It’s not easy or even fun to be an expatriate. Unless you didn’t know, that is just a highfalutin word that is used especially for American emigrants. Why the special word? Because people who “leave” America are expected to see it with a critical (perhaps even artistic) eye, and Americans who “remain” are expected to disregard the criticism, and even accuse the expat of Anti-Americanism or sheer snobbery. In writing, you will see the word distorted to “ex-patriot”.

I’ve never been a “patriot”. I’ve never served in the armed forces. I’ve never done anything more than my “duty” as a citizen, paying taxes, voting when I could and showing up when called to jury duty. I’ve gotten very little in return, to be frank. Whenever I needed urgent medical care, I’ve had to pay out of my pocket. Health insurance certainly doesn’t cover everything, and a collapsed lung in 1984 cost me over seven thousand dollars because my HMO specified that I should not opt for the nearest hospital, but should have gone to “theirs”. Thank God I refused to be admitted to a room after the ER, because I felt deep down that I had greatly sinned. I figured that I would be paying a surplus for my audacity to allow the ambulance to take me to my local hospital. When I got the bill three weeks later, it is another miracle that I did not die of a heart attack.

I put myself through college by working full-time as well as taking out a student loan, every penny of which I paid back to you, America. In a way, I contributed to your economic growth, I produced, consumed, got sick enough for you, got an expensive higher education while barely scraping by myself. In my humble opinion, you owe me.

Yes, I am a product of the country by virtue of birth, at times a pawn or even a victim of its limited vision, like every citizen of every country. I’ve been compelled to pledge allegiance to the flag and to the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands. I had my hand on my heart and was sure they were keeping their part of the bargain with that guarantee of Liberty and Justice for All. But who’s really going to go into checking all those details? Children ask only the right questions, or at least, grown-ups give them comforting answers.

Yet, being American gets on my nerves more and more as I watch America do their “big show”. I’ve seen elections and campaigns all my life. I know it’s a circus, the most expensive show on earth. But I am at the point where I want to shout at you, America. “Can you please get serious and stop the show?”

You act like you are the most important nation on Earth, the best, number one. I would like to know what gives you this idea. If it weren’t for your military might, what would you really be?

Your economy is a shambles and you rescue those who have destroyed it with the taxes of your own workers? The stock markets of the world have crashed because they are controlled by the vicissitudes of Wall Street and the Dollar. Thanks! We really appreciate it over here. But we don’t expect you to do the right thing. No, I don’t mean bail anyone else out, but just to APOLOGISE. That’s a silly fantasy, I know. While you are concentrating on erecting Holocaust monuments in Florida and Washington, where are your monuments to the victims of Hiroshima and Nagasaki? To the victims of the genocide of the indigenous people of your continent? To the Africans you dragged over in chains and forced into slavery? That might force you to apologise for your sins and crimes, and it’s better to avoid that. Break for Commercial.

But you drag things anyway, America, not only slaves to your shores. You dragged us into your Global War on Terror. If someone isn’t your ally, fighting at your command, you are entitled to put an embargo on them, attack them and occupy their land.

You impose your energy and pollution policies without concern about the international agreements. However, if other countries violate or even threaten to violate international agreements, they are aided if they are Israel, or punished (if they are your Rogue States). If other States determine their own policies, they become friends or enemies according to your own interests, whipping up international consensus to get nations involved in wars for or with you. You occupy foreign lands with your military bases – yes, even your allied nations have bases that are “pieces of America” abroad. It might be normal to you, but I wonder if you would like having pieces of other countries on your own soil.

Haven’t you had enough of wars you can’t win and which only drain resources? Or is that the only way you have found to take your own people’s attention off of their deteriorating Social Security, their abysmal health care programs and the constant outsourcing of their labour? If the enemy is “out there”, the devil in the backyard can play merrily.

Americans get thrown onto the streets in a parade of deepening poverty that makes the American Dream look like a joke to anyone who has eyes to see it. But the homeless don’t vote, you can’t register “a non-address”, so they don’t matter anyway. Some even think they had it coming… tough luck.

So, Americans are convinced they are going to have some bright future, with the change they can believe in, or even the change they need. Good for them. When they wake up, please tell them that we are sick to the teeth of the show. Sick of the parade of wives and children and ministers. Sick of the smiling and nodding human wall that claps at every empty word uttered by the leaders who have been bought and sold precisely by the same folks who have bought and sold the American citizen up the river.

Americans complain about the system too, don’t get me wrong. But why do they never lift a pinky finger to change the voting system? The dreaded Electoral College…. man, I remember them saying that would be a thing of the past about 6 campaigns ago. The deceptive Black Box voting and uncounted Absentee Votes will give a bit of drama to the election night coverage, but the pundits will assure us everything is totally fair and without a loop.

Race is always an issue, and isn’t this sad? In a nation that can boast the mystery of diversity, the great melting pot, why does every candidate have to be the standard carbon copy as far as policy and beliefs, catering to a certain profile of voter that is far more conservative than most people I know would admit? I thought that those great ideals such as separation of Church and State, All Men are Created Equal and whatnot were at least something to aim for. But the candidates are parading their “personal Christian Minister” around, (until he says something embarrassing, then they are expected to dump him unceremoniously), doing race-specific campaigning and denying that America is still as racist as it was in the 60s.

If I tell people I’d only use my (uncounted, most likely) Absentee Vote to elect Ralph Nader or Cynthia McKinney, my progressive friends tell me I am helping the Republicans get elected. I beg to differ. Even if they don’t get the votes, they get elected sometimes. Even if the people are “sick of things” a wartime president gets re-elected. It’s happened before, in fact, it always happens, and even without the smoke and whistles, the Americans realise what is in their immediate interests, they always go for the most warlike Party, the one that can assure them “cheap oil”. What have I got to do with it? Why should I play a part in that game and cast a vote for one of the two showmen? They have both tired me out with their finger-pointing, their two-steps, their pats on the backs, their baby-kissing and Minister and lobby ass-licking.

I refuse. I refuse to play the game. They can force me to watch the show, but they can’t make me applaud.

So America, get on with your elections. But get it over with quickly. Put one of your favourite sons in office. It really doesn’t matter who it is. The rest of the world expects it will keep getting four more years of your war, your cultural and economic hegemony, your air and water pollution, your toxic waste and occupation of land and space. Four more years of your arrogance and refusal to apologise. Bring It On.



  1. G. McKee said,

    October 17, 2008 at 18:07

    Hear Hear Mary!
    As an expatriate myself (8 years now) I have looked on in total disbelief at the total apathy of my fellow americans to do anything about the the mess their government has created. Notice I said “their” government. I do that a lot these days as I no longer feel nor do I want to feel a part of the country in which I was born. My second citizenship will come into reality in a few months in the country where I now reside and I fell more a part of this place then the mess I left behind. I encourage all reading this to vore with their feet this election and find the american dream in places where it still exists.

