Brilliant red lanterns are hanging

Brilliant red lanterns are hanging everywhere tonight, marking the end of the Spring Festival and celebrating the passing of winter to spring. (I will believe that when I see and feel it. Winter is still alive and well here in Beijing.) Fireworks can be heard going off all over town, and it was a day for dragon dances and celebrations everwhere.

Yesterday was a different holiday, but its effects were no less dramatic than today’s. I’m referring to Valentine’s Day, of course, and I was surprised to see just how seriously the Chinese take this most Western of holidays. Restaurants last night were totally booked, and it was quaint seeing just about everybody walking around after work holding either a bouquet of flowers or a single plastic-wrapped red rose. I had no idea the Chinese celebrated Valentine’s Day, and I suspect that of all the Western holidays this is the one that is closest to their hearts.

I am so out of touch with America right now. I see the various Web pundits pounding away, either aggressively in favor of war with Iraq or dead-set against it, and I wish I could experience for myself what the political climate back home feels like. (The latest news blackout here in China isn’t helping any.) I’ve always been conflicted, more than with any other issue, because I do not like our president but I can’t help but wonder whether the liberation of Iraq could be a step toward transforming the Middle East into a kinder, gentler place (to use his father’s words). And yet, now I am reading in fairly moderate zines like Slate of Powell’s “cynical backflips.” Who knows what to think, what to believe? I’ve gone back and forth at times, but am now leaning against the notion of any war in Iraq; it probably would not be liberating and instead would lead to lots of bloodshed. being truly liberating.

What I do know — and pardon me for being redundant on this point — is that had Bush been a kinder, gentler leader pre-911 he wouldn’t be facing this unprecedented vacuum of support today. You really do reap what you sow. After proclaiming America was going to go its own way and to hell with past agreements, how could Bush expect the world to suddenly see him as a team leader and coalition builder? And still, Andrew Sullivan and Instapundit are baffled that the American public, let alone the rest of the world, hasn’t fallen into lockstep with George W. & Co.

The Discussion: No Comments

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.