Dear All Americans,
My name is Arve, a 45 year-old Norwegian from the city of Bergen. I have always been fascinated and excited by the Promised Land known as America. When I grew up as a young boy in the 80’s, my many American heroes included Don Johnson from the crime drama Miami Vice, singer Debbie Gibson, the track and field athlete Carl Lewis, and of course the one and only Sylvester Stallone portraying Rocky Balboa and Rambo.
While I started to love the US from an early age, I also learned to fear the Eastern neighboor of Norway known today as Russia. Though in the 80’s the name was the Soviet Union. During the cold war, many Norwegians (like my family) were afraid of the russians, and I will never forget what happended in the early days of 1984: Suddenly a Norwegian official named Arne Treholt was arrested, suspected of espionage on behalf of the Soviet Union, as well as Iraq (he was later found guilty).
Vienna August 20, 1983: Arne Treholt and the russians Gennadij Titov and Aleksandr Lopatin. Photo: Politiets Overvåkingstjeneste (POT) / NTB scanpix
When that happened, I was only 8-9 years old, but I still remember today my father’s reaction: “He (Arne Treholt) deserves the death penalty”! my father said when the horrifying news broke in January 1984. These words made a huge impact on a young boy like me, partly because my father would usually not utter such words.
In any case, the destruction of the Berlin wall in 1989 put the world on a much more optimistic path that also led to the culmination of the cold war.
West Germans scale the Berlin Wall before East German guards as the Cold War barrier came down in November 1989. Photograph by Hesse, ullstein bild/Getty
Now the leader of Russia was suddenly an “innocent” drunk known as Boris Jeltsin, and I was in those magical twenties where it seems like anything is possible. At the end of this great decade known as the 90’s, I had the honour of visiting the US for the first time in my life. It happened in december 1999, when I was about to finish my master’s degree in space physics. As part of my studies, I went to San Francisco to join the AGU Fall Meeting that year, meaning I would finally experience the US. The trip was truly great, and I was definitely hooked on this fabolous country! Great people of course, as well as so many exciting things to experience!
During the coming years, when I started on a PhD in space physics, my relations to the US grew stronger. I visited the country on numerous occassions due to scientific conferences, and in 2002 I stayed half a year in Boulder, Colorado, working at the High Altitude Observatory. During that stay, I made American friends for life! Also, I will never forget the horrific Tuesday on September 11, 2001. I was in Bergen, Norway, on that date. Just before I left my office in the afternoon that day, I had read about a plane crashing into the World Trade Center. As I was trying to leave the Campus, someone told me about a second crash. So I went back, and ten minutes later we all had gathered in the lunch room, wathing those horrible scenes on tv.
After finishing my PhD in 2005, I got the opportunity to work a few years as a post.doc in space physics at the Florida Space Institute, at the NASA Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, Florida. During these years my love for America grew even stronger, and I guess that’s one of the reasons why I am so worried today about the future of this great nation.
I am deeply worried because you have a President who loves Russia much more than democracy. And just to be clear: Russia is no longer led by a drunk named Jeltsin. The leader of Russia is Vladimir Putin, and he is a former KGB agent! He is smart, he is ruthless, and he knows what he is doing! He wants to get rid of democracy in the world, and he wants to create chaos. So far, it looks like he is succeeding. President Trump breaks every norm in the US, while the UK leaves EU. Probably all according to Putin’s long-term plans.
Also, I am deeply worried because the US now has a President who lies 24-7. The same goes for the President’s allies and his supporters. It’s indeed a very sad situation.
Last weekend, we learned about the tragic death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. According to several media reports, her replacement may be Amy Coney Barrett, and this may disrupt abortion laws in the US, Obamacare, and LGBTQ rights. News like this makes me even more worried than ever before.
Therefore, on behalf of most Norwegians and most of the world, I would like to say the following:
Please – good friends in the US – make sure to elect Joe Biden as your 46th President! As Biden often says, the Presidential election in 2020 may be seen as a fight for the soul of your great nation.
Also: Make sure that you keep Obamacare and abortion rights! Let people marry those they love! Join the climate fight. Get rid of corruption on all levels of the society.
Regards, the world!