  2. curtis said,

    October 17, 2008 at 18:21

    i love what u said now i too want the show to end…and its like a big reality show u know the reality kicked off about the time ole bushy took over or atleast the republicants and dummycrates got the idea from…yeah if another election is stolen im out of here…out of the USA that is….australia might take me…anyways i hate that word patriotic….its all fake….i spent almost 10 years in the military and i also think and not neither a dem or rep….i vote who i think is right …..

  3. bosunj said,

    October 17, 2008 at 18:22

    As a fellow expat I cannot help but understand. I wish America would just go away. Be well.

  4. Hanson said,

    October 17, 2008 at 19:15

    I have heard this same complaint by ex-pates so many times that I am wondering if these are some kind of agents. For one thing, they consistently point the finger (now that they are safely away) forgetting that they did absolutely NOTHING to help change and fix a very ill system that they, too, contributed in creating and upholding. They took, and when they discovered there was nothing left to take, they packed up and left….Now, this sounds exactly like the Wealthy, the parasites whom have looted the nation and now are preceding to leave en-mass.
    Mary, What did you do specifically while living in the U.S. to help change the system?

    I have no respect for people such as Mary. Many of us are staying on here, not because we like the current system but because many of us do not have the money or connections to leave. Many of us stay because we care for the human beings that live in the U.S. whether others think they are worthy or not. It sounds like Mary was real Typical American while here…paying her taxes (I don’t pay taxes and never have as I don’t have a large enough income).

    This is a bunch of hypocracy that is typical propaganda to demonize the working class in the U.S. so that the Globalists of Europe (Specifically, out of London and Netherlands) can continue on with their one world agenda, total control. If people think its bad now, just wait. You are being fooled. Now is not the time to abandon the Working class in America.

    I could go one by one over all Mary said but if people cannot see her ignorance then they too are ignorant. (I especially like the one about race…I wonder where she lived here….we have a black man running for president, although I will not vote for him as his pockets like all the other politicians are full of corporate money).

  5. Mary Rizzo said,

    October 17, 2008 at 19:16

    Thanks G., Curtis and Bosunj for your feedback! I really appreciate it.
    G., I know, isn’t it strange how it feels like “them”? I’ve been gone for over two decades, but never did it feel so totally far away and alien to me. You are so right about the apathy. I can’t believe they can’t notice how bad things are, and still persist in the belief they are the world leader. I would only like it if they would once in a while get humble….

    Curtis, did anyone you know take up on their claim last time that they’d go to Canada? I knew ten people (I have the emails still) who said they would do just that. Only two had family, so they could probably really do it if they meant it. They are all precisely where they were before, and now they are plugging Obama as if he is the answer. It makes me sad. I hope you don’t need to go to Australia, but going abroad is a good thing sometimes. If nothing else, it gives you a good view of America. Wish you a lot of luck and THANK you for understanding the way it feels like a reality show, with the patriotism thrown in there cuz it’s the American way.

    Bosunj: Isn’t that a sad thought? But I can’t tell you how many times I feel that way. Did you know that until only a few weeks ago I was even doing the “I hate America, the way it operates, but the Americans are great”. I actually do like many Americans, but I am not so sure they are great, a great people or even persons better than anyone else. They look after number one more than others do, and they expect everyone to make the distinction between America and Americans. I am not sure there is a difference anymore.

  6. DMA said,

    October 17, 2008 at 19:17

    We agree wholeheartedly! With every word you have said here.
    I just grabbed my husband and my kids and fled overseas. We are in the process of sorting visas now, are semi homeless and unsure of the future.
    But you know what? We are relieved to make it out of the US. Thrilled.
    We consider ourselves “refugees” and I am sure we are only the first wave. Many more will come if they don’t lock the borders.
    What a farce this election!
    What a shame that the US can’t even apologize. I have taken it on as my duty to apologize all the time on behalf of this country that I was born in. That is all I know how to do anymore–say “I am so sorry for your losses”

  7. Mary Rizzo said,

    October 17, 2008 at 19:53


    I would love it if you take on the points one by one. I am really up for it. As to myself, you can look me up, I am easy to find. Here is a biography: http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Mary_Rizzo

    I am not an agent for anyone. When I lived in the US (Chicago, to be precise) I worked day and night without a dime of charity or public aid to make it easier for me. Yes, to stay alive in America, you need to do that, then you can keep out of poverty. It means you will be paying all your expenses, since in the US, kids are on their own at 18, but it is a great way to learn how to surive. If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere….

    I didn’t leave when the heat got too hot. I left for study purposes, to continue my studies, and ended up marrying and making my family here. Totally accidental.

    While I was in the US I was an activist for Travelers and Immigrants Aid, as well as active in peace movements for the Middle East. I was involved in all the Anti-Apartheid things, for education (I taught adults to read for the Chicago Public Library) and against domestic violence. I was politically affiliated with the ISO.

    If the working class (could you define this term?) is really interested in anything but the price of its gas, or its own short-term conditions, I would love to know it. Generally it hasn’t been the case, but I am willing to know about it. I see a lot of disinterest in international politics, and even important domestic issues get drowned out by the self-celebration…

    Just be glad I didn’t start in on the Dream Team and all of those things. I could go on for days.

  8. Mary Rizzo said,

    October 17, 2008 at 19:58

    DMA, I know the feeling! To want to apologise all the time. We really have to start doing it. America has a lot of things to apologise for. This summer, I was with my daughter in a really remote part of Italy. At the bus stop there were two elderly Americans and out of curiosity, I asked how they ever ended up in Santa Maria di Leuca (the tip of the boot heel) and they told me they wanted to see the more authentic parts of Italy. We chatted until their bus arrived, (mine never did….oh, the “joys” of “being an expat…”) and they said they always pretended they were Canadian in Europe because they knew that the image of Americans was not positive. I asked why they thought that and they said, “oh, the wars, Bush…” nothing else, nothing scandalous… and they then said, “what a liberation to say that! We could never say something like that in America!”

    I believe there is a lack of the great freedoms the Americans believe they have. They have to fight to get them back, but they won’t do it. I always wonder why, because obviously, when you are able to say what you feel, you are free at a certain level.

    Good luck with your new home! I hope it brings you the peace of mind you seek.

  9. Mary Rizzo said,

    October 17, 2008 at 20:16

    Hanson, this one is interesting:
    we have a black man running for president, although I will not vote for him as his pockets like all the other politicians are full of corporate money).

    Yeah, that’s my point, his pockets are full of corporate money, Lehman Brothers and the others who have brought on the latest disaster. So he is black, so what? If he is corrupt or bought, there is no reason to think he is something different from the other candidate, so that is why race becomes an issue. It’s the only essential difference if this is the system.

