April 12, 2004


I met an American tonight.

I saw trouble coming a mile away during my German class while we were going over discussion questions for the genitive case. Question #8 was Wer ist der populärste Politiker Ihres Landes? (Who is your country's most popular politician?) Of course the Conflicted Reservist was first to insist that it is Kerry, bringing up the "fact" that Kerry is a Vietnam hero and Bush was AWOL. And then an amazing thing happened.

There's a woman in our class from Italy. I believe she's married to a soldier, so I'm sure she's legally an American, but she proved herself a grokker tonight. She put the Reservist in his place faster than I could bat an eye. She turned to him and rattled off facts about Kerry's Vietnam record -- his Purple Hearts, his relationship with Fonda, his throwing away "his" medals -- that brought a look of utter confusion to the Reservist's face. It was immediately apparent that for all his grandstanding and prattling on and on about Kerry, he actually knows nothing of Kerry's background. Another soldier listened to my classmate's rant in disbelief; "no way" was the expression used.

I learned two things from that exchange tonight: I'm not as alone as I sometimes feel, and most people don't know the first thing about current events.

And that Italian woman is now my favorite classmate. As she turned back to her German worksheets in disgust, she said, "You need to do some research before you start talking."

Posted by Sarah at April 12, 2004 10:34 PM

Sounds like she'd be a good addition to our Friday night meetings!

Posted by: Oda Mae at April 12, 2004 11:04 PM

I would have paid good money to see the look on his face after she was finished with him :)!

I'd bet that after class - quite a few people were using the good ol' internet to find out some facts about sKerry (as Boortz calls him ha!).

Posted by: Shannon at April 13, 2004 12:17 AM

Right on Sarah. Give that woman an A+ !

Posted by: david at April 13, 2004 02:13 PM

Italians - of a certain stripe, at least - are among the Europeans most likely to understand the often extreme partisanship of US politics.

In a certain light, Berlusconi is Bush - the center-right patriot, self-made businessman, derided by his opponents as an idiot, adored by his supporters for his plain talking and man of the people credentials.

The Kerry figure would have to be Prodi - the EU-phile, unashamed of embarrassing his country for short-term political gain, with a shady and opportunistic past, and happy to mouth platitudes and present an innocuous public face.

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