Wednesday, June 01, 2005

A Perspective from Abroad

I have lived outside of the United States for most of my adult life. As a long-term expatriate, I have not had the opportunity to be involved in politics at a grass-roots level. Politics for me has consisted mostly of heated conversations and voting once every 4 years.

My perspective is different from the perspectives of my fellow bloggers in the US (not to lump you all together, but you know what I am getting at). I have seen foreign (i.e. non-US) news more often than US news; I have read foreign press more than US press. Therefore I have known quite a bit about US foreign policy as it affects other countries but never enough about US domestic policy. Of course I do talk to fellow Americans, some who also live abroad and some who live at home, as well as people from other countries. I do find that we all have our own unique perspectives, but that there is an overall difference in perspective between Americans at home and Americans abroad, especially since 9/11.

I have been a Republican (I don’t usually admit that), a Democrat, and a member of the Green Party, but I have been unaffiliated in any way for at least ten years. My biggest domestic political concerns have always centred on education and personal freedoms. For example, the freedom to have an abortion has always been an important issue to me. Although I do not know if I would or could ever have an abortion myself (and luckily have not had to make that decision), the thought of a bunch of men presuming that they have the right to tell me what I can do with my own body truly enrages me.

Bush’s post 9/11 policy has frightened me from the very beginning. It is grotesque. We have had draconian legislation hiding behind benign names like The Patriot Act. We now have the Department of Homeland Security which has been given a weird name, an unclear mission and undefined powers. Hello, Big Brother.

James Madison once said, “If tyranny and oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy.” Why is it so obvious to some and yet others do not see it at all?

The elections in 2004 were a huge turning point for me. I came back to Prague from England in the summer and started working amongst Americans for the first time since the year 2000. We talked about almost nothing except politics for 5 months - before, during and after the elections. I had a political re-awakening, suddenly feeling the need to be more involved in politics than I had been since university and more of a need to figure out what was really going on and to do something to change things.

That is where I am at the present time. I read, I write, I discuss. I am learning from a lot of different sources and people, and still sorting everything out for myself. I see that our system is not working and that radical change is necessary. I am therefore left with the challenges of figuring out how to effect change, with whom I can work, and how we will ensure that the end result will leave us all much better off than we are now.


AG said...

O.K., this is good. Re-inventing yourself as you mature is a good thing. Better than being stuck in a vacum all of your life and stifling your true feelings to become a Stepford American.

However, you must cease and desist calling yourself and "expatriot". You are no such thing. You are a patriot and, therefore, patriotic because you love your country very much and hate to see what's been happening to it at the present time with the current administration.

Unfortunately, most Stepford Americans stopped paying attention to Thomas Jefferson. I'll bet Jay Leno can't find 5 people under the age of 20 who even know who Thomas Jefferson was.

Want to see a Fringe version of Lysistrata tomorrow evening?

Anonymous said...

The Problem With Dubya

A recent American reporter asked "why does the rest of the world hate George Bush so much?" Its a fair question and I thought I`d answer it from my perspective being a non-American.


Timely, eh?

matty said...

can you limit your blogs to under 3000 words, i have a short attention span

Max said...

AG, I am not an "expatriot". I am an expatriate, which is defined as a person who resides outside of her/his native country, which I do. As you do. As you said, it does not mean that I don't love my country. I do love my country. And then everything else you said. Forgive me for not being more eloquent, it is 4 a.m.

Max said...

AG, I would love to see Lysistrata. Something you don't know: I played Lysistrata in an in-class production at university (it got me excused from writing one of my papers). However, I am off to London for a long weekend and so will not be able to go with you. Fucking great play though. Enjoy.

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One of the Malone Gang Members (Chatsy) said...

my thoughts exaclty on G WBUSH = Big Brother...just read 1984 George Orwell...I predict that happening should Bush remain in power.