Harvest Moons and Politics(October of 1998, 2008, and 2018)

I am feeling reflective today when thinking about the past twenty years of my life.  My beloved and deceased mother used her unique expression of “hatch, match, and dispatch” when chronicling those three major milestones in life when we are born, partner with a companion, and leave this life and earth for either the next world or nothing at all.  It was twenty years ago when I was an unfortunate resident of St. Paul, Minnesota as a transplant from my native home in Chicago. This was the period in life when I struggled to be a “successful” musician and find a record contract for my derivative songs. I was lucky enough to be signed in May of 1998 to Jamesland Records in suburban Chanhassen(hey, Prince lived there before he died!) with local producer heard my “demo tape” recorded in April of 1997 at the Noise Chamber of Rockford, Illinois with a professional band(Bare Bones).  However, I was also introduced to the psychological anxiety of panic disorder and depression in the summer of 1998 after moving into an apartment with a woman who would soon become my ex-girlfriend. When the work day ended at Borders Books and Music where I was employed, I would take long walks down the streets of St. Paul and hoping that life would improve. The air had often smelled cleaner in Minnesota despite the fact that I  was a stranger in a strange land(you can view the Coen brothers’ film of Fargo from 1996 to confirm that Minnesotans are a strange breed with a ridiculous accent).  Bob Dylan relocated from the “gopher state” to New York City as soon as he had the chance during college. Yet, I completed college in 1996 with a Bachelors degree that would only guarantee a job in either retail or the food services industry; you would be correct to assume that the former is far more tolerable. Yet, I can still remember the yellow moon during those solitary constitutionals on the streets of St. Paul; I was closer to being Sinner Paul who was far more comfortable in the legitimate city of Chicago, and I returned home by late December of that year. Before leaving Minnesota, Jesse Ventura(wrestler turned politician) was elected as the state’s new governor, and I can only assume Donald Trump noticed that a lack of qualifications and political experience doesn’t preclude someone from achieving a job in government at the executive level.

The autumn of 2008 in Chicago was a better experience than ten years earlier, as I was a successful psychologist at Chicago Family Health Center on the Southside of the city. Yes, I was able to parlay my experience and recovery in treatment for an anxiety disorder into a career after completing a Masters degree in counseling and a doctoral program in psychology. I voted for Barack Obama when he ran for senator of Illinois in 2004, and his victory was the only bright spot in an otherwise depressing election; President-elect Kerry was denied his rightful job due to voter suppression in Ohio.  However, my job was to improve the lives of my patients through instilling hope and providing the symptom alleviation that can be gained through talk therapy.  Hope was a major theme for Obama’s presidential campaign, although it was high time for drastic change with an economy that collapsed through years of deregulation, predatory lending, and malfeasance by white-collar criminals. The vast majority of my clients were people of color from a low socioeconomic status, and they couldn’t be more excited about the possibility of electing the first African-American president; I didn’t mention in session that Obama was actually biracial due to his mother being a white woman, but we could all agree that he was a Chicagoan despite his birth in Hawaii(the state would later be conflated with the nation of Kenya due to the current president). Late October in Chicago was buzzing with excitement, and I was proud to be part of it. I can remember a harvest moon on Halloween night that was Friday when I helped my father with distributing the candy to children who stopped by the house; my mother was out of town and might have prevented me from catching a cold on that night. In fact, I was unable to attend President Obama’s victory party in Grant Park during the following week due to my sore throat and running nose. Regardless, I had never felt more proud to be a Chicagoan in the state where Abraham Lincoln and Barack Obama cut their political teeth before they saved the nation from itself.

