Roger L. Simon

Back in the USA: President Obama, let my people go

I arrived home yesterday afternoon… well, part way; we’re stopping in New York on the way to LA to spend a day at the US Open… and was immediately struck with the obvious – how different the energy of this country is from Europe. Of course, it’s New York – the world’s capital of the go-getter, with the possible exception of such redoubts as Tokyo, Hong Kong and Seoul – but still this is a country on Red Bull. Europe is a continent on red wine. The red wine is great, for sure, especially in Paris, the last city we visited, the most extraordinary example of urban planning ever, heartbreakingly beautiful, as we all know. And the food – the next time you are there, do not miss l’Ami Jean, the Basque place near the Tour Eiffel. Not cheap, but worth every penny.

America, however, is not about the food or even about the tall buildings or great vistas, purple mountains, etc. It’s about the people, the unbelievably energetic citizens of this country, the ones who built all this. Many of them came from Old Europe, a self-selection of the best and bravest of their DNA, the risk-takers bent on starting a new life. And yet, tragically, Old Europe appears to be steaming ahead of us now, moving out of the recession sooner than we are. Merkel and Sarkozy were smart enough not to opt for the seductions of Obama’s “stimulus,” as if Barack were the hidebound European and they the Americans eager to let their people get on with it. And, as we also know, it is the people, and only the people, who can achieve greatness and create progress. Yet, the Americans are still here. You can see them all on the streets of New York rearing to go. President Obama, let my people go. If you do, we will forgive you everything else and watch your poll numbers rise again.