VISITING New York City for more than a week, one’s ears are filled by the TV news narratives of the US seemingly under siege beyond its borders and within.
An American hostage is beheaded in the Middle East, the third such brutal murder; three American rabbis killed in a Jerusalem synagogue; the Chinese government in a propaganda attack before, during and after the US President’s visit to China. All of the above playing against the tensions in Ferguson, Missouri, where previous and threatened riots regarding police brutality are in play. In politics, elections in early November have resulted in Republican (opposition) victories giving them control of Congress. The new political configuration exacerbates the already tense relationship between the Legislature and the Executive which has been playing out for some time.
Meanwhile the US President has indicated that he might initiate unilateral action on vital matters without consulting Congress. There are two important issues that are bringing the President and Congress on a collision course. The first is the Medical Care Law pushed by the President through Congress and passed after long drawn-out struggle that reached the Supreme Court. It aims to provide medical coverage to a great majority of Americans who at present do not have it. The Republicans will try to dilute it in the next months.
The other is the question of Immigration. No Immigration Law has been passed by the US Congress lately despite the serious and continuing clamor to settle the question of illegal immigration that has been debated in public discourse for some years now.
Rumors are that the President will do something about it on his own. The Republicans are alarmed and threaten to fight back by questioning the constitutionality in the Supreme Court or by paralyzing the government by holding down the budget.
Locally, the New York ebola patient has left the hospital with his health back for which a celebration led by the Mayor took place at Bellevue Hospital (NYC equivalent of PGH). The nurse team involved was present and accounted for, all Asians, looking Filipino.
Otherwise, life goes on in New York and this is the season for Thanksgiving. Culinary shows, grocery ads hyping Thanskgiving ingredients, tight airline reservations are the order of the day.
In the city the Macy’s Thansgiving Parade is on tap for Thanskgiving Day, the biggest digital billboard will light up Times Square some more – all of eight stories tall – that will make it the biggest in the world. You can be sure New York goes for superlatives.
Many new movies are out, all candidates for the Oscar. New York sidewalks are crowded with people – tourists and New Yorkers out to work, to shop, to gawk and to feel the Manhattan air which is at the freezing point.
Time to go home.