Hello everyone, this is in regards to the events that have been happening in Washington D.C. It took me a bit of time to get my thoughts together on this, but here goes! As a dual US/UK citizen and Third Culture Kid, it’s my duty to voice where I stand on this. I have learned from experience that what one country does affects the rest of the world, so that’s primarily why it’s important to let people know where I stand when one of my countries royally screws up!
Where to Start:
2016 was the year that not one, but BOTH my passport countries shot themselves in the foot! Having lived a significant portion of my life in both those countries, I can honestly say that it was inevitable that Brexit happened and Donald Trump was elected president. I tried to find the right words for it, and then I saw John Oliver express it so beautifully!
I am contrasting Brexit with the 2016 election because it’s the perfect example of how one country’s actions can have ripple effects in other countries. I was not surprised by Brexit any more than I was surprised with the 2016 election results. Of course, I had hoped the US would learn from the disastrous Brexit result and not elect Trump, but since that didn’t happen, ergo, ripple effect. I’m going to focus more on the US from here though. Just brought up the UK as an example in this context.
What was the Key Element?
Well, it was mainly how strong racism and xenophobia are in the US. My Mum said when we repatriated to the US in the 1990s after living in France/Switzerland she realized how US culture is stained by racism. I saw that too when we repatriated to the US from the UK. I did see hints of American racism in the US while living in the UK, but it was hard to put a name to it at first. I have often said that I don’t understand how some sub-cultures of white Americans can have these racist hang-ups. Somehow, growing up in England, I bypassed learning racist white American culture.
The more layers of human suffering that you add to a culture, the more wounds need to heal. It’s also important to remember that genocide of Indigenous People and enslaving Africans didn’t just happen out of the blue. Something has to be very wrong with people who commit egregious, dehumanizing acts against their fellow human beings. It’s like how you don’t just become a toxic person. Someone hurt them too. Wounds that aren’t healed manifest themselves in a number of ways, even within cultures and sub-cultures.
Unfortunately, I see that the US is in the definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. I have seen with other countries that have had a history of violence, that they reach a point they realize they went too far, and then worked to make it right. This attempted coup just proves to me that the US has not admitted that they have gone too far with electing Trump. Additionally, the Republican party will ALWAYS have this attempted coup to their name, along with the whole fiasco of the past four years.
How Does This Relate to Domestic Terrorism?
A lot actually. Also, FYI, I have studied the US Constitution, so I know what the 2nd Amendment says. That doesn’t change the fact that we shouldn’t let gun use run rampant. People who are pro-gun definitely overlook the “well-regulated militia” part. We shouldn’t arm citizens with military-grade assault rifles. Also, deciding who gets to have guns is based on racism. The reason why California has the strictest gun regulations is because of the Black Panthers. Reagan instituted the Mulford Act because the Black Panthers had guns at a protest. The constitutionality of it was upheld by both the NRA and the Supreme Court. AND Antonin Scalia voted in favour of the Mulford Act! Additionally, US mass media carefully avoids calling white people who commit mass shootings, terrorists. They are called terrorists in any other country, so why should the US be an exception?
Watch this video. Trevor Noah says this so much better than I ever could.
Trevor Noah is SO spot on with making fun of not calling active shooters domestic terrorists in the US! One thing I love about Trevor Noah is nothing is sacred to him. I love how he can frame switch into different accents and talking about different cultures. He has clearly done a lot of research before he does his shows.
We Didn’t Elect Officials for Their Platitudes!
Anyone who knows me knows I am SO SICK of politicians spewing platitudes! I don’t care what party they are from. I definitely do NOT vote for politicians because they are duck-billed platitudes. Get it?
Okay. I am glad Biden did call on Trump to stop this violent attempted coup. I’m also glad Biden posted photos of how it would have been different if it was a Black Lives Matter protest. Still, when he said that this is not who we are, etc. Um, no. Just no. This IS who we are. We let this happen and we are all to blame in one way or another. There really is no room for downplaying what happened. Downplaying violence is being complicit. I just hope other countries learn from the US that they need to stop their far-right movements before they get out of control.
