PHILADELPHIA – The summer before last, my family spent two weeks investigating Norway and I can say with some certainty that we do not want more Norwegians coming to the United States.
For starters, they are just too darned good-looking. The middle-aged hostesses on our Norwegian airlines were more beautiful than Scarlett Johansson. No one there has any detectable body fat, so they look good in whatever they wear. Even the Norwegians who appear to have come from what President Donald Trump recently referred to as "s—hole countries" look great, and the biracial young people we saw working in museums, stores and cafes were stunning. I mean, even more beautiful than anyone on the Philadelphia City Council.
Letting in too many gorgeous people will damage our already-rocky self-esteem and we'll have to listen to more Oprahs and Dr. Phils telling us how to deal with it. Norwegians, by the way, deal with it by vacationing in Greece.
Secondly, they apparently know how to run a country. Not only do they have universal health care, six-week vacations and an excellent school system, their public transportation is superb. Their cities and towns are amazingly clean, though it's true that, as tourists, we didn't hang out a lot on the gritty side of the tracks. I was secretly glad to see, however, that the walls along the tracks we traveled were lined with subpar graffiti. Made me feel at home.
I know, I know. It's a small country (only 5.26 million beautiful people) and if they let French people in, as Philadelphia used to do, or others from more southerly countries, the place would probably go to heck. There are other downsides. They didn't seem to have much by way of an Americans With Disabilities Act. There's a step up from the platform to their modern train cars, and there are no ramps. Instead, when an elderly lady couldn't manage it, random Norwegians on the platform stepped in and gently picked her up by her elbows and helped her get situated in the car with her baggage. While that method warmed my inner libertarian, I'm not sure it would work on Philadelphia's mass-transit system.
Another downside was that Norway is brimming with Teslas. We were told that their purchase was subsidized. There were electric charging stations all over the place. Really, it doesn't speak well of a country to be assisting Elon Musk in any possible way. Still that's the kind of thing they do to keep their carbon footprint down.
One other reason President Trump might reconsider his sudden Norwegian enthusiasm is that immigrants from Norway, and nearby countries like it, have come here and produced female editorial cartoonists! I'm one-quarter Norwegian blood. Ann Telnaes, the most brilliant and most caustic Trump caricaturist, is of Swedish stock and Jen Sorensen, whose drawing pen is a Viking spear, descends from Denmarkians.
Still, in an effort to get on the president's team, I invited my tall, svelte, handsome Norwegian cartooning colleague, Roar Hagan and his tall, svelte, beautiful wife, to move to America. His response was, "I love America and Americans. But life here is, except the climate, quite good."
So, Mr. President, if you really want more Norskies, all you have to do is guarantee free universal health care, decent vacations, environmentally friendly transportation and great schools that teach everyone how to speak, write and read English better than we do. That would, indeed, improve our country.
Signe Wilkinson is a Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist for The Philadelphia Inquirer whose work is syndicated by The Washington Post Writers Group.
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