The United States of America is a great country.
I have lived there three times in my life for long periods and my stays, especially the first, twenty years ago, changed my perception not only of that nation but of this one, ours.
Sometimes getting away allows us to better contemplate the place from which we started because it is true that trees often do not allow us to see the forest. When we put sea or land in between is when we can truly calibrate what we have left. That is when nostalgia usually arises, which must always be stopped because when it embraces us, it tends to make it so strong and so strong that it can even take our breath away. We must never falter in his arms even when, instead of embracing us, he invites us to dance because he loves to make us dance waltzes of defeat.
I left with the lesson learned. I missed the essential, which was enough and I realized that the inferiority complex with which we usually carry the Spaniards, was just that, inferiority complex, because ours is a great country, modern, advanced and cosmopolitan. In that last, much more than the United States. As much as in New York or Chicago, my favorite city, you can cross the street with people from any part of the globe, Americans, in general, are not cosmopolitan, quite the opposite. They usually have no interest in seeing the world or knowing other cultures or other countries. Yours seems the best. If we leave aside the inhabitants of the big cities, much more open, the Americans who live in small isolated towns – and there are many, the deep America is equally very extensive – have enough to look at their navels and recite Trump’s mantras: ” first, America “,” America for the Americans “.
The lack of curiosity about what is foreign, the lack of interest in “knowing if the Turk goes down” or stays still, that wrote the classic in the sixteenth century, seems to me a national American characteristic that I do not admire at all. Quite the opposite. This is what brought us Trump’s misfortune, that kind of plague rained from an unhappy sky, similar to the one that Brexit brought to England.
There is, however, another America, which has so often come in support of Europe
the one that saved us in the last war, the one that defends democracy and watches over the separation of powers and accepts the mandates of its courts of justice. The America that, until very recently, has endowed its universities to be leading and research has prevailed. The America that allowed Obama, black and not exactly rich, to become president. This is my America, whom I love, whom I long for and where from time to time I’m dying to return. The America that made it possible for Carmen Martín Gaite, Ana Maria Matute, Montserrat Roig, Rosa Montero, Soledad Puértolas, Laura Freixas and many other authors to sign this, we could not only write some of our novels with the necessary tranquility, but also that our books had diffusion. The publications of various American professors – Geraldine Nichols, Mirella Servodidio, Roberta Johnson, Maryellen Bieder, Joan Brown, etc., the list is long and I fall short – were pioneers in studying us.
My America is a country in which one can practice criticism without fear of vetoes.
The big newspapers do it on a daily basis against Trump and he did it last September, although the news has come to us now, Nancy Spector, chief curator of the Guggenheim Museum in New York when she denied the White House loan of the painting Landscape with snow ( 1888) of Van Gogh because he had it committed to the homonymous museum, the magnificent Guggenheim of Bilbao, where he had to travel to be exposed. Instead, he offered the contemplation and enjoyment of a gold toilet, the work of the iconoclast Maurizio Cattelan, for the use of the presidential family, which would be accompanied by an instruction manual, quite unnecessary, on the other hand. Apparently the ease of performance and the proper functioning of the sanitary piece had been proven. Before Mister President and his beautiful wife, the First Lady deigned to settle their privileged backside on the toilet, it had already done a hundred thousand Americans on foot, since the work, baptized with the ironic name of America, was exposed in the museum with that practical intention.
I honestly can not imagine the director of the Prado or the Reina Sofía or the Guggenheim of Bilbao or the Museu Nacional d’Art Catalunya offering the President of the Government or the president of Basque or Catalan autonomy a similar work for more than a few I deserved it. No doubt here, in Madrid, Bilbao or Barcelona would have played it. It is possible that they were not immediately dismissed, but over time that disrespect to the powerful shift would have taken their toll. In the United States that is much less likely to happen. Something that speaks in favor of that country that I like so much, despite his current and ridiculous Mister President and the court that surrounds him.