Tucson, AZ

Does Anyone Want to Live in America Anymore?

Jason Weiland

Do you get upset when people say bad things about America? Or, do you have an open mind and realize that even though America is a great place, some problems need addressing. And, yes, Donald Trump was terrible, but these things have been going on for a long time.

As much as we would like, you can’t blame him for everything.

I’m talking about racism, the out of control gun culture, the wealth gap, the issues that capitalism creates, entitlement, rudeness, snobbery, religion interfering in government, nationalism, Republicans, Democrats, the rich running everything and making it impossible for the little guy to succeed and teaming up with the government to screw the people, everyone being overly litigious, anti-vaxxers, lobbyists, corporations (in general), and Mitch McConnell.

Should I go on?

What I’m trying to say is the United States is not a perfect place, and if you are one of those people who cry when someone says anything bad about the country, I don’t know if we can be friends.

If you are one of those people, I ask that you stop reading. Don’t comment, don’t hit the "like" button. I'm going to talk about my personal feelings about leaving my home in the States and finding a new and better life in a place where most of you wouldn’t live.

Here we go!

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(Photo by Jason Leung on Unsplash)

In September of 2011, I boarded a plane in Tucson, Arizona. The total hours of all my flights before I arrived at my destination, with layovers included, would be 26 hours.

What was the overwhelming feeling I experienced as the airplane left the tarmac and screamed into the air?

I was scared.

I picked up my whole life — the only life I’ve ever known — and stuck it in a suitcase. I would be arriving in a place I only knew from pictures, to live with a woman I had never known in person. I didn’t know how people would react to me. I didn’t know if I could survive in a place that everyone told me was a third-world country. I didn’t know if my mental illness would allow me to live a normal life in peace.

I was completely and utterly frightened.

But I had a dream.

Something Had to Change

I had a dream that I could find a place where I could be accepted. I wanted to find a place where everybody loved me, not for what I could give them, but for who I was inside. I wanted to find peace, both in my environment and inside myself.

Thankfully, I found such a place.

It took me a lot of years to realize what a gem the Philippines was. Far from a third-world country (it is a developing country), it is a place of stark contrasts. In one place you can find extreme poverty and in the next, unbelievable beauty. It is a place where the people are warm and welcoming, but a few are close-minded and stubborn.

It’s a place where I was tested to the very limit of my being, and I came out the other side whole. I became healthy, in body and mind. I found joy in my life, where I was never able to find it before.

It took some time. The first five years I lived in the Philippines, I spent my days traveling back and forth to the U.S. There was always something that took me back: my kids, my business, misunderstandings. I was under the mistaken impression that if I was going to be a success, I had to live in America to do it. My wife even lived under the belief that America was the land of milk and honey. Many people here still think that if you live overseas, you have finally made it in life.

But, that is very far from the truth, and after Trump and the Republicans, and the pandemic, most people are finally seeing the truth.

America Isn’t the Only Game in Town

I’ve finally seen, especially in the last four years since a racist has been in office, that there is nothing I find attractive about the place I called home for most of my life.

Sure, anything you could ever want is available in the States. But, isn’t that part of the problem? People aren’t living for happiness or fulfillment anymore. They are living to buy the next new thing. They want every new iPhone released, a 60-inch flat-screen, a BMW, and a big house on the corner next to the Joneses, who always seem to have more stuff than them.

People buy self-help books to try to fix what’s wrong with them when all they need is a little minimalism and an enema.

They feel entitled. They feel like they are special and deserving of every little thing they want.

They complain about the President and the government, yet still, keep voting for the same people. They cry about the corporations not paying taxes, yet still, spend hundreds every week at Amazon and Walmart.

They scream because America is losing its religion, but have no moral compass in their lives.

It’s not like that everywhere in the world. In many places, life is much simpler. Yes, you still have to work hard to make a living to feed your family. But there isn’t a race to gain so many material things.

There are moral standards. There is a strong bond in the family that I never knew growing up in America. People don’t kick their kids to the curb at 18 and forget about their parents when they are old when and have their own lives.

People are kind to one another. People are generally good.

I’m not saying everyone is awful in America, but it seems they have more than their share of assholes per square foot.

I’ve found a place that I called home. I am still American, and I still pay taxes. But, I didn’t think I would ever live in America again.

I felt that strongly about it.

Along Came COVID-19

But, I still have family in the U.S.

My mom and dad are in their seventies. My three boys are now men and making a life for themselves.

There are people who I love waiting for me at home, and the pandemic only showed me how much I miss and need them in my life.

And I'm seeing hope for America again. The Republicans are losing power and that can only mean good things for the important people of America. My hope is that our citizens will finally have a voice and not the rich and the corporations.

I'm seeing more of a willingness in the people of America to be inclusive of all people, regardless of race or social standing.

People are becoming more important than money and the establishment, and we are seeing new pathways open for Americans, like the legalization of cannabis. Citizens no longer need to fear jail and can finally get medicine that works for anxiety and pain. And they don't have to jump through hoops to buy one of nature's wonders to heal themselves.

I see an America I can be proud of, that is partly like the country before Nixon and Reagan and his war on drugs that so divided the country.

But I see a better future too. White people in power, who made life a living hell for Black people and people of color, will finally have to answer for their crimes, and I will finally be glad to call America the land of the free, where everyone can be equal, and we all have a chance to live the American dream.

After the pandemic, I will call America my home again, and I'm expecting much from it in the next few years. We have a lot of healing to do, and we all need to be working hard to see that our home becomes a place we can smile about again.

America is truly great, and it's up to us to make sure it stays that way.

It will be wonderful to be home again.

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Writer and advocate interested in mental health, health, family, culture, creativity, and success.

Los Angeles, CA
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