And now we have a third inspirational story from little Austria. One day, a few years after the Trapps skedaddled outta there, a young man was born near Graz. His name was Arnold and he worked out every day and went to America and became Governor of California, and one morning he had to make a decision on whether or not to commute the death sentence of a multiple murderer called Tookie Williams. And he decided instead to let Tookie’s execution go ahead.
And back in his old stomping grounds of Graz the politicians went bananas. In the old days, when some local lad made good and became Fuhrer of another state and started killing people, the hometown crowd couldn’t wait to have a big ol’ Anschluss with him. But times change, and contemplating Arnold’s reign of terror his fellow Grazis decided they wanted to disAnschluss themselves from him. Outraged by Tookie’s demise, Social Democratic and Green councilors and MPs immediately took action. Or what passes for “action” in European politics these days.
They demanded that Arnold’s name be removed from the Arnold Schwarzenegger football stadium. They proposed that it should be renamed the Tookie Williams football stadium. They launched moves to strip Arnold of his Austrian citizenship on the grounds that the death penalty is illegal in Europe, which is why a barbaric nation like the United States is ineligible for membership in the EU. (“What a tragedy,” as Americans always say when you point this out to them.)
Hilarious. Now, as to these paragraphs:
Schwarzenegger is no conservative, and has been a disappointing governor. But his letter is magnificent, and the pleasure it affords was only heightened by the hilarious Guardian headline to its report on the “controversy”: “Schwarzenegger Faces ‘Tookie’ Backlash In Austria.”
No, he doesn’t. With one typewritten sheet, he’s ended the whole damn backlash, and usefully offered a good basic template for US-EU relations that recognizes the basic differences between the two: Americans have responsibilities, Europeans have attitudes. Indeed, the EU has attitudes in inverse proportion to its ability to act on them. It’s able to strut and preen on the world stage secure in the knowledge that nobody expects it to do anything about anything. If entire nations want to embrace self-congratulatory, holier-than-thou gesture politics as a way of life, why not give them a hand? The politicians of Graz want Tookie to be a domestic political issue? Now he is, if only for the tourist industry.
One wonders if he might learn something from this, and perhaps apply it to his governorship?