American Dissident

We started bombing Libya today.  Excuse me, apparently we’re helping the Allies “protect” the Libyan dissidents of Gadhafi’s dictatorship.

We’re still in Afghanistan.  We’re still in Iraq.  And now we’re going to lend a hand to the civil war in progress in Libya?  Is there no limit to our Democratic benevolence?  Is there no end to our humanitarian efforts?

While people in our own country are stripping every penny they can from everything that has the potential to make our country rise above our brutish gun-toting violent and ignorant reputation (education and support for the arts are a stupid waste of time) we’re spending all those pennies to kill people.  We have all kinds of reasons.  We’re told it’s all so complex.  We can’t pull out of the Middle East because we owe it to them to stay.  Maybe they’ll develop nuclear bombs while we’re too busy teaching our children the fine art of critical thinking, something we’ve never been known for, and then we’ll wish we’d never left.

I am so angry.   I am so heart-sick for the world.  I don’t want to be associated with a country bent on encouraging ignorance in its people and on self destruction.  We’re like Rome before it fell.  We’re like Britain before it lost India.  If we had any wisdom at all (and we don’t) we’d look at history, we’d see our future written clearly and uncompromisingly in the history of the world.

We are not a smart government.  We are not a smart country.  We doggedly hold onto our own propaganda and get drunk off the company line turning our eyes from the stark reality of war.  We sanitize our news so we don’t have to count the bodies we’re stacking in the attic.  We tell ourselves it’s okay to murder people if they might eventually someday pose a threat to us even if it isn’t obvious right now… all we need is possibility.  We tell ourselves that God approves of us throwing down dictators and ignore that Jesus disagrees with his father and tells us that we should turn the other cheek.  We pride ourselves on being a nation of “moral” people who believe in God.*

We’re like the billionaire with the stacks of gold credit cards and an industry built on fragile (now more radio-active than ever) air.  We spend and spend and spend.  Then the bills pour in and we rob the poor to pay the rich (rob the kids to pay the parents) and stave off the creditors for a little while and, satisfied with our diamonds and AKs, we party on as though we’ll always have a bottomless pit of money.  Eventually we discover the bank is on our doorstep and we hawk the furs and the espresso machines and apologize for our gross excesses while applying for more credit cards with foreign banks.

Then one day there’s no more credit.  Everyone figures out the scam.  Bankruptcy is the only outcome.  Vulnerability.  Nothing to back you up.  No savings.  No medical.  No bandaids.  No refinancing.  No mercy.

I’m bankrupt.  I have no credit cards.  When bad shit happens I’ll have only my wits and my skin to get me through crisis.  If I can’t afford a crisis then I’ll have to pay for it with my blood cause there aint no money in the coffers.  This is my country right now.  We are the same.  Except that I have a conscience.  My country has none.

What business do we have pretending to be the fairy godmother of capitalistic democracy?  We can’t afford to give our people decent health care for free, what business do we have fighting wars in three countries?  We value freedom for ourselves but we really don’t give a shit if anyone else has it.  The line is that we’ll help anyone fight for the kind of freedom we have but really we’re fighting so we can tell everyone else what to do which isn’t really freedom.

If we don’t stop starting civil wars in other countries and stop wedging ourselves in the civil wars others have started on their own behalf then we’ll have our own civil war.  The last time we had one of those was devastating.  It was nasty.  It was bloody.   And the South has never forgiven the North for winning.  They’re still flying their own flags for god’s sake.

Just yesterday I got word that Max got a place in the charter school we wanted to get him into because we think it’s just the kind of school where our unconventional son can thrive.  When I heard we were bombing Libya my first thought was “This will erode education in this country even more and the first schools to fold will be charter schools.”

What is great about this country?  That I can say what I want about it without being detained indefinitely without a formal charge?  We have places set up where we can get around that annoying and inconvenient freedom.  All they have to do is suspect you of anti-patriotism.

If you’re not for us you’re against us.

I’m an American Dissident.  If I could move to Canada I’d do it in a heartbeat.  I’m done with my country in my heart.

The worst thing I can say of myself today is that I’m American.

I’d really like to say I’m Canadian.  I’d like to say I’m Norwegian.  I’d like to say I’m French.

The big irony is that my father is a Canadian citizen.  The big irony is that I’m a quarter Norwegian.  My father has Norwegian citizenship.  I’m also part French.  My father doesn’t have French citizenship.  That’s small comfort.  How did I end up having to be stuck with an American citizenship and not enough money to be an expat?