It is strange when pride converts to shame simply because of a change that isn’t hopeful but based on the combination of fear and anger instead. I refer to Trump voters as “Trumpsters from dumpsters” because so many of them reflect the racist “white trash” that is an embarrassment to my race; they were duped by the sound of a dog whistle that has been blown for the sake of Republican presidential canddiates in elections since 1968 when it was initially referred to as the “Southern strategy.” I am not a resident of the United States today, and I am feeling pride in my decision to become an expatriate instead; my love for an Italian woman who resides in England has been a factor in changing both my life and location.  Nature has a way of levelling the playing field on this earth.  Actually, it was earlier today when we were greeted with a vibrant rainbow after a brief thunderstorm in the afternoon.  I don’t know about the outcome in the midterm elections in the USA during early November of next month, but I would be voting for Democrats again if I was there in person. The moon can be viewed whether it is seen from American soil or England’s earth from where two of my maternal ancestors(Priscilla Mullins and John Alden) chose to leave Surrey county in 1620.  I have atoned for their mistake made in pursuit of religious freedom, as a conservative “Christian” bigot such as Vice-President Mike Pence can turn the pursuit of freedom from religion into a noble cause.  Despite the nation of one’s location and the religion that corrupts it, nature can be experienced as an environmental gift that doesn’t require a formal purchase. The moon is shining tonight in Weybridge, and I am accepting this harvest as a warning that we reap the crop which is sowed into the earth. Trumpsters should be warned of when they plant the seeds that are fertilised with fear, anger, and hatred, well,  they can’t claim to be shocked when a shit tree blooms with turds on the vines. In late October of 2018, my harvest moon is shining as a reminder that we as humans will have to hatch, match, and dispatch before the sun can rise again in a new(better?) world to come.

Paul Haider, England

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The Cocoa Party(Nemesis of the Tea Party Who Became the Trumpsters)

It was in the summer of 2009 when we were initially informed of an American fringe group who protested President Obama to express their misguided anger(racism?) regarding their steadfast belief that he was a Kenyan socialist. This was in spite of the fact that the president wasn’t born in Kenya(the falsehood was initiated by pathological liar Donald Trump), and he wasn’t even close to being a socialist(Obama was a corporatist given his refusal to prosecute any of the financial institutions/banks responsible for the collapse of the economy in 2008). Actually, the racism of the Tea Party was misguided given the fact that President Obama isn’t fully African-American; he is actually biracial due to his mother, Dr. Ann Dunham, being a white woman who was born in Kansas. However, the protests of the Teabaggers continued with plenty of funding from Charles and David Koch, billionaire brothers who were also from the sad state of Kansas(the rock band of the same name wasn’t much better with their pedestrian rock songs in the 1970’s).  If I had a billion dollars to spare in 2011 for my progressive views, then I would have financed an archenemy of the Tea Party and named them as the Cocoa Party.  As a Chicagoan from the same city that became Barack Obama’s new home as a community organiser helping disenfranchised people(wasn’t this similar to the work being done by Jesus Christ from two-thousand years earlier?), I wish that my radical idea had been implemented before the Teabaggers had an opportunity to devolve into the White trash Trumpsters from dumpsters responsible for Donald Trump “winning” the presidential election of 2016…while actually losing by three million votes.  The Cocoa Party was well aware of the fact that ever since President Obama became the commander-in-chief, the overall taxes paid by the racist White people of the Tea Party had either remained exactly the same or slightly decreased; this was totally unacceptable to them because of the government’s new face having a skin colour that was much darker than their own.  The Teabaggers(tea bagging: a gay sex act in which one man’s testicles are dangled into the mouth of another man) were furious that they paid less in taxes than when the White man, George W. Bush, occupied the White House.  Those morbidly obese and gun-toting citizens wanted their country back, as the expression of taking it back referred to a period of time before the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act of the 1960’s; President Johnson’s legislation precipitated a strong shift of Democrats becoming Republicans in their response, especially in the southern states that had previously held contempt for Republican Abraham Lincoln’s much bolder initiatives during the 1860’s.