What does this mean for the future?
These white supremacist terrorists are not going to go away now that Biden is president. They were there long before Trump, and they aren’t going to go away overnight. When Obama got elected, the white supremacist movement was gathering steam. As far as they were concerned, we did The Unthinkable and elected a Black President! What I said about bypassing learning racist white American culture just goes to show that culture is learned. These people have it ingrained in them that their behaviour is okay.
I fully support holding racists accountable. Sometimes, it means correcting someone’s words or behaviour. Plus, it can mean going to a higher authority to help you when the situation puts you in danger or is out of your hands. Of course, we need to have those higher authorities who will exercise their clout to stop racist behaviour.
I wonder if other countries will start screening US expats for any history of being part of the far-right. I know immigration forms to Canada ask you if you have been a part of a group that has incited or participated in violent acts. Good on them for doing so! Honestly, I personally don’t mind if I have to go through a screening process as a US citizen if it means that Canada is going to stay safe. I have nothing to hide. Okay, there have been a couple of times when I got in with people who turned out to be toxic, far-right people, but then I got out of the situation as soon as it came to light. That’s different from still affiliating with someone who you know is like that. In that case, you are guilty by association.
And on A More Personal Note
My Mum and I escaped the US for precisely what the has become. There is a point we reached that we realized we can’t be a part of this anymore. I know we were lucky to get out, but my heart goes out to the people I love who I left behind, but want to leave. I’m going to do everything I can to stay. I’m scared to go to the US at this point! I know someday I will go there briefly to pack up my stuff and move out, but I don’t want to stay there for any longer than I have to. I wonder if people who were thinking of leaving the US because of this crap have decided to do so now.
I am glad that I have built up some resilience to what’s going on in the US. Still, I honestly don’t believe the US is the leader of the free world anymore. I think there is a naive belief that it’s a great country. I hope the world catches on fast that it’s a lie. To be quite frank, I am not in a place where I can hear anything positive about the US right now. If you really want a reality check, watch Michael Moore’s movies. I specifically recommend Where to Invade Next and Fahrenheit 11/9. He’s not afraid to tell it like it is!
I’m Becoming Less American
Since moving to Calgary, I have had to detox from all this crap that’s been going on in the US. Fortunately, the people I know have been really understanding and kind to me about that and most importantly, welcoming. So Canada, here’s my gift to you: I promise that I will hold anyone I know who is a US citizen to the same standards that you have held me to. Additionally, I am going to do everything I can to stay here and get Canadian citizenship someday.
I have a bigger announcement too: I intend to renounce my US citizenship someday. I spent all morning researching how to do that. When I moved here, I knew I wanted to give up my US citizenship, but now I am starting to plan for it. It’s not going to happen overnight though. Even though I have a UK passport, I could have a lot to lose if I renounce my US citizenship before getting Canadian citizenship. Just like the clothes you have to wear if you’re walking outside in subzero temperatures, there are a lot of layers to US citizenship.
When I was naturalized as a UK (and EU) citizen, I was made aware of my rights, privileges and responsibilities. I’ve found as a native-born US citizen that they don’t tell you those things unless you explicitly go out of your way to find that out. I guess that’s true with a lot of countries though. So, anyway, if I’m going to be giving up certain rights and privileges as a US citizen, I need to make sure they are being replaced with something else, or if my UK citizenship covers it.
Last of All
I just wanted to share what I did today. I wondered how is this not a national day of mourning? Rhetorical question. I know why. So, I had my own day of mourning. My Mum and I held space for each other to talk and listen. When I was living in England and I would hear about bad things in the news about the US, I wouldn’t want to go outside. I knew from a young age that what the US did makes me look bad. Yes, I got heat for it. So, today I just wanted to stay inside and take care of chores that needed to be done but didn’t require too much thought. I didn’t even want to go to my favourite patisserie today. At the end of the day, I took a hot bubble bath with bubbles as deep as the snow outside! Now, I’m hoping I sleep well tonight.
Additionally, because of my own day of mourning, I am taking a day off from the Travel Challenge. Will be back with it though.