The Question

 

 Allow me to forget the life I've made my own

I've held this nation in my hand and yet it's not my home



Allow me just one answer and one reason why

Why this refugee of the family of man must die, tell me why?

Kansas. Closet Chronicles.

 

 

 Reading the recent news of Eduardo Saverin’s cowardly defection renunciation of his US citizenship, to avoid paying some 67 million in taxes on the decidedly larger sum that he stands to make in the Facebook IPO,  got me to thinking about an exchange I had –on Facebook interestingly enough-last year while I was still claiming Shopping Mall USA as my place of residence. (But not the place of my heart).

It was concerning some political topic-and in my responses, as I am wont to do, I took the opportunity to yet again drag the members of the Tea Party through verbal mud showing  my contempt for them. As the discussion went on I had the opportunity to post a comment that went something or other like this:

No but it did get me the opportunity to live some almost 9 years in Japan, something for which I am forever grateful. The opportunity to live and work overseas, learn the language, and be out and about in their cities in Asia-means more to me than all the gold in the world. Its why I am working and longing to get back there just as soon as I can.

Which prompted a response from a Facebook friend-acquaintance really, a man older than me who was in the Navy and the E-2 community as I was. He also had the distinction of being the first pilot I ever flew with in a Navy airplane, a long, long, time ago.

Anyway, it seemed that he misinterpreted the spirit of my statement, which I meant as an expression of gratitude, by asking me this question:

I have read your hateful tirades against the tea party for some time now and said nothing. But I find it very odd that you prefer living overseas to living in the United States. Do you hate your own country that much?”

I responded to him the same way I am responding in a much longer form here: No,  I do not hate my country. Not at all-and I don’t understand why you think a preference for a location other that of the lower 48 somehow implies a hatred for the land of my birth. ( As for the tea party-my comments were never hateful. They were factual expressions of a well deserved contempt for a group of fat selfish pigs who are ruining the political environment in America-but more on that later).
 
I also took the time to point out to him that there are literally tens of thousands of people just like me. Who either found themselves misplaced by birth from the lands and societies that suited them-or as happened in my case, simply outgrew the confines of their mother country, because of the person they had evolved into. That preferred the excitement of dealing with the challenges of overseas living as opposed to the mundane of every day life in suburbia.

I didn’t understand the reason for his question then-and I still don’t understand the question now. Its not hating your country to realize that there are other places in the world that have the things that you want and value. In fact, its more an expression of devotion to one’s country to desire that your own country have those same nice things-since it has the resources to produce them. It simply chooses not to.

Hate my country? Not one little bit. Quite the opposite is in fact true. I love my country-or I would not have spent the entirety of my adult life in its service, in various capacities. Certainly I could never do what Mr. Saverin did-even though I dream every day of the idea of living and working in the “land of the (not so) free, home of the cane”. Certainly if I did not care about my country-I could have made a lot more money and migrated to a career that might have given me better financial opportunities-and skill sets that would make me more employable in a place like Singapore or Hong Kong. I care deeply about the past and the future of the United States.

That does not prevent me however, from being incredibly disappointed with large numbers of my fellow citizens-particularly in the choices they have made in the aggregate- in the last 12 years or so. As group, a large number of my fellow denizens of the land of my birth have failed. They have failed miserably at what should be one of their primary concerns-the nurturing and development of the country as a land of opportunity for all of its citizens, and the improvement of the overall quality of life within the country. Thanks to our incredibly twisted politics-coupled with a basic dumbing down of the average American in terms of what he knows about the history and development of his own country, it has  created a situation in the country I find a growing distaste with . That,  I hate.

But hate the country itself? Never. I don’t even understand the premise of the statement.

People who don’t care about something, don’t spend 7 years writing about it.

There are things, however, that I have found overseas that I wish my country had. Universal health insurance for example. Companies that are required to fulfill their obligations to their employees.  A fair tax  system that is not rigged against the middle class. Decent train service/public transportation. Great nightlife without all the hang ups.   A more educated electorate. More docile and obedient  freely available  women. Just to name a few. Those are a few of the things I have found overseas-that I really like. And I also know the United States will not acquire these anytime soon.

But there are many good things about the United States as well-its land. Its ability to not break apart despite the lunacy of our politics. The fact that, unlike Europe, it is a large land mass with a single national identity. RV’s. Lake Tahoe, US National Parks. Hooters. The list of good things is long.

Could it be improved? Yes it can be. And for that reason I will continue to decry the selfish and ignorant among us who are not committed to making those improvements. It’s only right to do-and rather than the artificial, phony kind of patriotism trotted forth by those same folks-it’s the truly patriotic thing to do. And I will continue to strive to live in locations that have the things that I want.  For the immediate future at least, those locations will not be in the United States. Maybe someday it will have them-I tend to doubt it.
 
Which brings me back to Mr. Saverin. As I said, I could never do what he did. The chasm that doing something like renouncing your citizenship opens up is just too great. And for a lot of reasons-I’ll never be a dual citizen either. Saverin says it’s not for tax reasons-we all know it is.

