Is It Time To Get a Divorce from America?

Anyone who's tried to counsel a friend who's in an abusive relationship will recognize the pattern. The abusee stubbornly holds on to the hope that the abuser can be reformed. She may welcome the sympathy of friends who try to comfort her, but if they firmly suggest that she get out of house and hire a lawyer to begin divorce proceedings, she rebukes them angrily.

That's what I encounter over and over again as an American expat who urges people who are righly afraid of their government to make some preparations to leave the country. They're more than ready to tell you about the fear they feel because their privacy has been breached, their vote left uncounted, their children sent to war, and their liberty and even lives threatened because of their religion, ethnicity, gender orientation or political beliefs. But watch out if you ever suggest that it would be prudent for someone in their position to consider "getting out of the house" before this obviously dangerous abuser makes good on his threats.

Their emotional reaction is especially telling because moving out of the country was no big deal until a few years ago. For years, people have been retiring to Mexico and Central America to enjoy the warm winters and lower cost of living. Why is it OK to leave the United States to seek a better climate or a cheaper condo but anathema to depart for a place where your phones aren't tapped or detention camps aren't being readied for troublemakers like you?

The best I can come up with is that the answer lies in the emotional connection nearly everyone has to their "homeland." People may dislike or even hate their country's leaders, but they still think of that particular piece of real esate as their "fatherland" or "motherland." And it isn't so much that they love their country as that they need for their country to love them. Who wants to feel rejected or abused by the culture in which they were raised? It's a very hard thing to accept that the place where you live is going to give you nothing but pain because you're black or gay or Muslim. It's terrifying when you're offered the impossible choice between being an outcast--or even outlaw--and changing the very way you think and feel about society or religion or war. The worst thing is that it's not only the government or its leaders who pose the threat but also the majority of your fellow countrymen who either support the growing repression or acquiesce in it.

Divorce is one of the most devastating of life's experiences. Some people will endure alcoholism, infidelity, beatings and even death threats to avoid severing a relationship that they hoped would last a lifetime.

Coming to the realization that you no longer fit in where you were born is traumatic as well. People try to hold on to the smallest positive sign--an "antiwar" candidate's primary victory in a liberal state; rumors that a grand jury will indict a key figure, bad poll numbers for Bush--as an excuse to do nothing in the way of preparation for the possibility that things won't turn around.

Consider that the situation may have reached the point where there are irreconcilable differences between you and the United States of America in its 21st century manifestation. Like the bruised spouse of a wife-beater, it may be time for you to at least get your own bank account, talk to friends about moving in with them, and meet with a lawyer about filing for a restraining order.

Unless you're sure that things will be better from now on.

Interesting Synchronicity

It's interesting that I found this article on "divorce" and abusive relationships right after I found your article "NeoCons Are Busy Covering Their Ass(ets)" at through

Personally, I've contemplated all of this topic matter for a long time. I've been hoping to cultivate some inside contacts within the US government so I can place some "put options" on the next 9/11 so I'll have a bank account I can call my own and which I can move to a foreign clime. Lacking that (and a job), I guess I'll look for some friends I can move in with...

Keep up your good work, Ezekiel...