Tag Archive: expat

State of the Union

Well, I hate to say I told you so. But Trump has indeed become president. We’ve all had a little over a year to process it. A very long year.

Many of the more affluent Democrats we know did not even think this would be a possibility under any circumstances but were absolutely certain Clinton would win. My husband and I, however, could not help but notice the sea of Trump signs once you venture outside of mostly liberal outline of the city of Columbus, Ohio. Universe help us all.

What to even say about the state of the union? It’s fucked.

The US media will lead you to believe that Bernie, or Jill Stein, or the poor, or even trans people, are to blame for Trump’s win. None of those explanations, of course, make any goddamn sense. (Especially that last one from Colin Jost, the asshole we all want to see punched more on SNL.) I’m pretty sure you can go ahead and blame middle and upper class white people. Or alternately, a completely broken political system that is beyond compromised and who the fuck knows who actually wins anymore? Clinton wrote a lucrative book blaming her loss on a quite silly laundry list that includes everything except herself and her lack of moral fibre. I voted for Stein because I have a conscience and because both Trump and Clinton (who are good friends) are horrible pieces of shit that should not be in charge of anything, let alone a country. I’m not sorry. I’m only sorry that the Democrats in power did everything they could to shove Clinton down our throats when Bernie would have defeated Trump. That is the lesson they should take from this but never will.

We could be living in a world where Bernie Sanders is president of the United States. But we don’t. The nicest thing that I can say about this country is that there are still some places left in the world that are worse. I am very sorry for the people in those places. Meanwhile, most of the people here think if things are going well for them personally, then everything is fine in the world.

In my little world, my husband is out of town on business and I managed to put my back out a few hours after he left. Not sure what I did but moving at caused me searing pain and getting up was next to impossible but I managed a couple times to take care of the animals. I couldn’t sleep the first night and started having hallucinations of smoke coming out of the walls. I’ve been in bed for three days and can now get up without wanting to scream so yay for that. Still taking it easy and thankful to be healing.

Last night I was watching Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is on Netflix and it occurred to me while watching John Cameron walk around a “car boot sale” (outdoor flea market) that this guy gets to go around being British all day long and that seems terribly unfair.

Yes, it is beyond time that I emigrated from this insane country.

On a positive note, my Italian citizenship was finalized last year. On a not-so-positive note, they will not issue me a passport yet because I have to legally change my gender in Italy–a process I have already gone through once in this country. This involves paying an Italian lawyer 500 € (approx. $620 as of this writing) and hoping for the best, as far as I can tell. So that’s on my to do list. After we’ve been married three years my husband will become an Italian citizen also. Then we plan to escape this country for the EU.

If you want to accuse me of being unpatriotic I can’t deny it. There is no love at all for this country in my heart. I have also been accused of not “supporting our troops.” That’s not true–I support their right to lay down their weapons without becoming criminals. I support their right to release information about government misdeeds to the public. I support their right to know the real reasons for wars, for why they are being used as fodder. I support their right not to be tossed away when their service is over. I believe that most people who served/are serving in the military have the best intentions and believe they are doing the right thing, sacrificing for what they are led to believe is a greater cause. My beloved late Italian grandfather fought in WWII and I am very proud of his bravery.

There is talk of Oprah running for president in 2020. Although I don’t agree with her on every point, I would consider voting for her. There have been a few nasty articles bouncing around on social media, saying she is not fit to run because she is a celebrity.

Nonsense.

First of all, it’s insulting to call Oprah merely a celebrity– she is an astute businesswoman who built her fortune from nothing. A background in business is perfectly suitable for the job of president, especially one as esteemed as Oprah’s. Please, puh-lease don’t bring up Trump here– the Mad Tweeter is a TERRIBLE businessman who only excels at bringing attention to himself. He runs his businesses like a crazy narcissist and that is exactly how is running this country now, surprising not me. He was already rich from birth and would be richer if he had just put his dad’s money in an index fund for all the years he’s been businessing.

Oprah is intelligent, diplomatic and extremely well-spoken.

We need a smart and ethical person to be in charge. Politics is not rocket science and there is no President School to learn how to lead this country. Politicians would like you to think their job is so terribly complicated that an average person couldn’t do it. You could argue that the average person would not want to do it, but still.

Luckily, Oprah is not the average person.

It was before my time: Did people go apeshit when Ronald Reagan announced he was running for office? Methinks a lot of people my age and younger don’t even realize he was an actor before he was a president. Well, an actor, then a governor, then a president. Well, an actor, then an FBI informant-slash-actor, then a governor, then a president. Although he is mostly remembered fondly (especially in contrast with Trump), he did some pretty awful things including his incompetence and inhumanity over the AIDS crisis. But I’m not sure you could convince me that he was worse at presidenting than the average Republican career politician.