So while I pride myself on being a citizen of the world-it will always be a blue passport in my travel case.

Here is a story that will probably be illustrative. Many years ago when I first visited Israel, I was extremely taken with the country. Really fascinated by it: the people, the fact that it was the holy land, the accomplishments it had.  So much so I researched what it took to perform Aliyah-the chucking of it all and the emigration thereto. ( This was before I had the "privilege" of actually dealing with Israelis) For a Christian-it is much, much harder than many realize. There is, of course,  the alternative of converting to Judaism, something that is also not exactly easy. In my own case and mind-it’s impossible. To convert to that religion, and no anti-Semitism is intended-it’s a gap that is too wide, too deep and too unbridgeable. Too many years have been spent in Protestant and Catholic Churches looking up at the image of Jesus on a cross-makes it virtually  impossible to do. So I stayed on the particular  path I was on. ( With probably more pain than was required had I actually chucked it all for the promised land).   For better or worse.
 
And it’s the same with being an American. It is a fundamental part of who I am-also for better or worse. ( and its both).

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It's not easy being me-but the adventures I get to have- make it totally worth it. "One should respect public opinion insofar as is necessary to avoid starvation and keep out of prison, but anything that goes beyond this is voluntary submission to an unnecessary tyranny."- Bertrand Russell

0 thoughts on “The Question

  1. A fad that's current today is to polarise the discussion.  A popular way to do that is to invert a statement and assert that this inversion is what was really intended (and then become enraged at the -never expressed- idea.)  I might note that I like chocolate and my correspondent would then be aghast at my hatred of vanilla.  and so it goes; you note that there are some really nice things about Asia and someone is upset that you hate America.  I'll be glad when this fad passes.

  2. There is always more than one route to a destination, some more direct than others.  This" fat selfish pig" agrees that reaching that destination is the quest, but this world would be very "vanilla" if we had to do it the way that you think it has to be done.
    As for Mr. Saverin, unless you are for total confiscation, his little bit of the picture won't be missed by me or millions of others that feel that our government wastes more tax payer dollars every minute of the day than he would ever contribute. Don't let the door hit you in the ass! 

  3. Cy,
           It is possible to go on a diet-and develop a sense of compassion. E.G. If the Teabag fits-don't blame me for pointing it out.
    As for Saverin, one should not forget that his timing sucks, and its clear he wants to reassume his place on Mt. Doom-that's why he is planning on using the US Court system to get his shares back. After all, Saverin's wealth is a product of being an American citizen and he has benefited from American institutions that have received taxpayer money, such as Harvard. Its only right he should have to contribute to the country he is leaving.
            Now he will have to pay an exit tax. I am interested in seeing if they actually enforce banning him from coming back into the country-I tend to doubt it.

     

  4. You seem to be obsessed with how much or little others are paying into the system.  You are the one that thinks that because I have a differant view of how America should work that I am fat and selfish.
     
    Using the court system is what keeps all the lawyers in full employment.

  5. My point is simple-you can't have it both ways. You can't dodge your obligations-and then expect the system that made those obligations to protect you and reward you.

    As for what others pay-its a big concern. The rich should pay, because its the right thing to: balance the budget, provide for the masses, and because the things we need-the resouorces exist for. They are just being poorly allocated. I don't want to hear that Saverin is a victim-he's a victim of his own greed. Maybe a few months in Changi might convince him of how lucky he really is.

    Certainly he won't share his wealth with his maid in Singapore I am sure.

  6. If he employs a maid she will get paid and is that not sharing the wealth? Or by using the share the wealth, you mean that he should just mail her a check with no work being supplied.

  7. Well actually, your example of the maid is a great one of what I am talking about. The maid will not be getting money for nothing-according to Singapore law she has to be paid something. The law however does not specify a minimum wage, and only recently demanded that she get one day off. Will Saverin pay her an equivelant wage for the work she does? I doubt it. Unlike Saverin-who truly is getting money for nothing, she will be laboring at far less than the true value of her work. QED.

  8. Just like a progressive. Has to stick your nose into other peoples business. If she agrees to work for the wage that is offered, it should not be any of your worry. Maybe you need to go and start a union for them and negotiate the wage.

  9. If you have followed this blog for sometime- you will know I am an advocate for the maids. It's not about what she will accept or not accept, it is about what is essentially a conspiracy to keep their wages low. The only reason they are there is the economy in the Philippines is worse. That is why some maids seek to meet men to take them away – or at least " help" their lifestyle. 🙂

  10.  
    "My point is simple-you can't have it both ways. You can't dodge your obligations-and then expect the system that made those obligations to protect you and reward you."


    I don't think you really believe that – at the very least, your actions are incongruous with your words.  If you acted on your admiration for German universal health coverage, for their excellent public transportation system, etc., then your would head down to your HR department and ask ghat you be considered ordinary resident – paying German taxes and social charges that fund those things you love.  You would also eschew buying gas on base or with gas coupons – avoiding the taxes that provide for that train system.  You can't have it both ways, says a wise man I know.

