So last summer, after a long and austere family plan, we travelled to New York for holidays. I grabbed the kids and the wife and off we went to fulfil a lifelong dream, to explore iconic Manhattan.
I don’t know if Woody Allen had anything to do with it. As a movie buff and huge fan of the legendary actor-director, I came to fall in love with the Big Apple just by seeing it through his lens. Over the years, his films, many of them love letters to New York, kind of crept under my skin. I was hooked, he was right. Or at least that’s how my soar-from-not-blinking eyes absorbed everything.
The Statue of Liberty at arm’s length, Brooklyn Bridge, The One Tower observatory, the yellow cabs, the Empire State, the Hudson River, the eye-popping MOMA and The Met with their glorious masterpieces, of course, the Central Park which we visited over and over again just to keep the vibe going, and the sporadic excursion outside the centre in areas like Brooklyn (yes we passed through Williamsburg, the hub of the Hasidic community, shame on you if you missed the Netflix series) and Coney Island with its boardwalk and long sandy beachfront, this was not just another family holiday.
Reflecting Times Square, Manhattan and greater New York is the definition of a melting pot, where all races, colours and creeds mix to create a buzzing beehive that oddly works like a Swiss clock with its cuckoo(s) and all.
“Oh! That’s where Woody sat in that film! Wow, those are the steps from the scene from Ghostbusters! That’s Robert de Niro’s house…” As you can imagine I drove my kids crazy but I do enjoy letting the child out of me every once in a while. Although, in the whole experience, there was something that kept me awake at night, and it wasn’t the skyscraper skyline. Beneath the surface of this great big country, I discovered a monster, not unlike Godzilla who attacked New York in the 1998 version of the movie. Not that I didn’t get a whiff of what’s been happening in the States since that lunatic, Trump, took office, but I kinda thought that the bullshit would have subsided by now, to a degree at least.
Nope, from what I gathered just by watching the evening news channels in my Wall Street hotel – especially those wackos on FOX – the situation has only gotten worse. Much, much worse. Apparently, Trump didn’t just win the Republican vote. He highjacked the whole party drawing the white Christian far-right to the forefront, giving them a stage to ruin everything that we, the outsiders admired about America.
The former… normal GOPs are going home one by one and being replaced by MAGA extremists with a dangerous agenda: To turn the US into a theocratic state for God’s sake, not unlike its archenemy Iran, just under a different cloak.
The repercussions are dire. In Republican-governed States, they are banning schoolbooks that don’t fit into their narrative, like oh, you know, the evil evolution that according to science began four and a half billion years ago on earth, but for them our planet is eight thousand years old because the Bible says so. Go figure. And it doesn’t stop there. They are prohibiting women from controlling their own bodies, they are introducing new books written by religious fundamentalists, they are protecting the super-rich and their wealth but don’t care less for the poor or the middle class for that matter, they are ok with winning the support of white supremacist groups, they do not allow gun controls even if their own children would get shot from a nutcase who bought a gun at a mall without a background check because the NRA (National Rifle Association) has them in its pocket, they change the narrative of slavery because suddenly what happened to the blacks is… good for them, and so on and so forth.
And while this is happening on the (extreme) right, the left (which by the way is more right from most of the right-wing parties in Europe) has gone in a totally different direction, wokeness. You know, political correctness with a hard spin. Cancelling even comedians for making jokes about issues they ehm… prioritise in their agenda. Still, most sane people would rather side with them rather than be led by a hillbilly cult with Mr. Orange for a second term.
So, my fellow Americans. Wtf is going on? When did you lose balance? Who is left in the middle with a head on his/her shoulder? Is there a voice of reason left to take over the country before – and this is not a joke – a civil war breaks out and America collapses, leaving the rest of the world plunged into wars claiming the void left by a dying superpower, which was at least part of the free world and not some jihadist extremist power, or soviet style dictatorship, either of which will – mark my words – become the new kid in town marking the end of us all. And now with the war in Israel, things have only gotten worse. Officially the GOP (Republican Party) supports Israel while under its umbrella is the most Antisemitic fraction of society. The wokes are sort of split but most support the Palestinians. In a country where the answers to the most basic geography questions will leave you in stitches.
So, the mess has gotten bigger with what seems to be a new free fall for the last (so-called) free superpower. Get a grip US. What’s wrong with you?