Friday, August 10, 2007

The Chip On My Shoulder

Having returned to Nashville recently, everyone who I saw wanted to know what I missed about the USA and what I liked better about Italy. It was a difficult conversation and one that I wasn’t prepared for, so I thought some preparation for my return at the end of the year is in order.

The preparation is for me, and those who might ask the same questions. I have already been told that before I return I must "get the chip off of my shoulder", but I have come to the realization in the past few days that the chip is there to least for a little while.

I’ve had a dream for years to live in another country and learn another language. It all started with reading Frances Mayes Bella Tuscany and Under the Tuscan Sun, and telling my husband then that I wanted to sell our house in Alexandria and travel to Europe with the kids until the proceeds from the house ran out. Well, the answer was a flat out no then, but the idea remained, and grew and finally became a reality. Another prompt to move from the country was when George Bush was elected.


When I was young (too young to know any better), I was a republican, up through the days of Ronald Reagan, who I adored. Although many of my views were Democratic while Reagan was President, it was easy to see "the other side". When Clinton became President, I clearly "converted" to a staunch Democrat, and my already liberal views continued to move rapidly more and more left.

When Bush ran against Al Gore, and the polls all said it was close, I never believed it. When Bush was elected, I was shocked and appalled. I still have doubts that Bush was legally elected. ( I prefer to believe in the "conspiracy theory" than to believe that a majority of my fellow Americans would consciously make the decision to put him into office.) It was at this time that I thought....." I am not like the majority of Americans who have elected this man into office!" Also, since I believe in free will and choice, and the premise of "love it or leave it", the idea to leave the United States started to surface because of political reasons.

The second time that Bush was elected, not only did I know that I was not like the majority of Americans, I thought that the majority of Americans who made the decision to re-elect this incompetent who had lied, has no intelligence, and is the biggest security threat to Americans that has presented itself in years, were/are crazy. At this point I knew that I felt strongly enough about this that I must leave the country.

Some of you are not surprised about these comments and have heard me exercise my constitutional right of Free Speech before around this issue. I knew that if I left the country, I would get a different perspective around George Bush, The USA, and Americans. Well, it was true, I did, and many of my observations, interpretations, learnings, and conclusions are not favorable.

This does not mean that I do not love my country. I do. I also cannot say that George Bush is responsible for all of the actions that America and Americans take around policies that affect the rest of the world. Until we as Americans start realizing that it is not all about us, not only about today, and not be so concerned about how it is going to affect the conveniences in our lives, America and Americans will be viewed as "spoiled brats" by much of the rest of the world. I have man questions about the direction that we are taking, the impact on the rest of the world, concerns about how the rest of the world views us, and concerns about how our actions in the USA and outside of the USA endanger us and our future.

Seeing how other people live, hearing them talk about things they think are important, it is clear to see that people are more alike than they are different all over the world. I won’t go into specifics about my political beliefs and some of the ways that I have changed, and I will return to the US, because I have not determined what my options are about living somewhere else permanently, however, I will remain an "ex-patriot" in my heart.

I write this to you as I said, in preparation for those questions....."What did you miss?" "What do you like better about Italy?" Here are the answers. I missed all of you, and sour cream and my cats. That’s all. What do I like better about Italy? Everything.

Now, I have said enough so that you can see that I do have a chip on my shoulder, and you know a little bit about why. If you want to know more, we can have a conversation and I will defend my position and you can defend yours. One great hope I have for the future of America is that George Bush cannot run again. This is a fact and one thing that makes the thought of returning a little easier. I do have a lot of fear around who will be elected next though! Get a clue people!

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