Listen, I don’t hide that I’m often embarrassed of being an American. Every day at work, someone will bring up a terrible news article from the States, like the president supporting a pedophile for Senate. Or about K9 units being tied to police brutality in the States. Or, maybe, the other military crash (This time, planes) in the Pacific? For some people, it’s always tied to a President.
Bush, said really stupid things, put Americans through two wars (which we are still in), damaged the education of the United States with No Child Left Behind, and promoted the tax cuts and policies which helped crash the economy in 2007-2009.
Obama, apologised for American crimes (Which to some, is seen as weak), then did multiple drone strikes in the Middle East, while being soft on Wall Street after they destroyed the economy. But, he didn’t sound like an ignorant redneck, so that was helpful.
And now Trump. I can’t even utter everything terrible he’s done, because then this blog would need to be rewritten “30% of the US, Russia and Electoral College; elected a fucking moron.”
No, I’ve been pissed for awhile on so many other things.
I used to be proud of my work ethic. I was notorious for staying late; going to university full-time, while working full-time and constantly giving 110%. I was rewarded with layoffs, stagnant careers and a slow reach of getting nowhere. I was constantly exhausted, sick and desperate to get out.
When we moved to England – there were a lot of reasons why. The joys of growing up on the poorer side of the American economy was I didn’t see an out there. Even if we moved cities it still had the specific issues I couldn’t work past:
- Private healthcare (which is ridiculously expensive)
- No minimum required paid Maternity leave
- No minimum required vacation time and pay
- Bad, underfunded public transportation
So after a year and half of working full-time in the UK, with all of these things – I’ll be honest – I’m terrified to go back home. If we go back home, I will now have my employer dictating when I can have children (Because some jobs, that do offer maternity leave, require at least 1-2 years working for them to get the benefits), and even then, it would be 12 weeks, if that.
- Not to mention, taking Maternity leave can be a career death sentence in the States. If you do not return to work as soon as possible, you often get trapped in a cycle of no promotions/mid-level max, until you either A) Get laid off or B) Quit. Which, unless you have a new job lined up, staying home with the kids can block you from ever re-entering the workforce, regardless of how skilled and great at your job you are.
We would go back to no vacation time required – So if we are lucky, we get back to 10 days, which even my best jobs rolled sick time into that.
I’ve pondered on what my options are. Do we go back and fight for these rights, or do we stay in foreign countries that actually care about the well-being of their people?
Sadly, for us and because of our pre-existing conditions, we feel like we need to stay away. If we come home and fight, it could be 10-20 years before changes are implemented, and by then, we might be dead or in poverty. No, this is a healthy, well-educated, wealthier person’s fight.
But they won’t. Because they don’t know what it’s like to suffer. They don’t understand what it’s like be in this position. That’s because the United States is a country of two different worlds. It’s a First World Country peppered with Starbucks and Chipotles, with a Developing Nation all throughout it. You have pockets of extreme poverty, little-to-no education, police states and other things that you read about in the “scary parts of the world,” in your own backyard.
Yes, the States has freedom. So does everyone else in the developed world. We are prideful of being a country of immigrants, while taking every opportunity to demean them. We praise our diversity, while being openly racist. It’s gross and it’s so common, you have to be blind to not see it.
So on this Thanksgiving, we will be eating a chicken, pretending it’s a turkey, while watching “The People Vs. O.J. Simpson,” on Netflix, with glasses of red wine; with the knowledge, for at least now, we live in a country which puts a healthy, happy workforce of grunts above the principals of working employees to death and making them afraid.
In the way of home, this will be something I’ll state in my handholding “I’m thankful for…” speech.
And we will go to sleep feeling guilty that we got away from the States, but will be reminded that we could be right back in that position if we do not secure visas.
We have a problem, Home. We are fucked up, racist warmongers, who are determined to work people to death, take away our rights to be humans and are literally hoping to force people to die or become bankrupt for “Personal Freedom.” That’s not a good place to be; and even Trump’s terrible tweets will not take away from the fact that we fucked up a long time ago.
The featured image is of the Leeds Corn Exchange, from an unusually sunny day when I was on a mission to buy some international beers.