    Now, If Lehman Brothers and all of these things limited their mess to themselves, one could even say, “oh, how terrible, what a shame for all those poor and middle class people who are going to lose their savings and pensions and maybe homes and jobs”. But it goes farther. This scandal, like all the other scandals, drags the rest of the world along for the ride. We are all paying for the lack of any kind of regulation on weird finance and mad deals. This means people in the West due to our market connections (or our products which will not be bought by Americans, namely tourism for my country, will cease to be a possiblity for anyone and this will cost jobs and security for Italians) and moreso for the third world countries, who not only do not get aid, but don’t have their debts eliminated. I am not even talking about war here, (and that would take pages) but about just the economic consequences of this totally American scandal.

    All I said is, they caused the problems and NEVER did I hear them ask the world to accept an apology. America is unable to do this, and it would certainly be a start. Instead, they are still the “model”. I am sorry this is hard for you to take, Hanson, but people around the world can’t stand America and Americans anymore. It is not out of “jealousy of the American lifestyle” because even that is not appealing anymore. It is simply that they cannot take the arrogance. The “ugly American” sadly is returning big time. I wish Americans were humble enough to admit it.

  10. Ray said,

    October 17, 2008 at 20:18

    Be glad you don`t live in America anymore.

    I wish I could join you.

  11. G. McKee said,

    October 17, 2008 at 21:26


    We were in your exact shoes eight years ago. We just left and didn’t tell anyone in our family where we were for several months. They understand now and have forgiven us, but are still living in the states. We didn’t leave with many worldly belongings as we didn’t know where we would end up. We had to sort out the Visa matter while we were here as we didn’t want to go back to get one. Leaving was the best thing we ever did. It is an exciting, whole new world being out of the USA; so many things you have never been allowed to know about, things in the news that you never heard about, intelligent articulate local citizens who know more about world politics than you do, people having engaging conversations and respecting other points of view. It’s a real feast for the mind. In addition, don’t worry about what you will end up doing for a living. You will fall into something. One thing Americans are very good at doing is thinking out of the box, being resourceful and having a strong work ethic. These qualities will take you wherever you want to go. For example, I have a professional medical degree, didn’t expect to be able to get a job in my field as I was not licensed anywhere else except the USA. What did I do? I am good with computers. Never had any formal training. I noticed that many people hated taking their computers to the shop to get repaired as in this country, at least when I moved here, the shops kept your computer for at least a week to get repaired. I started a house call service to repair computers, mainly to mom and pop users who needed to be shown how to use software or just needed a new part or two. What was my secret to success? I showed up on time when promised. A thing never heard of in this Mediterranian country. The biz grew into a full fledged retail store. It’s been a lot of fun and kept a roof over my head. I have since met many interesting people and through good old American networking have gotten into other things as well and am only part time on the computer shop right now, but what a ton of fun it has been and still is. So you too will fine a need and fill it so to speak. You have a whole new exciting life ahead of you, with some road blocks and dead ends along the way to be sure, but you are also much freer than you have been in years. Congratulations on your decision. You join tens of thousands of us who have already found the American dream outside of America.

  12. linda said,

    October 17, 2008 at 22:14

    Your essay is very poignant and it speaks truths that will never make it to mainstream media or the majority needed to make a change. I have lived abroad and are looking to do so soon again. As a citizen who’d like to do something to stop the catastrophic corporation machine, I feel completely impotent because I don’t know what do to. I will be voting for Ralph Nader NOT to have McCain elected, but because I believe in his altruistic nature and true desire to change the course of our nation. I pain for those that are apathetic and ignorant and choose to remain that way. I pain for those of us who want to do something and don’t know what. I pain for the slavery we live in that keeps us occupied making end meets or leaves us with only energy to push button on a remote contro. I pain for the lack of humanity in my country and its hypocrisy opposing pro-choice, but accepting the death penalty. I am getting ready to pursue my dream outside of this hell.

  13. Mary Rizzo said,

    October 17, 2008 at 22:17

    interesting story G!

    I agree with you on a lot of your advice, that the “American work ethic” is something (that if you had it) will make the difference with the enormous challenges you will face. But it’s not at all “the good life” here. It depends on what one is used to or expects. If you are like me, you will need a decade or more to get used to the siesta time (I have been here over 20 years, and don’t think I ever used it to relax, but rather, have been frustrated because I need to run around like mad to get ten things done before the shops close). Italian red tape is hell. There is nothing quite as horrible as this, for a person’s sanity, and it comes in all shapes and sizes and complicates life enormously. The reason for all of this is because it sustains a system of corruption. You need a document? Go to this office, then this, then go get a special stamp at a tabacco store, then go pay the fee at the post office, then go back to the office with the reciept, wait for the inspector to pass to check the truth of the declaration, that will take a week, then the for the local office to put the stamp on it… etc… You can imagine the time and money.. to avoid all of this, there are kickbacks and corruption at every level. It is horrible.

    Yet, the one thing is, Italians are aware of it. They don’t feel proud of it, they don’t think it is the model to export, they truly are critical of themselves. Something Americans don’t yet grasp, that their way is not the ultimate best.

    Then again, what really matters, things like freedom of speech (people tell me I could never have the blogs and sites I run were I still in the US… that makes me wonder.. they are just blogs for Palestine, nothing illegal, immoral or dangerous…) things like healthy lifestyles based on the cycle of nature.. these are things that one will find elsewhere. In America, if you want that, you better be willing to pay the price.

    yet, the sad thing is, Italy is very much the court jester to the USA. We have never been truly independent and the US influence is practically imposed upon us. I have written a lot on this topic, if you like, I can find some of the articles. You may enjoy a few. I would love to read some of your accounts of your experiences.

  14. Hanson said,

    October 17, 2008 at 22:17

    Mary, You seem to feel you were a “victim” while in the States and now you are a “victim” in your own country.

    Let me be clear, I only stated the fact about Obama’s color, as you had brought up the race issue….my point is, the U.S. has its first Black man running for president, which I find as very possitive as do countless people…obviously, considering that those voting (which btw is approx. only half the voting population if that) are in a majority for Obama (as of today).

    Let me be clear on another note. Your country, Is up to its eyeballs in the same mess, and have been complicit all along. WHAT ARE THE ITALIANS DOING ABOUT IT? Yes they march in huge protests, to what avail?? And oh, how much easier to get the numbers up in a protest in such a small country compared to the enormity of distance from coast to coast in the U.S.

