If you are reading this outside of the USA, ask yourself this question, because you may have to reckon with it sooner than you expect—when would you turn your back on your country?
At what point would you stop trying to fight, in whatever small way you could, and accept that the place of your birth, your upbringing, your culture, was in irreversible decline? I’ve found myself at various points in the past few years pushing my hard limits further and further back, but in the past few weeks, I realized something, with stinging sobriety: I’m not willing to die for this.
I love the United States. I always have, even as I’ve grown more and more critical of its culture (or cultures) and institutions. I’ve been lucky enough to travel fairly extensively and there is no place on earth like it. No greater earth-shattering beauty, fiercely unique peoples, all living together and bonded by the idea of a few sacred shared beliefs.
There’s always a “but.”
As I’ve grown, the severity of the rot eating away at my homeland has been laid bare. To not see it at this point requires a special kind of blind and slavish devotion that rivals anything I could ever hope to muster, for anything or anyone. The United States is a on a full-tilt slide into authoritarian oligarchy, and is further along in the process than most people think. Our elected officials have strategically gutted the instruments that are vital for maintaining an egalitarian state in the name of amassing untold power and wealth for themselves. At this point, it’s hard to see a way out. Too many people are too dumb, too disenfranchised, too utterly defeated by the monstrous will of a few hundred megalomaniacs that have less than zero care for anyone other than themselves. They are the avatars of selfishness incarnate, of pure, walking malevolence. To chalk it all up to greed is not enough; these people take comfort in the fact that untold millions will suffer and perish and have their lives and futures destroyed as the direct result of power wielded by a few. There is no regret. There is no remorse. There shall be none.
I used to say that if things got really bad in the US, that I’d stay and fight. My stance on that has changed. Perhaps it’s because I’ve fallen in love, and preserving our life together and the future I hope to build is paramount to me—this could be related to why I’m suddenly anxious on plane rides—but I’m no longer willing to put myself in harm’s way in order to make a symbolic gesture in opposition to the absolute worst people ever produced in human history.
Instead, if it comes to “that” (currently, “that” is—for me—the abolition of term limits, but we’ll see) I will refuse to participate. I owe this country and its government nothing. They owe me. They have betrayed me, time and time again, and I refuse to die for them. So if it comes to “that” I’ll leave—I’m unspeakably lucky that I have the option, and hope I will continue to have the option—and then I’ll hope, against all logic and reason, that it doesn’t come to “that” again.