I think Oprah running is a “big deal” because people are being racist and maybe sexist (or the lovely intersection of the two that Black women have to deal with). I don’t believe there would be such nasty articles being passed around about it if Oprah were a man, especially a white man. Before this, there was talk of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson running, who I would also consider voting for. (Go see Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, by the way.) One could only hope for an Oprah/Rock ticket in 2020.

Let me dream.

The price for your freedom is $2350.00, what a bargain

I bet you thought you could, being an Amerikan, walk away and leave this country behind forever, if you chose to do so, being “free” and all. Wrong! It costs $2350.00 to ask “permission” not to be a US citizen anymore, and “they” might (absurdly) “deny” your request. If you make over a certain amount of money per year, you will pay an “exit tax” of potentially thousands more dollars, before you will be free of your bonds to Amerika. Oh George Orwell, you would have found this shit so hilarious. Or terrifying. Or boringly predictable?

I’m speaking of permanently renouncing US citizenship, which increasing numbers of people wish to do for various reasons, usually after they have acquired citizenship with a saner country or countries. One reason many are leaving is the Big Brother tax situation– unlike most countries, Amerika believes it is entitled to a piece of your income no matter where in the world you live or where you have earned your money. (There are reciprocal agreements with some countries.) Banking abroad can be difficult for Amerikans (and Amerikan dual citizens) because Amerika wants to know your personal business no matter where you live, which is a pain in the ass for foreign banks, especially those with “crazy” ideas like privacy laws meant to protect their citizens.

Another reason that someone might want to renounce their citizenship is– Open your eyes! Some of us just don’t want to be a part of this crazy train anymore. It doesn’t take a genius to see that Amerika is scary, full of sociopaths, full of inequality that breeds hate and fear, full of tainted food and water, poverty for no good reason, stupid policies, stupid “leaders,” police departments being militarized and cops executing people without trials, innocent people being murdered by remote-operated drones in wars that are not mentioned on the news… I could go on for pages but really. More than likely I’m preaching to the choir or talking to a brick wall, in either case I’m wasting my breath.

This country was founded with the idea that we were sovereign individuals with the God/Universe/Nature-given right to live as we wished, which of course would have included the right to abandon one’s citizenship without asking another human for permission to do so. It is absurd to ask another mortal for this kind of permission.

All human beings are equal, therefore who can grant such permission?

To ask such permission is to admit you are not equal or free. Government officials are not gods or kings. They are supposed to be elected representatives of the people and/or hired public servants. How absurd is it to pay a public servant, who is your own employee, $2350.00 for the privilege of your own freedom– No, no, to pay to ASK for the privilege of your own freedom? How can you ask your employee for your freedom? That is unquestionably, unconscionably absurd.

Our constitution was all about laying out our rights as sovereign, self-determining individuals. Now we are more like cattle. What the hell happened?

Modern Amerika is not a democracy– It literally is not. Most scholars will readily admit it’s a republic rather than a democracy. But worse than that, it’s an oligarchy. It’s ruled by a few unelected, very clever people. It’s a prison designed so that most people can’t even see the walls. They have set up a reward system that is extremely effective in getting sociopaths to sign up as enforcers, and that keeps the people distracted with cheap entertainment, cheap goods made by slave labor in China, keeps them sick from bad food and water, and keeps them polluted with drugs that mask symptoms well enough so they can go to work with no energy left over to wonder why they are not happy or free. In a nutshell.

The corporate puppets that we “elect” in that dog and pony show every four years provide the illusion that the people have some sort of control over what is happening in this country (Spoiler Alert: We don’t).

The truth is we have no public servants. We have rulers and sub-rulers. Some take orders and don’t ask questions because they are rewarded by the system with money and real or imagined power over others. Some do so because they have gotten in too deep and can’t figure a way out without having themselves or their families harmed. Maybe that sounds crazy? Look what happened to Edward Snowden. He put his life and family at risk by telling the world about some of the crimes of the Amerikan government, and now most Amerikans believe that he’s a criminal instead of a hero because that’s what the talking heads on the boob tube tell them.

Non-ruling class people are “owned” by the state as evidenced by the fact that you must pay to renounce citizenship. It’s not your natural right, it’s a privilege that costs $2350.00 and the consent of shadowy puppetmasters. It follows that to have been born with US citizenship is a burden. You must pay to have strangers consider freeing you from some kind of slave-like obligation you were unwittingly born into.

I am sorry to report that voting is not going to fix this mess. It’s way deeper that. Would voting have stopped what happened in Nazi Germany? I don’t think so. “Brain drain” has been happening for a while here in Amerika– that is, the smart people are leaving. That is also what happened in Nazi Germany prior to things going from bad to completely apeshit. The writing is on the wall.

Photo by babawawa