    For starters you cannot separate the Financial sector of the U.S. from its European cohorts. Please educate yourself on the World Bank, World Trade Organization, Bilderberg, and SPECIFICALLY on the BANK OF INTERNATIONAL SETTLEMENTS. ok? You need to get a VERY good handle on what’s going on before you start spewing hate all over the internet. It is propaganda that ends up getting alot of innocent people killed in this world. The U.S. is no different and there ARE many very good people in the U.S. and in the world. The real enemy is let off the hook by people like you, who are a dime-a-dozen these days, espousing divisions within the people of the world. Those who are responsible for the majority of problems are from both sides of the Atlantic. If you cannot see this nor understand it, you are ignorant indeed. And until the masses quit following the bait by their master elites, we will continue down the same road…..The bait being the propensity of humanity to find scapegoats. YES, scapegoats. The scapegoats are two-fold this time around: First and foremost they are the Muslims of the world. Second, they are the working classes of the U.S. Now think about that really hard: why do you think that both these groups are still a major threat to One World Government? Check out the Rockefellors, Rothschilds, Warburgs, Morgans and many other “families” and see what they have to say about the American Middle class. Unfortunately, the people took the bait in the U.S. but I think the biggest suckers are in European Union.

    There is a lot of greed in the U.S., there is no doubt about that. There needs to be an adjustment. Unfortunately it will be the poor and vulnerable that pay the highest price, as y tthose that have contributed and created the mess are and will flee.

    The HISTORY will once again be written by those perpetrating the crimes on humanity and on those citizens in the U.S. left to clean it all up. Just watch!!! Even now, people like Jim Rogers, who now lives in Asia is bitching up a storm about the federal reserve and other financial matters; as he lives comfortable and has taken all his assets out of the U.S. This from a man that has been a creator of the problems…google him.

    What is sad is that the Economic woes in the U.S. and European Union (who are both complicit in the affair….AND PLEASE STOP WITH the poor european “victims”….who should also have seen this coming….I knew it was heading here since 1987) is that it seems to be more important than the millions dead that the whole Western nations are responsible for.

    Sorry, You are as brainwashed in Europe as the many in the U.S.

    And Mary, YOU are not a victim, quit acting like one.

    When you say “.. but about just the economic consequences of this totally American scandal”, YOU are so unbelievably wrong. PLEASE educate yourself on the Federal Reserve, which is a Private Corporation with “member” banks…these member banks (where the shareholders are private families of very wealthy means) are on both sides of the ocean. Until you understand fractional reserve banking, credit default swaps, the federal bank, and the complete history, along with the Central bank of all Central banks: The Bank of International Settlements” located in Basle sWitzerland, Then you are just screaming more nonsense that will get humanity as a WHOLE on the right path.

    I have no idea where you came up with the idea that I said people are jealous of Americans??? Your comment: “It is not out of “jealousy of the American lifestyle”. I think George Bush said that and some of his Ilk.

    To be honest, I DO NOT love countries. I love people, PERIOD. And I care for people of all cultures and have had the honor of having friends from many different cultures over the years.

    You are nothing but a propagandist, and you know what? Its spreading. The problems in the U.S. are immense….AND mostly the problems can be traced to the same people….year after year, generation after generation doing the same number to people here as they have to others around the world. Until people all over the world start working together instead of against each other, like their masters want, then we will get nowhere.

  15. Hanson said,

    October 17, 2008 at 22:22


    I wrote: Then you are just screaming more nonsense that will get humanity as a WHOLE on the right path.

    I meant: Then you are just screaming more nonsense that will get humanity as a WHOLE off the correct path.

  16. Mary Rizzo said,

    October 17, 2008 at 22:47

    Hanson, very long post there. I don’t have time to address it now, but just in a general way. will attempt it tomorrow time permitting.

    General comments. Victim, yes, we are all victims of the corporate power, be it military, industrial, pharmaceutical, with the lack of decent public higher education accessible to all, to the sham that we can vote in change, that we as Americans are leaders of some kind, that our interests are them ones the world has to bend to. We believe in these things as Americans, because they are all such BIG things. You even put them beyond any kind of real control, although YOU foresaw it all.

    Sure, I worked, as did my father, 40 to 50 hours a week, paying taxes and expecting to be getting something from them that was more than just more military action and protectionism that brought about more social unrest internationally. Of course, I could list dozens of ripoffs, healthcare wise, legally and for personal freedoms affecting myself and my family, but I won’t bore anyone with that. I just selected one example of a problem that a working person might find in the USA, you have an unexpected health problem (and this was with insurance!), and you are doomed to pay for years in order to cancel that debt off. (Do you think 7000$ is reasonable for an ambulance, X-rays, ER and a visit from the Pulmonary and Coronary surgeons?) I think it’s a bit much… Something like this is unheard of in Europe.

    I don’t mean to go into every problem, as I know that citizens of the world suffer far more than Americans do, and America has made sure that every nation, my own included (before you ask, yes, I am an Italian citizen) are only dancing to the music America plays. Italians demonstrate, I know, it changes nothing. But they don’t seem to have the total amnesia or apathy that Americans have.

    Sure the markets are connected, but this Freddy-Fanny-AIG crack is Made in USA. Anyone telling you it was an international problem is fooling you. It is NOW, but it was created by the American financial wizards, so that people had that old optimism that comes with owning things and buying it on credit.

    I would love people to work together, but Americans think they have the solutions, they do not realise they are part of the problem. They really do think that theirs is the greatest nation on earth, and until they stop this, they will be the ones dividing humanity, as you accuse me of doing.

    I would like Americans to wake up, quit with the shows and noise and shoving useless politicians at us. That will not happen, now or ever. There is no grassroots movement in the US that lasts longer than a season. Well, maybe for whales or something, but for people of the world, it’s a question of fashion.

    Now they love the Tibetans. Last year it was the Burmese, They are really supporting the Georgians, they love the Darfur people, they do all kinds of big expensive concerts to save the world…

    but do they EVER care about the Palestinians?
    Do they really give a damn about the Afghanis?
    Let’s not forget the Iraqis.

    These are causes that are not fashionable, and therefore, Americans will never care and never make any change happen there… or at least


  17. Mary Rizzo said,

    October 17, 2008 at 23:07

    Thanks Linda, your feelings are well understood. The feeling of impotency is what is being sold to people. I wish your feelings were being acted upon by a lot of people by a true protest vote for Nader or McKinney. To at least leave a message that corporations are not what really matter.

    I was looking for a quote and found this, which relates somewhat to Hanson’s expression about the historical fact that Obama is black (but Hanson recognises he is corporate and will not vote for him)

    from Malcolm X
    Malcolm X:”I must emphasize at the outstart, that the Honorable Elijah Muhammad is not a politician, so I’m not here this afternoon as a Republican, nor a Democrat, not as a Mason nor an Elk, not as a Christian nor a Jew, not as a Catholic nor a Protestant, not as a Baptist nor a Methodist, not even as an American. For if I was an American the problem that confronts our people today would not exist. So I stand here as what I was when I was born: A BLACK MAN! Before there were any such things as Democrats or Republicans, we were black. Before there were any such things as Masons or Elks, we were black. Before there were any such things as Jews or Christians, we were black people. In fact long before there was ever any such place as America, we were black people… And after America has long passed from the scene there will still be BLACK PEOPLE. They send prostitution to pacify us. They send alcohol into Harlem to pacify us. Why you can’t get prostituion in Harlem without the whiteman’s permission, you can’d get alcohol in Harlem without the whiteman’s permission. Everytime you break the seal on that liquor bottle, that’s a government seal you’re breaking, Oh I say it time and time again, you been had, you’ve been hoodwinked, bamboozeled, led astray, run amuck !!!

