Was Gore Vidal right?

More than once I’ve questioned whether I made the right decision to leave my former home in 2002. It was so dramatic, moving permanantly from America to Europe; sailing across the Atlantic on our sailboat, and shipping all the contents of our home in a container that would meet us months later in Rome.

I do miss my accent and I did leave family, friends, not to mention all that security. It felt like financial and job opportunities dried up after relocating to Europe. Now that we live in a remote work world, perhaps it would’ve been different. But we all know it’s delusional to assume you’re safe and everything will work out just fine. It’s a great state of mind to rely on when times get tough and they did.

However, this recent news regarding the Supreme Court does impact the financial security of women living in the US. Gore Vidal said the place was going back to stone age and he said this decades ago – strong words, indeed. There’s a reason Gore Vidal 4 favorite words were, “I told you so.”

We now know what we’ve suspected for some time; Roe will be overturned.

We’re shocked but not really. When I left I knew the States in 2002 I was well aware of what I was leaving behind; beyond the family, friends and security. And ya know what, I really had grown up in a world that felt free; getting on the airplane 10 minutes before departing when I was a young teen, flying back and forth from Seattle to California for years. Starting companies in my 20’s and 30’s, no problem. And yes, I had an abortion before I met my future husband, a difficult decision, but it would not become my financial problem. It was my choice. I made it and continue to live with that decision today.

The Supreme Court, will, for the first time, take a major right and snatch it right outta the hands of American women. Yet it cannot be denied, there was menace in the air. This is precisely why Vidal said, “America is going back to the stone age.” Rights and freedoms were disappearing like dust. Vidal talked about the Bill of Rights constantly. Not enough people were listening, back then.

How could I forget watching Gore v Bush. We bought the first flat screen TV on the market in 1999. It was so lovely, framed in dove gray, so tasteful, discreet and expensive, displayed across one of our walls on our houseboat in Seattle. It did not dare compete with the water outside but it was huge, as was the Supreme Court’s decision to choose the next president. Watching wars in the Middle East on CNN were like watching a movie. I remember Brian Williams saying how beautiful those bombs looked. I remember Wolf Blitzer saying they had to continue making and selling all those bombs because it employed so many people. You must think of the people! Our people.

Nearby, where I live now, on Lake Garda, the Italian Constitution is displayed on a wall, stating what the people believe in. A couple of items really stand out for me, personally.

All citizens have equal social dignity and are equal before the law, without
distinction of sex, race, language, religion, political opinion, personal and
social condition

Italy rejects war as an instrument of aggression against the freedom of other
peoples and as a means for the settlement of international disputes. Italy
agrees, on conditions of equality with other States, to the limitations of
sovereignty that may be necessary to a world order ensuring peace and justice
among the Nations. Italy promotes and encourages international organisations
furthering such ends.

I no longer wonder if I made the right decision to leave N. America. Italy is the right place for me. They don’t want war, they believe in peace. They don’t want to tell other people what to do because they remember history. It lives and breathes, safely ensconced, alongside the present.

Published by baileyalexander

An American living in Piemonte. Sailed across the Atlantic aboard our 43 Nauticat in 2002 and spent over a decade living in Rome, Paris, Prague, Malta, Venice and Bucharest before settling in Piemonte, Italia.

One thought on “Was Gore Vidal right?

  1. Moving words, and a very difficult crosssroads… la patria lives in your heart, shaped you and made you what you are today… much as it did Gore Vidal, in whose footsteps you follow, coming to live in Italy.

    We owe much to the United States, whose Founding Fathers had the foresight to create the world’s first modern Constitution. It was not so much the words and enumerated Rights themselves… it was the Idea that the values of a nation could be declared and embodied in a document that set forth the powers and limitations of the government, which in fact was created primarily to defend those enumerated Rights.

    All Constitutions since 1791 owe their genesis to the American Constitution, including the Italian one.

    While the American Constitution isn’t perfect, it clearly lays out the path needed to enshrine additional fundamental values can be placed under It’s protection. America fought a bloody war to enshrine the 13th Amendment, ending slavery, and the 19th giving women the right to vote was also a struggle. Prohibition and its repeal show that sometimes the process makes mistakes and needs to be corrected.

    In the issue of abortion in the United States, the fundamental right of a woman to choose how to control her body has found a vocal minority opposition. It needs and deserves to be enshrined and explicitly protected in the Constitution. Yet there is a difference between convincing a Supreme Court that these rights are already there somewhere, and passing an actual Amendment stating them clearly. It turns what is an Opinion of the Supreme Court into an actual inviolable Right. It is not for the Supreme Court to decide what is in the Constitution; it is their job to uphold what is already there, and has been put there by the People in the Constitutional Amendment process.

    I fear dark times are ahead in the United States. They seem to be afflicted with the authoritarian disease; the overwhelming compulsion to tell others what to do, and threaten violence for non-compliance. This disease is spreading, from foreign policy and war-mongering, now to threatening their own women and their health to force them to bend to the will of a minority. They need to get back to the original principles and spirit that inspired the US Constitution; that People have inalienable Rights, and that to protect them, governments are formed and derive their powers from the consent of the People.

    Until those storm clouds pass, and they will, nothing lasts forever (except Rome), welcome to Italy. You will not find Italy afflicted by the same demons… we learned our lessons from our history, and enshrined OUR fundamental rights and values in our Constitution. Now we focus on making good wine, good food, good art and beauty.

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