to comment on in depth. Tim pointed out a WaPo article that unfortunately you have to register for, but it's worth the time doing so to read it. It's called Madrid Bombs Shook Voters: Distrust of the Government, Anger at U.S. Fueled Upset. It contains a little anecdote that nearly sent me through the roof:

Many here contend Aznar has adopted a servile stance toward the United States. In contrast, Socialist party leader Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero stressed his independence and willingness to criticize Washington. Many approvingly cited an incident during last October's Columbus Day military parade when Zapatero sat down as the American flag passed by. "It's not my flag," he reportedly said later.

You bastard. That speaks volumes to me about what kind of man Zapatero is. I knew a girl like that in high school, a girl whose family had dual Brazilian-Scottish citizenship but was living in the USA, never intending to become American. Yet they'd gripe and moan about the government, and this girl would talk and be rude during the National Anthem at sporting events. I've never forgotten or forgiven that. You show respect for someone's country during ceremonies, regardless of how you feel. There's a time for public disagreement, and there's a time for ceremony and respect. A Columbus parade is not the proper time for a political figure to point out how much he hates the US.

Here in Germany, we fly the German flag over our post. And at ceremonies, we stand in reverence for the German flag and national anthem. Does it burn me up inside that we have to do this for them when they don't support us in anything except spending our dollars in their economy? Yes, but I stand quietly while their flag is being raised. Because that's good manners and common courtesy.

But if Zapatero thinks he should make a political statement during a public ceremony like that, then I have no respect for him at all.

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