  18. Edna said,

    October 17, 2008 at 23:07

    ha ha it’s always good to say what you mean
    but if americans are so wonderful at heart, I mean, really good people on the inside like Hanson says, how come this country has been responsible for invading and/or starting so many wars in so many places, just since the 2nd world war? Wiping out tens ofmillions fo pepole, far far worse than the Nazis coud ever have dreamed up. Is there no such thing as collective accountability?

  19. Edna said,

    October 17, 2008 at 23:13

    Maybe agent Hanson could tell us at which point the beautiful people of AmeriKKKa will start paying reparations to Vietnam (yes, 6 million genocided there), not to mention Iraq. That’s the bottom line, really.

  20. Luath said,

    October 17, 2008 at 23:54

    Hi, Mary. I have beem readng your post and while I agree with you on some points, namely, that americans care only about the “latest” fashionable culture in trouble this week, which I find abhorrent and shallow, I disagree with you on other points. Why on earth would you want to join and be a part of the European Union? Italy is the seat of the Catholic church, and as well read as you seem to be, I was surprised that you chose to become an Italian citizen, thus being an enabler to pedophiles. You pay your italian taxes, right?You appear to be a champion for the underdog, which I like. ( I read your biography) You support the Palestinian cause, great! Why then would you turn around and give a nod to the revival od the old Soviet Union, because that is what the EU is becoming. A one size fits all kind of mentality, just like communistic thought. And of all the countries to flee to, Italy is the one you choose. Granted, your last name wouldn’t play very well in Somalia, which was an Italian “protectorate”, but I don’t understand the need to wash your hands of americans because you “saw” the light and got out while the gettin was good. I have never voted. Not once in my life. I do not pay taxes, of any country. I am one of those who saw what was coming and took Timothy Leary’s adage of tune in turn off and drop out, to heart. I despise this system.Why do I not leave? WHERE would I go that has not felt the boot of american democracy? Where? You say that Italians aren’t apathetic, they are aware of whats going on……and? I went to Mexico many years ago, and wanted to live there for the rest of my life. However, that would mean taking a job, a home , and/or a piece of land away from a native Mexican. What integrity is there in doing that? What you have done is go to Europe which is already teeming with refugees from places far worse than the USA, and you have taken the livelihood from a native Italian family who, without your arrival, would have been able to survive in their own country. Now, they must compete with yet another foreigner, you. You place yourself on a higher and more elevated level by your “awareness” of the depravity of american life, and exported it. How is that different from what the Peace corps does? What integrity is there in leaving this country and taking your american “values” with you? Then, you want the rest of us poor saps to wake up from the american dream and realize what we are doing to the rest of the world with our ignorance. While excoriating what america has done to the world, and I am in agreement with you on that, btw, you then turn around and do the very same thing. I don’t understand.

  21. mickey said,

    October 18, 2008 at 00:18

    It’s probably best for you to remain inside the USA for now, Luath, at least until you learn to read a text properly, because you will find that outside of the USA, it’s a skill which is regarded as essential. As Ms Rizzo tooks pains to explain several comments up to “Hanson”, she went to Europe to study and ended up getting married and living there quite by accident. It happens.

    And Luath: “I was surprised that you chose to become an Italian citizen, thus being an enabler to pedophiles….”

    Bit over the top, Luath. You should really get out more.

  22. Hanson said,

    October 18, 2008 at 01:13

    No, you don’t have time right now to address my post because you obviously do not know about the few organizations I mentioned and the ill effects they have had world-wide.

    Here is a link to an excellent 1 hour video. Its about the Argentina financial collapse. You will find the same organizations involved plus the addition of corrupted politicians, the purposeful spread of lax morals within the wealthier groups that always seems to trickle down, and much more that will show parallels on what is going to happen and what is happening in the U.S. You will note that there is ALWAYS an elite group of people and to a degree others that profit and benefit. The rest of the people do not. Those responsible for Argentina’s fall, the same Global International Banking and Finance organizations, are the same ones that have been attaching to their Host around the planet and sucking it dry….then they move on after everything is left in shambles. Argentina is healing, but things have been re-shuffled…many farms and individuals lost their lands. Its all an agenda as it is for the U.S. citizen.


    Also, when you speak of AIG: Did you know that AIG’s were very well in order for its regular investment segment? When it came to its Service side, those assets and investments were fine. It is and was the OTC’s (over the counter) investing, which is the un-regulated part and also the part that was flooded also with FOREIGN investors. Nobody twists these greedy bastard’s arms. There is a humongous Derivative/credit default swap market (OTC) that has nothing, absolutely nothing, to do with the productive economy. This is where all the problems arose, with the help of MBS (mortgage backed securities). On there own, the MBS catastrophie could have been handled. Alan Greenspan and many others knew exactly what they were doing. Now, go investigate Alan Greenspan…you will find him quite linked with foreign globalist concerns.

    JP Morgan, Goldman Saks, etc and the few of the Big Ones still standing cannot be understood unless you check the shareholders. Why do you think that this G7 meeting was called??? They called it to “straighten” out Bush, Paulson, and their main guy and liaison Ben Bernanke. Right after the meeting the U.S. started doling out cash to these banks to recapitalize. Why? Because the European fat cats are worried that they have taken their game a little too far and may even be hurting themselves.

    The real leadership is out of London. This is all been deviously concocted and people such as Rockefellor are even on record (from the 60’s) talking about their One World plans.
    Nobody is saying the U.S. is not culpable.

    I really question your agenda. I’m sorry, but I have seen these “articles” (a.k.a. opinions) before and they all pretty much say the same thing. And they all leave out important information regarding the Banking Elite’s that control everything. That is why I think you are another agent provocateur, or at the least someone whom is just copying others.

    I hate to bring you this news, but once the U.S. goes through its final crash the dollar will be worthless and the National Debt will be reduced forthwith….and then when the people can’t take it anymore they will be given their new currency. This will actually strengthen the Class of people who are most responsible….while the working class will be reduced further and disempowered even more….this will not bode well for the world (which by all accounts it should have by now, yet it is continually being propped up by the federal reserve by printing billions of dollars and then dumping them on Wall street….that is why the markets are volatile….every morning they open and within minutes are in tripple digit losses…then low and behold they shoot up; thats called the PPT, plunge protection team, at work)

    The divisions and hate you are espewing will only cause more innocents to die without solving anything.