    1. I paid 25,000 dollars in US taxes last year, Scott-where the fuck do you get off castigating me? I’ll bet you didn’t pay that much, I feel confident.

      Your comment shows how much you know-and how current you are on the system over here now. First of all-my diesel car, I have to fill on the economy-because the wortheless asshole who make the MWR decisions don’t stock diesel. Even so-it is still worth it in the long run because I save money. IMHO the tax free scheme over here should be done away with and they should pay more COLA the way they do in Japan.
      Second, I deserve a better expat package than than I have now-namely in that I should be recieveing the COLA that has been reduced because of short sighted decisions to reduce it by 12 percent. If I were on a true EXPAT package the way the contractors are-I would have compensation for that. You as a taxpayer-owe for what I do and you better pay it, I have earned it!

      Furthermore-since I exist in the German health system under US rules-I get the right to bitch about US rules all I want. My employer-owes me health insurance and they better Godamn well pay it. They do-but I have to file the claims. In a proper world-the German doctor would file it the way they do for a German. And even at that- I pay less for my medication than I do in the US-so what is not to admire?

      Get over it . This is the way the world should be-not the way you and the worthless people like the dead man you use as an icon aspired to.

  11. May come back and try to read your screed but you're the most disgusting of all the little animals in this derelict world. With you, MONEY ALWAYS COMES FIRST and YOU'RE THE SINGLE GOD THAT GETS TO DECIDE HOW ANYBODY SPENDS THEIR OWN FUCKING MONEY. ALWAYS. YOU RULE. No. Nobody died and made you God or said that you and the other communists like you gets any say at all over what a free Republic decided or what any member of that Republic does. Are you and your evil skippy friends all planning on ordering the mass destruction of anybody who disagrees with you to death as enemies of the people? That's what every single one of your progenitor socialists and fascists did. Oh and the communists  too for anybody who finds any meaningful distinction between totalitarian states. Seriously, you have no understanding of what electing a government that is real and not the Peoples Republic of North Korea is do you? You're exactly like those idiot scum at the NYT in their $90 million Long Island Estates suggest that the Federal US government inflict their great great great grand children's debt on the little people. Just as NY and CA have. You think the state, county and municipal govt's got away with that one?

    I guess life as a wanna be dictator sucks for you. You moan about it all the time how you're not sole ruling autocrat, power of life and death and ordering everybody but you to pay the state……and for what? You totally failed to notice the utter collapse of the EU and the Euro as that failed paradigm joins your lovely USSR and PRC. As with the Putzer winning NYT 'reporter' who failed to notice mass extinction and genocide in Russia and Ukraine after the Revolution you still pretend that idiot theory exists just like flush it down Brown who in spite of total failure of the CA state finances announces no plans at all to kill high speed rail from nowhere to nowhere. You persist in seeing no famines, no utter power failures and blackouts, no jobs. OPM is your money.

    No it isn't and hasn't been for decades. It's my daughter's money and her children's money. You don't believe in debt and repaying debt which stays on the books and pulled down the entire global financial system when credit between lenders lost all meaning. If I refuse to pay a 400 billion dollar loan so just fuck you what are you going to do? Can't let that bank fail. And the stupid shits and the socialists just glossed over it, again and again and again and again and again and again and NOBODY saw that coming.

    Write your book.

  12. Curtis,

         I hope that made you feel better. But it proves nothing. There are big problems in the world right now-and the solutions you are offering have been tried before-and failed.

          Your daughter is not the issue-the current time is. We need to address the inability of the economy to grow-and in Europe they need to do the same. Austerity won't fix it, and neither will a totally unregulated market. Get over it.

  13. Scott, you have seen how it works in Skippy world! It's all about him. Everyone else is paying too little in taxes and should cough up more so he can have free health care, we all know that it's not free but him. He can have a train to take him anywhere he wants to go, so he can drink and look for maids. Others above him that make decisions that he does not agree with or that do not benifit him are worthless. And if anyone dares to call him on it your attacked ( even though it was edited). I too believe that alot of what he puts up is to just to try to antagonize those of us that know that we are on the wrong track.

    1. First of all, I am tired of having to be even handed-when I know I am right. Its not a fair playing field-when people who have benefited from the same payment scheme, its not right to somehow think I am am hypocrite when I take advantage of benefits I have earned.

      Second-its my blog. I get to edit my own or anyone’s comments when they cross one of my red lines. I have a limited tolerance for arrogance-combined with a flawed view of the world. He’s lucky I didn’t just delete it for straying to far off topic.

      And finally-I’ve earned the right to criticize the things I criticize. I vote, I pay taxes-a lot of taxes-and I get a right to criticize the country when it is going off track and is doing so primarily because the mass of the American electorate is stupid. Yes that’s right-stupid.

      If you want to see an attack-I’ll be happy to show you one. I was restrained in my reply compared to what was deserved.

      And the country needs to fix its problems-health care being one of them-I pay for my health care, as does my employer. This is not an unusual thing-this is how it should be. If you don’t like that-well go back to square one. I’m right, your wrong. Not my fault you are wrong-but you are wrong. Period end of statement.

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