In hindsight, I have to ponder all of the things wanted by the Tea Party given a cursory glance at the modern Republican policies that impacted their taxes. Did they reject the concept of their taxes paying for a crumbling infrastructue of the roads and bridges on which they drove their American cars? Did the Teabaggers reject the idea of their taxes paying for public schools where their children would be “educated” for both grammar school and high school?  Were they opposed to the mail(United States Postal Services) being delivered to their home for six out of seven days during the week? Were they opposed to the fire department preventing the destruction of their home and the police department from protecting it when crime was committed? We know that Teabaggers and Trumpsters have never been shy about contacting the police whenever they see a suspicious person of colour in their neighbourhood; the suspicion, of course, is always related to the skin colour.  Finally, were the Teabaggers opposed to their taxes being converted into money for retirement in the form of Social Security? Did they ever realize that it was a form of socialism as indicated in the name(“Social”) of the “entitlement” program itself?  The nonexistent members of the Cocoa Party want to remind the Teabaggers that recent history hasn’t forgotten when the national unemployment rate reached 10.8% in 1982 during the first term of their patron saint, Ronald Reagan. In fact, St. Reagan raised taxes on eleven(!) separate occassions in seven of his eight years in the Oval Office; it was only in 1981 when a significant tax reduction occurred, and this exacerbated a severe recession that didn’t end until Reagan’s “fiscal responsibility” involved runaway spending. As a result, Reagan was responsible for tripling the deficit to a sum total of 2.8 trillion dollars by January of 1989; this was roughly three times as much as the first eighty years of the previous century from 1900 until 1980 had accumulated altogether.  Who can claim “fiscal responsibility” with those numbers?

As we’ve learned in the news recently, Donald Trump has created a deficit with tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans(the real intent of Reaganomics) for a projected deficit that will also reach a trillion dollars.  How can the clown car(the driver earned the nickname of Comrade Agent Orange Clown for his treason and buffoonery) be headed for anywhere other than off the financial cliff?  Let’s not focus on the fact that the “R” in the car stands for “Reverse”(Repugnantcan) while the “D” is for “Drive”(Democrat).  The Tea Party members claimed that TEA was an acronym for Taxed Enough Already; I claim that is was an acronym for “Totally Egregious Assholes.”  In fact, I would claim that “PARTY” was also an acronym for “Pathetic Angry Racist Tools Yelling” in their ridiculous costumes from the Revolutionary War. The election of Donald Trump has empowered the racists of America to the point at which the Revolutionary War costumes of Teabaggers have been replaced with the original white sheet robes and conical hats of the Klan; the “values” of white supremacists don’t have to be concealed any longer in Trump’s America. As the president and founder of the Cocoa Party, I would like to require the three prerequisites for membership: 1) you must be completely literate having completed Thomas Frank’s book What’s the Matter With Kansas?(2004) written by one author instead of reading the Libel, uh, Bible written by multiple male authors from more than two-thousand years ago, 2) you must have a three-digit IQ score(sorry, Teabaggers and Trumpsters), and 3) you must accept a fact verified by American historians that Franklin Roosevelt, a democratic socialist, was the USA’s greatest president. The Cocoa Party is open for business if a wealthy donor is interested in funding the nemesis of the Tea Party.  Of course, I have to admit that I didn’t realise the extent of the USA’s fall from grace until the Trumpsters voted for an orange clown with a long history of racism; orange is the new black, as the Netflix television series has confirmed.  It is an excellent period of time in American history to be an expatriate, and I am proud to have escaped an insane nation where the inmates are running the asylum.

 

The Balder Movement(Fake Hair Can’t Trump the Truth About a Bald Buffoon)

It was during the Spring of 2011 when Donald T’Rump/The Ass initiated the racially-charged “birther movement” with his false claim that President Obama was born in Kenya instead of Hawaii. In fairness, I should wait until 2019 to begin the “balder movement.” However, Comrade Agent Orange Clown could be in prison for treason and obstruction of justice by next year after Robert Mueller’s indictments stick to the “president” like white skin on a Trumpster from a dumpster. Propecia and Rogaine be damned, the Balder movement begins in earnest with an idea from a Chicagoan who is among the expatriate division of the Resistance from here in Weybridge, England.

