As the numbers of expats continues to increase in the “less developed” countries of the world, those who have made this life changing decision are expressing their reasons for leaving their respective countries in different ways than before.
In years past, people expressed a desire to live in a different climate, or an interest in experiencing other cultures and learning a new language. Of course, there are many who wanted to make their dollars go farther in a country where living expenses were much lower than in North America or Europe. All these are valid reasons for setting up shop in a new location, but the world climate has changed drastically in the past decade and has presented several more important reasons that some people now find it necessary to leave their home countries. One of the main reasons is that many feel they have lost their faith in the hope that things will get better.
The post 9/11 world is very different than it was in the 80’s or 90’s. Iraq, Iran, Afganastan, Lybia, N. Korea, Venezuela, Greece, Spain, China, Russia, Great Britain, the United States, and many other countries are in the news on a daily basis for economic, political and military reasons and the numbers of people who disagree with their government’s policies continues to grow an a daily basis. In the US, many have finally come to the harsh realization that the government is and has been operating outside of the confines of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights to the point that it is now expected and indeed accepted as the standard. A recent CNN poll indicated that 74% of Americans believe that the political system is broken and 51% believe there will be “major political upheaval” in the next 10 years.
Many Americans now understand that the governmental institutions that were formed by the founding fathers to protect the people from a tyranny have been compromised.
The electoral system has been corrupted. Voting machines manufactured and controlled by Sequoia and Diebold have been exposed as being influenced by political and corporate interests (you can’t vote ‘em out). The judicial system is corrupted, evident by the numerous un-constitutional decisions and the refusal to hear critically important cases that threaten political and corporate interests, (you can’t have then arrested). The mainstream media has been corrupted. The court of public opinion is manipulated by the same corporate and political interests, so as to prevent Americans from knowing the truth about how we have been led to this sad state.
Is it any wonder why so many in western countries are fleeing what they see as a formation of an atmosphere that nurtures and promotes despotism?
The Forest for the Trees
I suppose it’s a mixture of feeling guilty and lucky at the same time. Having left the U.S. almost two years ago in the hopes of finding a place where things were a little less stressful and where people were a bit more… human. I say that not because I feel the people of the U.S. have lost their humanity, but because the living conditions imposed by an increasingly totalitarian corporate plutocracy have become inhumane.
Being swallowed and assimilated by the “corporate borg” happens over a period of time and is not noticed or perceived until one is completely consumed by it to the point that there seems to be no other way of living. Boiling the frog.
Maybe I am still being naïve, having grown up in the era of peace and love, too much of an idealist, thinking that the world could actually evolve into a culture that values the human spirit where charity, compassion and a genuine feeling of self satisfaction from helping others overrules the desire for self gratification. (Smacks of idealism, doesn’t it?
But then, what’s wrong with hoping and striving for the ideal? After all, if you don’t shoot for the stars, you’ll never make it to the moon.)
My own experiences in the US had left me with a sense of betrayal. Over a period of time I have seen people whom I trusted and cared for be seduced by the pursuit of the almighty dollar and the things it can buy, while losing sight of their own life mission and principals. The chase of financial security has its price in the form of sacrificing the values that helped to make the US the wonderful country that it once was. I suppose that the slow and incremental advance of mandatory corporatism into the lives and psyche of America was inevitable, given that so many grew up in an era of prosperity and decadence. The idea that “Money makes the world go ‘round” has been mistakenly been prioritized to supercede basic human necessities and common sense. Sorry. That doesn’t work for me. I am a human being first. Maintaining my status as a corporate entity known as a “person” doesn’t even register on my ‘to do’ list.
For many Americans, the thought of leaving the “sanctuary” of the US with all its familiar surroundings is a bit scary. At first, my intentions were to see how the “other half” of the Americas lived. I had heard of the simpler lifestyle, the more laid back attitude of Latin Americans and of course the fact that the dollar goes a lot farther.
What I found was much, much more.
Living in a culture that has a higher regard and awareness of its humanity and is more in touch with the rhythms of the seasons has a tendency to bring one to the realization that all the intoxicating creature comforts available in the so called “first world” countries can’t hold a candle to what is offered in a more simple, rural environment.
When faced with the reality that it is the simple things in life that are important, all the other things like possessions, status, recognition and peer acceptance fade away.
Food, shelter, clothing, friends, family and love are re-established as the priorities and are recognized as the indicators of true wealth.
Until America and the rest of the rest of the “first world” sheds it’s misguided priorities and liberates itself from the corporate stranglehold that has polluted its values, the numbers of those hoping to “Escape from America” and become expats will continue to increase.
About the author: Dave vonKleist is an activist/musician and a broadcaster for 30 years. A talk show host for 15 years, he has been involved with many controversial issues such as the 9/11 attack and an advocate for veterans rights.
He now resides in San Rafael, Argentina