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07/10/2006 Archived Entry: ""On my coming expatriation""

"ON MY COMING EXPATRIATION." No, not mine. The Dunedan's. He's leaving the U.S. for what he sees as freer places. His explanation is eloquent.

I've heard so many expatriate friends and acquaintances talk about the same phenomenon -- the sense of oppression and paranoia that lifts when they settle in a country where the police aren't prowling for harmless people to arrest and where the airport security apparatus is some old guy smiling as you pass through a metal detector.

Sometimes I think, "They're merely experiencing the lightness of being in a new place. Wait'll they settle in and discover the checkpoints, the bribe-taking, the anti-gun laws, the four-month waits for government phone service" -- or whatever. But one after another, they keep telling the same tale. They keep saying that the U.S. has become a brutal, paranoid security state where citizens creep around in fear of The Authorities, and that we don't really see the fullness of that violent insanity until we step out of it.

Sometimes I think my dogs are the only thing keeping me here. Well, that and the fact that while a lot of countries may truly be more laissez faire in an everyday sense, the U.S. still stands (however precariously) on sounder principles. Increasingly, though, I find my mind following those who go.

Posted by Claire @ 11:41 AM CST

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