President Barack Obama’s full length birth certificate was released in the late Spring after 2011, and it was shortly after he had 9/11’s criminal mastermind killed as a fugitive in Pakistan; it should be noted that Osama bin Laden originated from Saudi Arabia, the nation that was actually culpable for the events on September 11, 2001 instead of either Afghanistan(the biggest financial sand-trap of the Middle East since 1980) or Iraq(they didn’t possess any “weapons of mass destruction” either). I am currently viewing the birth certificate of a biracial baby who was born to Ann Dunham on August 4, 1961 in Honolulu, Hawaii at the Kapiolani Maternity and Gynecological Hospital; the address is 6085 Kalanianaole Highway in Honolulu(Aloha to Elvis!).  I am satisfied with the veracity of the birth certificate, but I am not satisfied with the “authenticity” of Donald Trump’s orange face and blonde hair. It is extremely likely that the “hair” of “billionaire” buffoon Trump is neither genuine nor real; this is similar to his marriage to Malaria, uh, Melanie, uh, Melania Trump, the existence of God(yes, this post was written on Sunday), and compassionate conservatism espoused by George W. Bush in 2000(Bush’s election “victory” in Florida was also a crock of shit). In fact, it is more than likely that given the poor quality of the dead animal on the head of Donald Trump, his hairpiece was not made in the United States but, rather, in a third-world country(Taiwan? Malaysia?? Kenya???) instead.  Given the abject poverty related to the continent of Africa(it is actually a country, according to Sarah Palin), the toupee of Donald Trump was most likely woven in the nation of Kenya; this indicates that the most conspicuous aspect of Donald Trump’s appearance, aside from his unnaturally orange skin, is neither an American product nor a legitimate resident that resides on the president’s head. In sharp contrast to both President Obama and the god, uh, boss Bruce Springsteen, Donald Trump’s hairpiece was not “born in the USA.”  The fabrication of Trump’s hair has resulted in the formation of the balder movement, which shall not go out of business in the same manner as the birther movement…as was the case with so many of Trump’s financial enterprises and failures as a con man, uh, businessman.  The balder movement will send a team of investigators to interview all of Trump’s wives(currently two ex-wives, if the Evangelical “Christians” are able to count), girlfriends(adultery and abortion are acceptable when the politician is a Repugnantcan, uh, Republican), and the fired contestants from The Apprentice/”Celebrity” Apprentice; all of these people will admit their relief to not suffer again from being in either the same bedroom or boardroom as Donald Trump. We can only assume that they are survivors of an orange trauma.

Mr. Trump can take some comfort in knowing that the greatest Republican president of the 20th century, Dwight David Eisenhower, was also a bald man; Ike didn’t have any “bone spurs” in his feet that prevented him from serving in the military to become a five-star general. In fact, President Eisenhower was a far more successful president than the hair-dyed nitwit who so many dumb Americans consider to be our best president of the 20th century.  St. Ronald Raygun, uh, Reagan attempted to dismantle everything created by our nation’s greatest president, a democratic socialist named Franklin Delano Roosevelt(this fact can be confirmed by erudite scholars and respectable historians who didn’t graduate from Liberty University).  Regarding the Evangelical “Christians” who are still supporting a bald traitor named Trump, the balder movement will also be investigating Jesus H.(Howard?) Christ in order to prove that he was not an American citizen, he did not speak English fluently(have you ever heard of Aramaic?), he was neither a Christian nor a Gentile(this is assuming that Gentiles are still not celebrating Passover and Hanukkah), and he never spent as much time with one woman(a wife, for example) as twelve other men whose feet were personally washed by him. Finally, the birther movement will begin the deportation proceedings for Santa Claus because the North Pole is much closer in proximity to Russia than Florida. Of course, we know already that many Floridians don’t have a problem with Trump “putting out” for Vladimir Putin as a traitor who won’t implement sanctions against Russia for interfering with our “free and fair” election in 2016.  Please support the balder movement if you want to learn the real truth(not even close to being “fake news”) about a lying and bald bastard named Donald J.(Jackass?) Trump. Your nation needs a patriotic commitment that can’t be performed by the commander-in-chief of the military; it is time to fight!

