“However [political parties] may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.”
― George Washington
People sometimes ask when Jeff and I will return to the States. It makes me howl with laughter. I may not be a citizen of the UK, but I work hard and pay taxes here. And in exchange…
I have free healthcare including birth control and OBGYN services.
Hell, I have an IUD already.
I have maternity and paternity leave protections and options should I need them.
I have access to abortion services should I require them.
I have robust public transportation.
I am an immigrant who feels protected by the laws of the nation I live in.
Yeah, we’ve got Brexit (a mess), sky rocketing rent (ugh), and nationalism on the rise here in Europe too (guys, what the hell?!). But living here does not frighten me. Are there acts of public violence? Horribly yes, but they are peanuts compared to those of my own country. I might think some individual politicians are through the looking glass, but I don’t feel as though one party or personality is holding this nation hostage. Yes we have hypocrisy here, but it doesn’t cause me whiplash or existential dread.
I am an American who, without hyperbole–I’m not invoking the tired meme of moving to Canada–has no desire to live in my own country during the present moment. I see too much going on that I can’t understand, reject, and of which I am genuinely fearful. Don’t misunderstand, I recognize that we are not experiencing collapse or ruin or war or famine like so many other nations are. I don’t pretend to believe that we’re in an apocalypse. But I still don’t want to live there.
I don’t expect perfection from my country, but I do expect better than what I have experienced in my 14 years as an active and involved voter. I am horrified to see bad faith rewarded in the way that I feel I have in my voting lifetime. I fear the long term repercussions, including radicalism on my own side. But I fear even more the darker underlying forces at work in my country which I knew existed, but of whose power and influence I significantly and ignorantly mis-estimated for way too long.
The good news is that while I may live in a different country that I love, my vote still counts in my own which I love just as much. I will sure as hell be using it. And I am putting money where my mouth is from now through November; I encourage like minded voters to do the same.