I'm so ethnocentric. I've been wishing I could get out. I'd love to live in another country, France, New Zealand, Canada even. I need a job though and I'm insufficiently marketable to transplant myself. It really hadn't occurred to me until today that although I know there are a lot of people like me that don't love this country the way they once did, there is an even larger number of people in other countries that might have once dreamed of living in America and now don't.
We have always had our share of simple minded reactionary cowards afraid of change or anything they don't understand, from McCarthy to Haldeman to Rove. Try as I might to see these folks as sincere and good hearted but misguided, I've come more and more to see them as dangerous and threatening. It's simple really, they've never been in power and now they are. They've got their meaty fists wrapped around the steering wheel and they will not listen to the rest of us shouting about the cliff we're headed for.
What started all this is a book a friend asked me to read, The Flight of the Creative Class. Author Richard Florida suggests that the measure of economic success now and in the future will no longer be based on natural resources or military might but instead in the creative power of its people. He talks about the creative flow into the United States that resulted from the rise of Fascism in Germany. Einstein and Oppenheimer came to the US because they were no longer welcome in their country.
For many decades nations sent their best students to American Universities. For the first time in decades the percent of visa refusals is growing as more and more promising students are denied access to the US. The relegation of science to the status of interest group by the Bush administration is having a chilling effect on the interest of the world's best and brightest to make the US their home.