Top 20 Nicknames for Donald Trump: 20) Birther Buffoon, 19) BLOTUS, 18) Glutton with the red button, 17) Dotard Dunce, 16) Millionaire Man-child, 15) Baby Hands/Infant Brain, 14) Combover Clown, 13) Serial Spouse, 12) Apprentice Asshole, 11) Billionaire Brat, 10) Narcissistic Nitwit, 9) Ruler of the Trumpsters from Dumpsters, 8) Fucks News Fuckface, 7) Media Megalomaniac, 6) Welfare queen? Nope. Bankruptcy king with five previous filings, 5) Opulent Obstructer of Justice, 4) Racist Repugnantcan, 3) Bone Spurred Bonehead, 2) T’Rump/The Ass, and 1) Comrade Agent Orange Clown.

Paul Haider(President/Founder/CEO of the Balder Movement), England

Kanye the Jackass vs. Taylor the Democrat

One of the first blogs posts that I ever read was written by my friend, Mike Cookman, from Chicago in 2009.  For the most part, Chicagoans are filled with pride when a local hero has succeeded in the world of politics(Barack Obama, Ayanna Pressley), movies(John Belushi,   Bonnie Hunt, John Cusack), and music(Mavis Staples, Eddie Vedder, Jennifer Hudson). Yet, it was a shock to me when seeing the posted headline of “The Jackass” in reference to local singer Kanye West, a young man whose music doesn’t mean much to me given that his name missing from the twelve-thousand songs on my iPod by various artists. I was directed to a video clip of the American Music Awards in 2009 when Taylor Swift was speaking at the podium after being given the award of Best New Artist; Kanye West interrupted the speech after jumping on the stage like a raving lunatic to express his disapproval for Taylor’s victory. So, where did the reference of being a “jackass” derive in its pejorative usage? It was from none other than the President of the United States, Barack Obama, who had been a resident for many years in Chicago’s Southside neighbourhood of Hyde Park. The president was disparaging a a fellow Chicagoan for unacceptably rude behaviour that could be attributed to someone who is either impaired from drugs/alcohol or a narcissistic personality; the latter is the case with both Kanye and the current president, who started a false rumour in 2011 that his predecessor was born in Kenya. I am feeling a bit like David Letterman at the Oscars of 1995 with the similarity of first names in Oprah(hey, she was a Chicagoan for many years!) and Uma Thurman. Kenya! Kanye!! Jackasses!!! The odd spectacle of Kanye West’s raving in the Oval Office yesterday was related to the fact that the orange, uh, white man behind the desk has a horrible history of racism that existed long before he claimed the the state of Hawaii in 1961 should be considered the third-world nation of Kenya; I am certain that President Obama’s white mother, Dr. Ann Dunham, would have insisted on her firstborn child getting better medical care in Honolulu instead of any impoverished village where his father fled in search of a better life through education(University of Hawaii, Harvard University).

