Travel changes a person. This is a fact.
While I was in Ireland last year I met a man staying at my hotel in Killarney, he was a shuttle driver for a group of famous-ish golfers doing some kind of tournament tour throughout the country. He dragged me to a pub across the way for a Guinness, I’d not had one yet on my trip.
We spoke about politics, health care, taxes, and why in the hell everyone seemed so happy, not just in Killarney, but in all the places I’d visited so far.
He told me how happy he was to pay extra taxes, which shocked me a tad, until he explained how much it meant to him to care for people who might need it and that someday when he needed it his taxes would care for him. He explained that his happiness stemmed from living in a community that cares for one another, and that it was important to live in a country that was healthy and educated.
Camera pans around to yesterday, picking up some vape juice( I know.. nasty, but it’s my jam). I love this little locally owned gas station/ vape shop down the road from my house. The woman who works there knows my name, we always take a moment to chat and laugh at life. Yesterday was different, she told me she’s moving soon, to Mexico to live with family. Dang it, I like her. She explained that most days she feels very unsafe, and for the first time in 10 years of becoming a United States citizen, she fears for her life daily. She is receiving death threats by phone at work with the sickening ” go back to Mexico” shtick. People are gross. She’s had a gun held to her head with the insistence that she reveal what nationality she is. She’s had things thrown at her, because of her accent. I am so hurt that this is happening. I am furious, but most of all I am so frustrated that I can’t get the hell out of here.
If I had a dollar for every time I heard ” If you don’t like it leave”, I could have left already, because that’s what it takes, money and resources that most Americans don’t have, not to mention that gaining citizenship elsewhere is a clusterfuck. Here’s a little tidbit I learned recently: when you move to a different country, you’re still obligated to pay U.S taxes. So let’s pretend I move to Ireland, I’m paying higher taxes there, and still paying taxes here, unless of course I renounce my citizenship alltogether, and then am restrictricted from re-entering to see my family. I am in a middle class income bracket, I own a home with a large chunk of equity, but would still find duel taxes restrictive. I would be worse off by leaving, even if I was able to jump through all the hoops, not to mention that my pets would literally be quarantined for up to two years. It’s not so easy to just leave.
I used to love my country, I believed in it, I thought it was the best in the world, but now understand that all of that patriotic propaganda is designed to silence and oppress people. God forbid you speak up for what is right without being deemed anti-american, god forbid you don’t step in line and simply accept the leadership corruption. It’s not new, it’s just undeniable now.
I’m sad about the blatent racism, I’m disgusted with our politicians, I’m furious over our policies, our educational system, our lack of care for nature and human beings, our treatment of native people, our inability to find common ground, I could go on and on..
So yes, Mr. Internet warrior. I do want to leave. I want to feel safe again, I want to sleep again, I want the boulder in my stomach to roll on off…
There’s gotta be a way to escape this shit show.