October 27, 2012
Do Not Tolerate Domestic Violence
I am not talking about spousal abuse. I mean the abuse heaped upon you by the United States government. The parallels are striking.
America claims to own you, and so you pay a heavy price for leaving as an expat. It cruelly invades your breasts and genitals through pat-downs at the airport. Then it does the same to your children. America swears it is protecting you while violating your rights at every turn; and you have become so brainwashed that you now mistake a fist in your face for safety. There is no respect and no honesty in the relationship the government offers you – only a self-serving contempt that erupts into violence. Your response is to return a love of country along with the money you earn, all the while making excuses for America’s bad behavior. Or, perhaps, you even defend America to critics.
I know how you feel. I was once in such an abusive domestic relationship that I am now legally blind in one eye from a fist in the face. After I managed enough self-respect to leave, one question haunted me: Why did I stay? Why would an otherwise independent woman allow herself to be literally beaten up when there were options?
The reasons are similar to why people stay in America. He expressed regret and swore he would “make it up” to me; I wanted to believe him because the love of a person diminishes slowly. He vowed to change; I hoped we could go back to before he exerted soul-crushing control of who I was and what I could do. I was frightened to be without him because I believed both his attacks on my self-worth and the pumped-up version of his own value. Besides which, leaving meant severing ties with close friends who would be called upon to take sides.
America and much of the Western world is doing much the same to you. Officials mouth regret at violations like a ruinous tax burden, and then offer entitlements with your own money. You stay because love of a country also diminishes slowly. America promises to change and you remember what “the land of the free” used to feel like; it was intoxicating. You now believe you are powerless while the government is a relentless Goliath. Besides which, leaving would mean moving away from family and friends.
But walking away was one of the best things I’ve ever done. It was also one of the most difficult. Despite my fears, however, I met someone else who taught me that love did not have to be packaged in bruises and pain.
There are places in the world that want you and they offer you respect instead of victimization. For example, a few months ago, Panama adopted a policy to make residency faster and easier. Executive Order 343 explicitly lists citizens of the United States as being welcome on its soil. In short, Panama created an entirely new immigration sub-category for you. And then there is Paraguay, which is welcoming US citizens with open arms and which won’t even tax you at all on any income from outside the country.
The first step toward personal or political self-respect is to explore your options. You may not choose to walk out the door just yet, but at least you will know where it is and how to turn the handle.
Wendy McElroy is a renowned individualist anarchist and individualist feminist. She was a co-founder along with Carl Watner and George H. Smith of The Voluntaryist in 1982, and is the author/editor of twelve books, the latest of which is The Art of Being Free. Follow her work at www.wendymcelroy.com
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