The odd spectacle of yesterday reminded me of when Elvis Presley visited Richard Nixon at the White House in January of 1970 in his delusional and entitled search for a license as a federal agent for the DEA; the irony is that Elvis was visibly impaired from barbiturates while meeting with Nixon and wasn’t in a position to extoll the virtues of sobriety from any personal experience. Perhaps the strange meeting of West and Trump yesterday reminded more of the sad sight when James Brown had misguidedly endorsed Richard Nixon for re-election in 1972 with the claim that Tricky Dick was a “good man.”  Obviously, James was on the wrong side of history with his political opinions despite the greatness of his stage presence and music; he could have also been either using the same drugs as Elvis or engaging in the lapse in judgment associated with Kanye’s obvious narcissism(insanity?). I am obliged to comment on the recent political courage demonstrated by Taylor Swift with her endorsement of Democrats to win their election in November for her home state of Tennessee. Once again, Taylor’s music isn’t to be found on any of the twelve-thousand songs on my iPod; the same can’t be said for either Elvis Presley or James Brown. However, I know that Taylor has a strong influence on her female fans who love her songs about adolescent pain from relationships that end in heartbreak. On the topic of these songs, I must admit that I prefer the words and music of Jackson Browne(more so than James Brown!), but I know that Taylor deserves plenty of credit for her creation of original music by a songwriter who can only improve with age.  It was recently revealed that the burning of Taylor’s memorabilia has begun by angry Republicans(men only) who feel betrayed by an artistic woman rejecting a political party of sexists and misogynists who seek to control the reproductive rights of another gender….because God is opposed to abortion? God is merely a concept by which we measure our pain and a way for humans to alleviate their anxiety related to death and nonexistence in the future. The burning of Taylor’s memorabilia reminded me of when the Beatles faced a backlash in 1966 after John Lennon said that his band was more popular than Jesus Christ in England. As an American expatriate who resides in England, I can write as a devout atheist that the Beatles are exponentially more popular in my home than Jesus Christ. In fact, four of the multiple male authors(Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) who created the fictional character of Jesus Christ, based on rabbi Yeshua ben Yosef, will never be able to compete with John, Paul, George, and Ringo for both credibility and creativity. Regarding the midterm elections in the “Christian” state of Tennessee with its hypocrisy and suppression of women’s rights, all that I can think of writing as a secular humanist is: “Taylor saves!”  Kanye West is not a musical genius, and Donald Trump isn’t a “stable genius” either. However, the Beatles were geniuses for their simple message of “all you need is love.” It is also true that love is stronger than justice, especially in the “Christian” nation where injustice occurs on a daily basis as democracy dies a slow death.

October 9: Birthdays of John and Jackson

I didn’t plan to write on the blog today until I realised the date of October 9th on the calendar. If you’re as connected with both Twitter and historical dates as me, then you would be reminded that today is John Lennon’s 78th birthday; John lived here on earth long enough to celebrate only his 40th birthday in October of 1980, the remaining birthdays were wasted due to a psychotic asshole having easy access to a gun loaded with six bullets. John Lennon’s killer(his name won’t be included in my post) robbed the world of a great poet and peace activist in addition to a stellar guitarist and songwriter with the ability to inspire. In the five months after John was murdered, there were assasination attempts on both the president(Reagan in March 1981) then and pope(John Paul II in April). The fact that both of these men survived the attempts on their life confirmed my theory that only great men are killed when shot by a gun; George Wallace, Larry Flynt, and Senator Steve Scalise also proved that mediocre men will always survive in a manner that wasn’t the same outcome for John Kennedy, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Bobby Kennedy, Harvey Milk, and Congressman Leo Ryan. Yet, I digress when thinking about injustice associated with “God as a concept to measure our pain.”  I listened to John Lennon’s song, “God,” from 1970 while laying in bed last night as my girlfriend slept beside me. She had asked earlier in the evening if something was bothering me, and my sour mood was partly due to the death of democracy in my former home known as the United States; I was also feeling a bit of survivor’s guilt from having escaped Trump’s America for a land where his voters don’t reside. Yet, I couldn’t help but to feel a little sad that John Lennon wasn’t alive to celebrate his 78th birthday for today. As his song “God” informs the listener who has been told that John doesn’t believe in the Beatles and isn’t the Walrus anymore, he leaves these brutal and parting words: “So, dear friends, you’ll just have to carry on. The dream is over.”  The dream is over, but the dreamer is still alive. In fact, he is also celebrating a birthday on October 9th.

