From a different shore

If you haven’t already, you should read this article from The Atlantic: To Make America Great Again, We Need to Leave the Country

An excerpt:

Young Americans who see this country from different shores can’t help but conclude that something is awry in a political culture that denies what they plainly see elsewhere: health care systems that provide better outcomes at lower cost and for everyone; better airports, faster trains, more extensive urban public transportation–and even, amazingly, better highways; more upward mobility (yes, the American dream is now more real in many other countries than it is here); more sustainable energy policies; elections that work more quickly and inexpensively, with more rational discourse and greater citizen participation. The list is long.

These young Americans usually return with an openness about the world that many of their parents lack. No less patriotic than when they left, they see how curiosity about other ways to do things can only make us a stronger country. They were taught, as we were all taught, that the U.S. was built to greatness on ideas borrowed by the rest of the world and improved here.

This article pretty much sums up one of the main reasons why I chose to move overseas, chose to be an ex-pat. It is, in a way, my form of protest against a governmental system that isn’t working, against an insular or isolationist mindset that plagues not only our politicians’ speeches but also the average person’s worldview. Or so I perceived four years ago, and I admit, it is one of the reasons why I am reluctant to move back to the United States. Various things, conversations, keep reminding me of the end date of my visa and I hate to think about it. (Please. Please people, stop asking me what I’m going to do after I finish my PhD. Let me write the darn thesis first, will you?)

And yet, I cannot help but be slightly convicted by his argument that young Americans who travel and live abroad should return to the U.S., bringing with them their experiences and knowledge gleaned from other shores. ‘True voyage is return, says Odo in The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin. But when one has made one’s home in another country, to where does one return?