  23. Sam Bolivar said,

    October 18, 2008 at 01:46

    A fine piece. I’ve been an expatriate for 18 years, and it’s changed my life for the better. I used to be a strong economic patriot – not only did I try very hard to ‘Buy American”, I encouraged friends & family to do the same. Now I actually have started avoided US-made products, due to this criminal administration’s evil deeds, as well as the poor environmental practices of many major US corporations.

    The USA is a failing state, on a downward slide towards the trash bin of history. I predict that within two years, the Dow will fall to the 6-7000’s or lower (probably after a relief rally soon), and US Treasuries will lose their AAA rating.

    Oh, and another NICE thing about being an expat is that you can avoid (unconstitutional) US federal income taxes. Tell ‘Uncle Sam’ to go f**k itself

    Please prepare for a true crash and recession/depression, my friends… I recommend buying (secretly, if possible!) silver & gold coins/bars. But beware – the feds have confiscated them in the past… Try to build strong ties with your community, and figure out who among your neighbors you can trust when (NOT if) things get desperate and brutal within the United States.

    Best of luck. May G*d be with you, your family and your friends.


  24. Help Me said,

    October 18, 2008 at 01:55

    Amerika is a horrific place to live.

    I could waste my time writing a long, drawn out comment filled with intelligence and secrets 99% of Amerikans are not even capable of understanding.

    But why?

    Straight and to the Point :

    Amerika is a horrific place to live.

    Flip on the Big Brother Box, have a sip of that dazzling Brave New World, and feel the Iron Heel as it repeats :

    “I Love Big Brother.”

  25. Otis said,

    October 18, 2008 at 03:41

    I’ve been an ex-pat for nearly a quarter century. I keep hoping that my “fellow Amer’kins” will wake-up and confront the problems deftly enumerated in the above article. Sadly, I see a country more & more dumbed-down, MacDonalized and obese from empty head to cheaply manicured toe. Willfully ignorant, brash and completely at odds with Reality. I guess Reality hates America ’cause it doesn’t agree with the Fantasy of being the best darn nation on the planet with God-given rights to control everyone & everything.

    I can only conclude that the USA no longer, if it ever had, exists.

  26. Mary Rizzo said,

    October 18, 2008 at 06:54

    Thanks everyone for the discussion. I really appreciate it!! (thanks Steve for giving this space for it!)
    Just a few very quick comments for now (later hope to respond more concisely)
    Hanson: sorry that my responses were “brief” but you have to realise that you are expecting things on your time zone, when I was writing, it was well past 1 am my time, and here, kids go to school on Saturday mornings, so I had to close shop and get some sleep because my day would begin 6 hours later. I was addressing the economic problem as ONE of the problems, and if you would like to state that others live on credit the way Americans do, come up with that evidence. They certainly don’t because they don’t have that culture, but they are getting there fast, and it will be hell to pay when they actually start to believe the MasterCard advertisements.

    Luath wrote:
    What you have done is go to Europe which is already teeming with refugees from places far worse than the USA, and you have taken the livelihood from a native Italian family who, without your arrival, would have been able to survive in their own country. Now, they must compete with yet another foreigner, you.

    M: I have not taken “a livelihood” from anyone. I came here with my own money, studied and worked (Italians aren’t used to that, I haven’t met many who are able to do both simultaneously, it’s either not necessary or they can’t find a job), paid for my own flats, bought our flat with money we earned, took citizenship because I fulfilled the requirements and frankly, after ten years, I figured it was time to just take citizenship, it would make getting documents easier, and here you need a document for everything. I opened my own laboratory, since that is how it is done here. If my work stands up for itself, I survive, if not, I will have to invent something else. I did not compete for any job, and if I had, what problem would that have been if my qualifications were valid, if I contribute to society paying every tax and duty that they ask of me? If you would like to know, to study in my field, there are only 2 programs in the US. Both of them required a degree in Chemistry (this is another one of those stupid American things, that they create a type of art restorer that in reality does not exist, the “scientist”) which I did not have. I am an Art Historian, painter and psychologist. I’ve been trained as an Art Therapist and I have become a translator. I think that I am not taking anything from anyone, but creating my situation according to my needs and abilities. Whether or not I do these things well or not is a different matter, but I am not competing in a market where there is a line of people I am cheating out of a job.

    If you read Primo Levi, he wrote a great short story about work competition. That the world is big enough, there is a place for everyone, if they are honest workers. It may or may not be true, but I am an honest worker, in fact, I get ripped off often for too much of that honesty. I would probably make ten times more money doing my work in the US, especially since I’ve been working with old master paintings for the past 18 years, after 3 years of very difficult studies, but I can’t see myself “adapting” to the American way for all the reasons stated above and more.

    I don’t want to sound snobby, and I knew that my criticisms would be interpreted that way by some, (this always happens, as if our criticisms are somehow tainted) but I find the US lacking in the authenticity one finds outside of it. I miss a lot of things about America, but when I make a list of them, they are never worth the exchange.

  27. G. McKee said,

    October 18, 2008 at 11:26


    I too am getting citizenship here because it will significantly reduce my red tape and paper chasing. In addition, I would like to travel to certain areas of the world as a tourist and don’t think I would be very safe on an American passport. Those inside the USA have no idea how the USA government is despised worldwide. I personally have never had a problem being an American here, as people here deal with you as a person – one on one. But its better to be safe than sorry.

    We experience the same level of red tape and endless steps to get simple things accomplished. As is true in Italy, the corruption is out in the open and no one trusts teh oliticians. That is why there is an entire underground economy of “black” money that is a signigfiant reason things don’t fall apart economically here. It’s not unusual for people to be carrying several thousand Euro’s on themselves during market day, out of the banks, and part of the vibrant and fluid economy.

    By the way, if you integrate into the culture, start speaking the language, make friends who are local citizens, then doors start to open up for you. You neighbor has a friend at the local registo who will take care of that piece of paper for you. The locals have learned how to get around the endless bureaucracy through networking on a local level. These people are not stupid and know how to get things done. Once they let you into their world, things get a lot easier. I am still amazed how these people approach a problem, not just a red tape problem, as they are very creative in getting around stupid laws, inefficiencies (which is built into the system), and roadblocks, but practical problems as well.

    You are judged in these cultures on your integrity, your word and who you are as a person and reputation is king here. What you are means nothing. Who you are is everything. I kind of like that. If this country ran as efficient as the USA used to, then everyone would come here to live and the place would be ruined. The challenge of living here is what gives the country it’s charm.

    Yes, we’re part of the EU, but it hasn’t become the opressing monster the USA has become, yet. If it does, I will take my EU passport and again vote with my feet and become resident and eventually a citizen of another part of the world where I can continue to realize the American dream.

