Vail Daily column: Left vs. right, worldwide |

Vail Daily column: Left vs. right, worldwide

Pat Mitchell
Valley Voices

The distance between rich and poor, conservative and democrat, Tory and Labor, right and left, continues. Here in the U.S., both the Constitution and bi-partisan belief has been that the mandate of checks and balances exists, hopefully, to bring all players to the table to settle differences.

The gaps evident today and yesterday with respect to total detente are universal. Germany, France, Britain, Denmark and Sweden are today struggling with ideology as never before. The distance between right and left is greater now, given the consequences attached to unresolved conflict, evident in the refugee crisis.

Angela Merkel, (Clintonesque) admired by many for her compassion, and political will or courage, has ignited a right-wing uproar (Trumpesque). New immigrants, unlike unwelcome weekend house-guests who can drive or fly home, indicate they’re there to stay. Reality rears an inconvenient head as the scale of the problem mushrooms into unmanageable chaos. The left insists it’s the right (correct) thing to do, for now, but wall tirades dominate public and private debate (see: “Trump”).

Syria now has two problems. Assad and the brain-drain, the latter including schoolteachers, dentists, attorneys and IT professionals. Merkel’s welcome was preceded by a PR spin in the German press, espousing the merits of assimilation with a middle-class, educated base. That honeymoon appears to be over, especially in France and Belgium, who struggle with the capacity to determine which citizen will be radicalized next, an issue for the U.S. to ponder.

Denmark and Sweden, the bastions of compassionate democratic socialism, are losing faith in the social welfare state, now that larger numbers are enjoying state-subsidized lifestyles. Self-sufficiency and honor have given way, slowly, to dependency because it’s easier. The newly-elected right has now imposed pre-benefit conditions. Norway has no choice, given the anemic royalty income from the North Sea crude, that hitherto constituted over 10 percent of national income. Disdain for the unemployed and destitute has followed.

Britain, meanwhile, has its own Tory battles with the euro, and retirement inequities. Pension disparity between wealthy and poor retirees is fodder for elitism quarrels in Parliament. Prime Minister Cameron fiddles while his populist base burns. He is for Euro exit, and the reluctant left sees subsequent independence coupling with historically abhorrent self-reliance — not an electable platform for the party.

Chronologically speaking, I feel we are in a conservativesque-need world, where political and ideological sensitivity may need to take a back seat for now. Nobody has even hinted at the possibility that we may, by November, need a wartime president — hence the need for a steady hand. No doubt, candidates’ advisors urge their clients to exemplify this trait when addressing the military — should they wish to remain employed.

Pat Mitchell lives in Edwards.

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