The lead story today at the BBC's News Magazine is The ex-Americans: Why people are renouncing US citizenship by Tom Geoghegan reporting from Washington, D.C.
Full disclosure: I am one of those interviewed for the story. In all honesty this sort of thing scares the hell out of me. It feels like I'm putting my neck on the block and waiting for Madame Guillotine to fall.
It came down to this for me: I could go out quietly by simply relinquishing my U.S. passport (I am so far under the threshold for the U.S. exit tax, it makes me wonder how I will ever retire) or I could stand and fight. What made me choose the latter? All the other people who are out there telling their stories, commenting on on-line articles, writing their Congressional representatives and now demonstrating. If they can be that brave, I said to myself, so can I.
As individuals, we are not much - most of us aren't important or rich or have great connections - but together every little thing we do adds up to something pretty powerful. The buzzing is now loud enough that Public Radio International, CNN, the Wall Street Journal, and now the BBC, are taking notice.
I got an anonymous letter in the mail yesterday from someone facing the very same dilemma that I, you, and so many Americans abroad are struggling with. It was a beautiful letter and I am so grateful to the person who sent it. This person expressed his/her feelings so poignantly that I read and re-read it several times.
I think the final paragraph will resonate with many of us and so I give you his/her words as an end to today's post:
"I have lived long enough in a foreign land to lose any illusions about another culture being "better." Different? Yes. I still do love America. I hate the trip but I love being home. If I had to renounce my American citizenship, I would flood the consulate with my tears."