  28. Mary Rizzo said,

    October 18, 2008 at 11:46

    You make a lot of good points, G., but I believe that the local networking for favours (corruption) is something that is terrible and that needs to be fought. It keeps the people “subjects” to a higher power (who is just a stupid office worker, usually, who got that “powerful” position due to connections, bribes, promises, etc.) It is a very “mafia” way of doing things and it is damaging to society as a whole. It is now the standard because it was allowed to happen.

    I refuse to give in to the nudges that tell me the “shortcut” for a small fee… I just won’t do it, and that does make things hard for me, because it is going against “the system” to fight the corruption, but this is the only way to stop it, if people realise that they don’t need to bend over backward to obtain their rights. Those who ask them to do this should be punished. I had to wait once for an “urgent” document for several weeks. I could have paid a few hundred Euro and had it the next day, but I would not do it. Everyone told me I was shooting myself in the foot, and I know it, on some level, but the buck’s got to stop somewhere. The red tape is slow just so that the kickback system can thrive. Just today, I had to set up an appointment for allergy testing. I will have the exam in MAY! IF I wanted it “sooner”, I could call for the private appointment with the same doctor and get it in two weeks.

    I refuse to do it, because this is what they expect of us, to give in to the corruption and make it the norm.

    Slowly, things will change, but getting that mindset eliminated has to start to happen.

    I know I sound like I complain a lot. I guess I want a combination of the good things from various systems.

    I do agree that if one goes to live abroad, they must learn the language. It is the only way to survive.

    The EU, exactly as you said, is not in any way oppressive or even that present! I wish it would unify its policies, but beyond that, it is almost only for the unification of the currency, which was hard at first (well, for Italians, who spent literally seven million six hundred thousand nine hundred and forty five Lire for a motorbike or something it was easier to count), because the value of the currency sank, but all in all, it seems like it was a good idea.

  29. Mary Rizzo said,

    October 18, 2008 at 12:35


    So the Vatican is in Italy. This is a problem for the influence it gives to our politicians, but your comments about vatican = Italy = pedophiles is of course over the top and if you stop to think about it, you will realise how silly it was.

    The EU is quite conservative, and as a matter of fact, is not that influential in all states as it should be. This would indeed threaten the US, but this is why they don’t do it. NATO is far more important than any kind of EU govt.

    As well, I don’t get your great pride in not paying taxes. How does one get any services without them? I believe they should be proportionate to the services allocated, but certainly they are necessary. You can’t have private enterprise control everything, that would be a disaster for anyone who is not rich or in some way able to fend for themselves.

    I don’t think I’m placing myself on a higher level. I am however totally disgusted with the American lack of self-scrutiny and capacity to assume responsibility for its crimes, disasters, errors.

    I think it is all epitomised in this American amnesia that forgets all the bad stuff like war, crisis, families facing disaster, and on 4 Nov all the balloons will drop down from the ceiling on cue, there will be “Happy Days are Here Again” piped in… and all that stuff.

    It is a show. If you can’t see it, I can’t help you.

  30. Stephan Z said,

    October 18, 2008 at 14:46

    Mary, I’m very happy for you and all other Ex pats. I only wish I could do the same, but being disabled, and now leaning on this (USA) system just for the basic means of survival, and watching the erosion of what used to be, I can only window shop for what it now means to be free. I have watched my life before me, only turn on me in a violent storm of beguilement, of what I thought and learned was true, and turned out to be smoke and mirrors, where survival of the fittest is common place. It saddens me for our children, for they will never see what life was 30 or 50 years ago, the level of oportunity given to all, and now taken away.
    I have watched my whole life savings go to support my family, and now it’s all gone. It is getting harder to just live within basic needs here, and I must only expatriat in my mind and heart. Good travels to all!

  31. Mary Rizzo said,

    October 18, 2008 at 15:36

    Stephan Z, I’m really sorry to hear that you’ve had those difficulties, especially with your savings being whittled away for the basic needs. NEEDS, that is the saddest part! People talk badly about a lot of systems, but it’s hard to not criticise the richest country on earth allowing its own people to lose what they worked hard to have, just to survive. It’s sad considering all the sacrifices people made to turn America into a rich country.

    But, you have something that I think is really valuable… you are able to see things for what they are. The deception that you notice in “what you were told” is of course painful. I really do feel for people forced into a kind of denial. It hurts to know how things are, but in the end, it is liberating somehow too.

    And, you never know, expatriating in your heart and mind might actually be the best move of them all. (It’s not easy leaving loved ones, it never has been, and for all the romantic ideas one might have of doing it, you leave your family, friends, culture, language, habits. You are very often very much alone, and this is something that Internet has helped to relieve some, but before internet, I would die until I had my once a month phone call day, spending my allotted sum of money, going without meals for a few days so that I could spare that luxury. When that last goodbye was said, tears started that kept flowing for a few hours). don’t think I’m being a victim, I’m giving a realistic picture of what some of the negative effects are.

    Wishing you and yours wonderful things!

  32. Luath said,

    October 18, 2008 at 22:12

    Mary, thank you for your comments. I certainly hope you find the freedom and peace of mind in Europe that you were unable to find here in the USA.
    I don’t “pride” myself on not paying taxes. I would gladly do so were it guaranteed that it would not be used against me as exploitation. How does one recieve services without taxation? I don’t know, Cuba seems to be doing OK. I don’t advocate a communist state at all, but one should give credit where it is due to the progress the Cubans have made without the Soviet Union’s help as well as the insane sanctions made by the US. I am not advocating living for free, at the expense of the feds, but it wears one down, progressively, over time, when one sees one’s efforts dismissed as obsolete, and then they lie constantly as they pick your pockets! It is very dehumanizing, but isn’t that why you left? I know what it is like to leave friends and family. Like I said in my previous post, I lived in Mexico, away from the tourist centers, so I am aware of the homesickness and the other negative effects leaving home can have.
    Also, I agreed with you on the disgust I feel for the americans wilful amnesia for the past. However, the capacity for self-scrutiny doesn’t really matter now that the damage has been done. I mean, its all well and good if one is able to comprehend the crimes of the past. But the damage is done and cannot be undone, no matter how “sorry” one is. The inherent psychopathology that pemeates the american culture, er, society ( we have no “culture” only remnants of stolen memories) is quite overwhelming at times. So tell me, where would I go to get away from the nature of the beast? Thanks to succesive regimes in this bubble of gas we call the USA, we are as hated as the gypsies, though for different reasons.
    I am very capable of scrutinizing and seeing the truth for what it is, but it doesn’t change anything, history is what it is. Even if, in an ideal world, united states citizens were to finally realize what crimes had been committed in their name and with their money, and were to make a complete turnaround, (I know, please don’t roll your eyes like that, just bear with me) would it erase the years of turmoil that have been caused? Would what remains of the native population praise the Great Creator for the occurence? would all be forgiven? Would we all, black and white, join hands in some great human bonding session? This in no way justifies continuing the wilful ignorance, don’t misunderstand me.

