Escape from America

I recently ran across a reference to a forthcoming new book, “Getting Out: Your Guide to Leaving America,” by Mark Ehrman. Here’s the blurb for it from Amazon:

Had enough?

Whether you find the government oppressive, the economy spiraling out of control, or if you simply want adventure, you’re not alone. In increasing numbers, the idea is talked about openly: Expatriate.

Over three hundred thousand Americans emigrate each year, and more than a million go to foreign lands for lengthy stays.

“Getting Out shows you where you can most easily gain residence, citizenship, or work permits; where can you live for a fraction of the cost of where you’re living now; and what countries would be most compatible with your lifestyle, gender, age, or political beliefs.

So if you’ve had enough of what they’re selling here and want to take your life elsewhere – well, isn’t that the American way? At any rate, it’s not illegal. Not yet, anyway.

I have not and probably won’t read this book, so can’t vouch for its usefulness, accuracy, etc. But it’s highly interesting that it is being published (and marketed in this way), and I will be curious to see how well it sells.

Not surprisingly, many people write to me because they’ve found my website while searching for information about how to move to Italy. A largeish proportion of these, and others who share their goal, phrase it in exactly those terms: “I want to get out of America.”

You may think: “Who cares? They may be wanting to get out, but there are tens of millions of immigrants wanting to get IN.”

Yes, but” Those trying to get in are mostly economic migrants, for whom America is still the land of opportunity – or at least a lot more opportunity than where they came from. Even minimum wage and no health care at Wal-Mart looks better than starvation.

But the people looking to get OUT of America are most often liberal intellectuals, educated people who have much to give their country, but find themselves increasingly troubled by what America seems to be losing: freedom, dignity, tolerance, righteousness (as opposed to self-righteousness – got plenty o’ that).

I am already expatriated, but in the last few years, I’ve had several moments in which I thought of renouncing my American citizenship. Abu Ghraib was the first: an America that tortures is not the America I thought I knew. (And now: go ahead – it’s legal!) The second moment was Hurricane Katrina. An America that can leave thousands of its own people to die in squalor and think it’s doing a good job – that’s not the America I loved.

And now habeas corpus is effectively suspended. On any visit to America, my (non-citizen) husband could be thrown into prison on the government’s whim, for any or no reason, and held without trial, even tortured, indefinitely. It could even happen to me, a regular US citizen.

I could turn a blind eye – my family don’t have Muslim names or brown skins, surely we’re safe? But I have friends with both brown skins and Muslim names. What happens to them, happens to me. And what’s happening now should not happen to anybody. In civilized countries, even terrorists get trials. Hell, even in Iraq, Saddam bloody Hussein is having a trial with a lawyer for his defense. How can America – ostensibly bringing the fruits of democracy to Iraq – do less?

Something is seriously broken in America. No wonder that many “native Americans” are thinking about getting out.

Your thoughts?

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