Before escaping from the USA, I was fortunate enough to experience my last film being a documentary of Mr. Fred Rogers entitled “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” while my final concert was Jackson Browne at the outdoor venue of Ravinia in Highland Park, Illinois. Jackson played two sets of his timeless songs about life/death, love, and politics. The first set contained three songs reiterating the major themes of Jackson’s work since 1972 with the first being an unreleased song entitled “The Dreamer.” The song traces the journey of a Mexican immigrant who traveled to the USA for employment and to escape the poverty of his hometown across the border. In a sense, I am an immigrant who escaped Trump’s America where there is a poverty of critical thinking, tolerance, compassion, and ethics in government. Although I am residing in England where two of my ancestors lived until becoming passengers on the Mayflower ship in November of 1620 to seek their religious freedom in a new land, my journey has been to seek freedom from religion in a nation that lost its moral compass. The “dreamer” of Jackson Browne’s song is my brother from another mother in the poetic sense; we are trying to improve our lives before death will inevitably occur. The second song to demonstrate Jackson’s lyrical themes was about death itself; “For a Dancer” was written in 1974 after Jackson’s young friend, Scott, was killed in an apartment fire in Los Angeles. I couldn’t help but to think about my mother who died from cancer on July 10, 2017 in Chicago. I mentioned to my cousin who sat next to me at the concert that it is only through someone’s death that I am able to start a new life. The experience of leaving for a better outcome of circumstances was expressed in the third song, “For Everyman,” that closed the first set of music from Jackson and his band. “Everybody who I talk to is ready to leave with the light of the morning. They’ve seen the end coming down long enough to believe they’ve heard their last warning. Standing alone each has his own ticket in his hand. And as the evening descends, I sit thinking about everyman.” I am thinking about John Lennon and Jackson Browne on their birthdays, and they’re both extraordinary men for writing the songs that allow us to think, feel, and dream. Thank you to the birthday boys of October 9th for their music and inspiring imagination.

American Execeptionalism From an Unexceptional Expatriate

I don’t claim to have any of the best answers for fixing everything that is wrong with the USA today. Actually,  the reading of stellar and credible journalism is imperative for American citizens to engage in critical thinking; this can’t be found in the form of reading a newspaper such as USA Today(hey, I ended the previous sentences with the same two words!). However, I discovered that leaving the USA was the best start for me. You wouldn’t guess from my Austrian surname, but I have maternal ancestors who were passengers on the Mayflower in November of 1620.  My solution to dealing with the former democracy known as the United States was created by reversing the course of my ancestors in righting an old wrong in honour of their lapse in judgment.  Yes, I am an expatriate who currently resides in England. Is this another example of American exceptionalism? Nope. I am an extremely unexceptional person who was lucky enough to have the option of leaving the USA for an upgrade. I was also lucky to find an Italian resident of England who loves me; this is an exceptional woman who is able to look beyond my lack of exceptionalism whether American or not.

Do you remember the scene in the movie Animal House(1978) in which four members of the Delta fraternity find themselves as White minorities in the African-American Dexter Lanes club?  A Latino-American patron says to the Deltas, after witnessing their dates were taken by male patrons of colour, a famous line: “If I was in your shoes, I’d be…’leaving. What a good idea!” The statement was completed by fraternity brother Boone before the man could finish his observation. In general and historically, leaving has been my solution to many problems experienced in life since childhood, as I am the “king of transfers.” I have been able to transfer every level of education that I attended; I transferred grade schools, high school, colleges, Master’s degree programs, and I thought about transferring from a doctoral program due to its immature and conservative students who annoyed me.  However, I find myself in the unique and fortunate position of having transferred nations of residence. Although it is true that England is a dying empire with its loss of power and prestige in the world since World War II, but it has accepted defeat with a combination of humility(humiliation?) and insanity(Brexit). The USA, on the other hand, is in denial about its position as a dying and ageing empire that experienced its heyday in the past. Who will become the world detest superpower in the near future? China. Despite its status as a communist nation, China has strengthened itself with vulture capitalism by lending money to other nations(United States borrowed billions of dollars to finance two wars in the Middle East in 2001 and 2003) with interest rates that produce an exorbitant sum of revenue. In order to be more exceptional as an expatriate, I will have to find employment at some point in the future when residence is established; this is despite the fact that my ancestors(Priscilla Mullins and John Alden) were once the resident of the Surrey county when I am currently residing. Alas, England can take comfort in knowing that I am not a vulture capitalist with the bravado of an American businessman. I am merely a failed musician and former psychologist who knows when to leave…a good idea, indeed.

Paul Haider, England