  33. Ed of St. Lou. said,

    October 19, 2008 at 05:02

    Mary, You said:

    So America, get on with your elections. But get it over with quickly. Put one of your favourite sons in office. It really doesn’t matter who it is. The rest of the world expects it will keep getting four more years of your war, your cultural and economic hegemony, your air and water pollution, your toxic waste and occupation of land and space. Four more years of your arrogance and refusal to apologise. Bring It On.

    Good stuff. There are those who set the agenda behind the scenes and no matter who is appointed our Dictator, this person has to follow that agenda. We are told that one side is for abortion, and that the other side is against it. We are told that one side is for more taxes, and that the other side is against it. And this goes on and on, and on. But the truth is nothing ever changes with these people of both parties, because there is an agenda that they both have to follow.
    What I have noticed is how hard it is to spread the facts about any subject – one on one. I went to an engagement party a few weeks ago, and when I got to talk about a few things political it wasn’t long before a control freak was trying to shut me up. This was one of my cousins. I went to a family picnic and I started making some political statements, and another one of my cousins was shisssshing me, and telling me to hush. Some other cousins couldn’t even begin to believe that the government lies to us about everything. And I went to the movies last night with my wife, and my cousin and her husband to see “W.” We were in seperate vehicles and my wife didn’t want to say a word about the movie. When I started to say something about it she said she didn’t want to discuss it. We went to a Restaurant and I said something politically ( remember we just saw the movie “W” ) and my wife immediately screams “We’re not going to talk about that stuff.” I have to admit that I got quite ticked off and I haven’t said a word to her since then. I’ve been married since 1971 and it dawned on me today that I married a control freak. Actually almost all of my girl cousins are control freaks. These people try to control those around them and what they want to talk about. This is really a sickness with millions of people. These people do not want to discuss the truth about politics, religion, or most anything else. And this on top of everything else could be one of the major reasons why nothing ever seems to get better. Think about it the GOVERNMENT is the ultimate CONTROL FREAKS! In the debates everything was conveniently controlled as to questions to the candidates. Not a word about 9/11 – the sole reason that we are in these wars. Nothing about the Federal Reserve – and how doing away with it immediately and going back to a Constitutional Money System backed by Gold, and Silver would immediately solve this money mess. Nothing about the Federal Income Tax and how there is no documents which say we have to pay taxes. No one was even asked why we are still supporting a war that we were conveniently led into through a pack of lies. The movie “W” does a splendid job in showing how there was no “Weapons of Mass Destruction.”

    Some good info on dealing with ” Control Freaks.”


  34. Mary Rizzo said,

    October 19, 2008 at 10:12

    Dear Luath,
    thanks for your other post. It made more sense to me. Yet, I do think that about one thing you might try to reconsider… that is the fact that saying “We are sorry” doesn’t change things. In fact, it is the only way to start to change things. No one in the world has ever head it coming from the US yet, and this is why the view of the US as an arrogant nation full of arrogant and blind fatsos is going to persist. There is a liberation power not so much for the person or people being apologised to, but to the ones doing the apologising. It opens the possibility that things can change. Isn’t change what you want, need, believe in? Well, the first step is to admit the responsibility for the harm done.

    I really would love to see this happen, as a first step. It might open the door to getting the other things to change. No, no descendent of the slaves is ever going to get his or her “four acres and a mule” as promised, but to hear loud and clear that their ancestors were exploited as slaves for the “needs” of the rich will help us see that things change, that a concept such as slavery even had its evolution. It was “the norm” and then it became a crime. Americans could gain from this, but then, so will the world. It will see that there is something really decent about the Americans. Right now, they are totally despised principally because they see themselves as infallible and in the position of a world leader when they are evidently not.

    Dear Ed, I don’t know what “W” is, I’ll have to look that up! But boy can I identify on that shusshing stuff! Let me tell you another story: 5 years ago, my father died and I came home to bury him and be with my family. It was the worst moment of my life, but it was also a strange moment because the US had just started a new war and I was jettisoned into a world I never knew. Yellow Ribbons, a patriotism I could not recall (I do remember the evening news, with the running list of the names of the Vietnam vets who would not be returning, all of us glued to the screen, because we had two cousins in there, but we were so much against that war, it was stupid, far away, demoralising… times were different).

    I was trying to avoid all political discussions, and was doing a very good job of it. I was meeting people from a different world, as my parents moved away from Chicago and into a rural area because my father was not breathing well and besides, couldn’t afford city taxes anymore (damn those taxes!!!) So, for the first time, met Republicans who lived on farms, didn’t have mixed race families, didn’t know Jews, Blacks, Russians… It was interesting to learn that they were on a human level SO kind, so generous, loving and just plain friendly. I felt welcomed to their families, homes… it was really different from Chicago where you won’t open your windows when you are sleeping.

    Well, I was grateful that I didn’t get into political discussions of any kind… until the day of the funeral. My father was a musician, and his group came to play at his grave. It was the most beautiful thing ever. I was crying and felt a combination of sadness over the loss and joy over the beauty that there still was in the world, and the love of other people for my great dad.. Then… after the funeral, we all went to a restaurant, and it started… “I heard you are the one like Salvatore. You are a real rebel…Right?” “No. I am for all the basic principles of the founding fathers of America, the freedoms and liberties and for democracy and equal rights and justice. There is nothing rebellious in that, is there?” “AH!!! Just like your old Dad, now….” and they wanted to get into the political fights they used to get in with my father. They were justifying the war, they were saying how if we let the terrorists win, we would lose all our freedoms, etc.”

    I said that I really couldn’t talk about it… I was “uninformed”, but mainly, I was watching my mother start to turn red and I didn’t want to make her feel bad when no fights should happen, just stories about how to best remember our beloved Salvatore, like all normal funerals should do.

    They persisted. I kept avoiding. Then one of my sisters said to me in French “Mary, just don’t get into any fights, if you do, I will clobber you”. I was shussing myself, because it was better that I do it to myself rather than someone else do it to me! And the sad part is, I was casting off all this body language that I was going berserk! The “sparring partners” of my Dad noticed it, he and I have always been that way, and they went in for the kill… Going into that, “We saved Europe’s ass in WW2, now they owe us the return on the favour!”

    I exploded (as he did). We both know that the Americans came in when Italy already resisted and won its war. When the millions of dead were already in their mass graves and when the Russians had already defeated the Axis. I gave them “a history lesson”, and what did I get from my family, who knows better because that is our history, SSSHHHHHH!!!!!

    I went for an hour long walk. Well, I needed to work off those heavy dishes!

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