I’m so ashamed of being American and I’ve been ashamed for so many years now that even though I don’t have the freedom to leave my country I abandon it in my conscience.  I am not my country.  I belong to no country.  My passport can say what it will, I belong nowhere.

Until my country starts giving a shit about education and health care and stops being obsessed with the second amendment I belong to no country.

I renounce all government.  I renounce all borders.

Peace is the only way to enlightenment.  Nonviolence is the only way to righteousness.

My freedom is no freedom worth having if the only way I can keep it is to sanction the killing of other people.

The cost is too high.  The American conscience is as bankrupt as the American budget.


*Well, obviously I’m not one of those people.


  1. Amy h says:

    wow…that was…I think that pretty much summed up how I’ve been feeling also, these past few weeks as things get worse and worse, and people get more and more stupid. I’ve just been too angry to articulate it so eloquently. I knew the country was in a bad state, and I knew the polititians were corrupt, but the last few weeks I dont know…it’s like the whole government is doing crack or some thing. Have those people forgotten what it’s like to be a person in America?? Did they just get amnesia at the sight of their shiny, expencive new offices and the buckets of campeign money?? It seems like the voters got fed up with Bush and his ilk, but they still didn’t quite understand that it didn’t mean voting in people who have no political experience at all was a good idea…I believe that more than half the House is “freshman” and of those, most are Republican. I’m not for one party or the other, I think both sides have good points, but both also need to stop being underhanded dunderheads that cave at the first sign of pressure.

  2. Feel free to add Australian to your list of nationalities you don’t want to be.

    If I hear another person talking about refugees as “queue jumpers” and indicate they agree with the “stop the boats strategy” or refuses to recognise that the reason they “rioted” on Christmas Island (not going into a rant about the evils of offshore processing here) was that political embarrassment is the only tool they have to communicate with. Let’s be reasonable here, people that have been deemed refugee’s shouldn’t be waiting over 18 months for “who ever” to conduct and process their security checks and that is just one of many, many issues that has my heart weeping.

    If a country is judged by it’s response to the most vulnerable Australia is one red neck, cold hearted Sum B%% that better watch it’s back.

    Kind Regards

  3. angelina says:

    Amy- I’m glad I could articulate something you’ve been feeling. Though I’m sorry that you’re feeling as I am, that’s not such a positive place. We’re really seeing a low point in our country’s history right now. I’m hoping that means we’ll soon see it improve?

    Belinda- see, now I always think of Australia as a great place to live. The only reason I don’t include it on my list of places to emigrate to is because of the 22 hour plane ride to come back and visit people. Now you’ve given me fresh perspective- apparently I wouldn’t be treated all that well if I tried to sneak in the back door of Australia. Well, the US is absolutely horrible to immigrants so I can’t say we’re any better. Were you born and raised in Australia? Have you considered living elsewhere as I do?

  4. I have been born and raised in Australia. That said I started my life in the state of Australia that had a strong secession movement (yes they actually successfully held a referendum where a 2:1 vote supported breaking away from the Federation of Australia, thankfully it was never acted upon) , before moving while I was growing up to the state I live in now.

    Australia is a great place to live if you’re white, speak English as your first language, love sports, are straight, and if you immigrated in the last 10 years arrived on a plane. If you are outside of a big city any deviation from the above will make your life any where on the range from uncomfortable to downright dangerous. On the plus side atheist isn’t a problem, but Muslim at certain times in certain places certainly could be.

    We have a pretty decent healthcare system that is open to all classified as citizens or permanent residents and there is a much more comprehensive social security net than the US..and we are given no option legally but to vote.. even still the conservative side of government (not currently in power but it’s sort of debatable to say anyone is actually in power right now) is still very able to whip up a storm of racism around refugees, a storm of hate talk over the carbon trading scheme (whilst still not actually committing to whether climate change is human induced or not) and the leader of the conservative party last election basically expressed the view that all women should be barefoot and pregnant.. and was still able to almost win(nobody actually won, a small selection of independents currently hold the balance of power) and one of the worst education and health determinates you can have is being Indigenous (Aboriginal) etc.

    I have never really considered living anywhere else because of it (mentally played with it yes, to let off steam but never really considered it).. unfortunately I am realistic enough to doubt that anywhere else would be a vast improvement. We’re all monkey’s and it’s all politics. Every country has it’s good sides, it’s bad sides, it’s good people and it’s bad people. Although as a country we do better than some at protecting the vulnerable we consider our own and it only takes a couple of generations for a new ethnic group to be considered pretty much part of the fabric of our society the “us v’s them” mentality is still totally ingrained. It just depends on who is currently us and who is currently them and whether people are feeling scared of something that day or not.

    Kind Regards

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