Sunday, July 02, 2006

Exciting Times

We are living in exciting times, least of which is not the soccer World Cup. Surely there have been some major upsets, such as all the favorite Latin American teams having been eliminated by the semi-finals, but there has been some wonderful playing by countries such as Portugal, not normally associated with the world’s top contenders. To our surprise, little Ghana managed to kick the mighty U.S. out of the games early on. Now we have four European Union members facing each other; they also all happen to be in the euro (€) monetary union, which some other, now eliminated, contenders (U.K., Switzerland, Sweden, Ukraine) are not. Is this perhaps symbolic of something? My daughter Anna and I are the soccer fanatics in the family and both of us prefer watching the games on Univision: the coverage is so much more intense and lively than on ESPN, and it is also good for our language skills. I feel sorry for Argentina’s goalie who was injured and replaced: had this not been the case, the outcome of the deciding game’s penalty kicks easily would have been different, in spite of Germany’s home field advantage. It was also surreal to watch England play Portugal and have the largely British spectators sings ‘God Save the Queen’ anytime their team had the ball and were advancing, or to have a plea for audience members to refrain from racial remarks before the Brazil-France match.

Today is another exciting day as Mexico holds elections. The presidential race will likely be a close one. I like to play with words and think that it would be interesting if an ‘Obrador Retriever’ would follow a ‘Fox’ in office, in true canine fashion. In spite of a large portion of Texans not knowing what foreign country is below their southern border, the development in Mexico is extremely important to the United States. Whoever will be the winner, he and the newly elected parliament will face enormous difficulties with widespread corruption, poverty and the volatile situation in the south. But Mexico also has tremendous potential and should be of great importance to us as of the two neighbors it is by far the more populous. Any solution to our illegal immigrant problem will have to have equal support of both governments, otherwise it will be totally ineffective.

There is excitement on the home front, too. July 4th is promising to be a beautiful day and we can enjoy the Lake Union fireworks right from our sundeck. Anna will be traveling to Guadalajara later this month to study in the university there for five weeks. Needless to say my daughter is as thrilled as can be about the opportunity. All of us here also have a strong feeling that something else incredible is about to take place, even though we don’t know what it will be. Positive thoughts are great and hope for a better world is priceless. If we only could undo our mess in Iraq, or at least bring our men and women home before more of them are killed or maimed. But let us forget about unpleasant realities for a little while and enjoy all the excitement in the air.

Happy Independence Day to you all! No matter how hard some powers try to block it, freedom of choice and liberty will prevail.