Monday, May 07, 2007

New Hope in Europe

Friend of America and Israel Prevails in France
Conservative Nicolas Sarkozy

When was the last time you heard good news coming out of France? I couldn't remember back that far either. However, that has changed with the recent election of Nicolas Sarkozy as President.

Sarkozy defeated Socialist Segolene Royal, who would of been the first female President of France if she was victorious. Royal ran on a very anti-America and anti-President Bush platform. As she began falling farther back in the polls, she resorted to desperate scare tactics, claiming if her opponent won, there would be rioting in the streets. After conceding defeat, a few hundred protesters did take to the street, throwing stones at the police.

During his campaign, Sarkozy embraced the idea of strong relations with the United States even though he has a different opinion than the White House regarding the war in Iraq as well as permitting Turkey into the European Union. Sarkozy came to the United States last September, which coincided with the anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks. He spoke with firefighters in New York as well as business leaders on Wall Street. While in Washington he was invited to the White House to meet President Bush. Unconfirmed reports say he and Bush got along extremely well.

The new President of France will certainly alienate an already hostile Muslim population with his approach toward the Middle East. “He is a friend of Israel,” said former Israeli ambassador to France, Avi Pazner. With anti-Semitism growing at pre-WWII levels in Europe, the idea of a friend of the Jews in Paris couldn't come at a more appropriate time.

Paulies Point hopes to soon drop it's boycott of France even though my wife and I do prefer wines from California and Australia. I hope to once again say French Toast instead of American Toast as well as French Fries instead of Freedom Fries.

Mazel Tov President Nicolas Sarkozy

In Case You Forgot
Reasons to love America

Can you picture the Dalai Lama being granted access to speak to a crowd of thousands in the Arab world or China? I didn't think so. Can you picture a Mexican immigrant flocking to Iran to find a better life for his family and start his own business? Of course not. What about a former policeman in the Republic of Georgia leaving his profession and country to become a pizza delivery man in Venezuela? Not going to happen.

Over the weekend, I was privileged to encounter the above mentioned people either directly or indirectly reminding me why the United States is the greatest country in the world.

Enrique is a waiter at a local establishment that my family and I frequent on weekends. This past Saturday he and I were simply shooting the breeze when he brought up to me the fact that he only works at the restaurant on weekends. I asked him what he did during the week and pulled out a business card for the landscaping business he owns. This husband and father of Hispanic descent came to the United States, learned the language and is embracing the American dream to give his children a better life.

While working at my full time job (911 dispatcher) this past Saturday evening, our shift ordered multiple pizzas from a business in the next town over. When the driver arrived he was adamant that we do not give him a tip. This was not the first time this occurred with this same driver.

I decided to press the man who spoke limited English and he told me that he could not take money from the police since he was a cop in the Republic of Georgia for nearly twenty years. I responded by telling him that was more of a reason to accept a tip from fellow cops. Nevertheless he was obviously proud of his career in law enforcement and would not feel right about taking money from his peers.

Nobody knows why he left his home country, which has been an independent nation since 1991. Many of his fellow countrymen have immigrated to the United States over the past fifteen years and settled in the Chicago area. One can only assume that this one time police officer believed that a better life awaited him in the United States even if it meant turning in his badge in for a pizza warming case.

He is the spiritual leader of millions of people around the world and this weekend Tenzin Gyatso better known as the Dalai Lama, was in Chicago to address a crowd of thousands in Millennium Park. I have always admired the Dalai Lama who I believe truly embodies everything decent about humanity and spirituality. No I am not a Buddhist, I am a very proud Jew, but anyone who practices Judaism or Christianity should appreciate the peaceful philosophies of Buddhism. When Christians ask, "what would Jesus do," the answer can be found by asking the Dalai Llama the same question.

After reading about the Lama's trip to the United States, I was reminded of the importance of freedom of religion. Muslim countries or communist nations would never permit a spiritual leader such as Gyatso to address their citizens. Can you imagine Iran or Al Qaida giving him a platform without torchering and murdering him afterwards?

Thank you Dalai Lama for making sure I don't take my freedom of religion for granted. Thank you for being a great ambassador of peace for all humanity.

Thank you God for allowing me to raise my children in the greatest country in the world and for granting others the opportunity to come to this great nation and do the same.



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