by Nancy Werking Poling
Looking at me, a short older woman with curly hair and red glasses, you probably wouldn’t guess that I’m dangerous.
For one thing I like Europe. I like its efficient transportation systems with comfortable express trains crisscrossing the continent. Less pollution, less hassle.
And there’s the Continent’s medical system. In Great Britain the clinic charged nothing to treat my shingles. When I came down with a strep infection in Poland, the doctor apologized for charging me the equivalent of thirteen dollars, my not being a European and all. A friend tells of having spent three days in a Swedish hospital and getting excellent care for $7000. (A three-day stay in an L.A. hospital cost my insurance company over $20,000 for a wrong diagnosis, and that didn’t include doctor fees.)
I guess I should have tried harder to find evidence that Europeans lack the freedoms I enjoy. Yes, our Dutch and German friends pay higher taxes and their homes are smaller, but I came away envying their quality of life.
I’ve been hearing on TV that my fondness for Things European means I’m a socialist. And that makes me a danger to America.
Of course the fact that I’ve been to Europe puts me among The Elite. I’ve been hearing on TV that The Elite think they’re superior to other people and better qualified to run their lives. I’m not sure what people I’m supposed to think I’m superior to, only that I’m a danger to America.
The nature of my worries also poses a threat. I’m concerned about people who work hard for low wages and can’t pay their heating bill, can’t afford a reliable car to get them to work. I want government to issue food stamps and extend unemployment benefits to help my neighbors get through these hard economic times.
Such an opinion promotes class warfare, I’ve heard on TV. And that makes me a danger to America.
I worry about the water, the food, the air my grandchildren breathe. I want someone, an expert, to monitor these things. I want the power plants whose emissions pass over head not to contain mercury or other harmful gases.
I worry about the mountains surrounding the town where I live. I should be content to let business have free rein over exploiting the coal and timber. But no, I want resources removed responsibly so the mountains’ beauty will remain for future generations.
My appreciation for Europe; a desire for government to help people during hard times; a wish for assurance that the air, the water, the mountains are protected from pollution and exploitation.
All that, I hear, makes me a danger to America.
Nancy Werking Poling is author of Had Eve Come First and Jonah Been a Woman and Out of the Pumpkin Shell, both available where books are sold.