Love where you're from but bloom where you're planted.
Asking a migrant if she prefers her home country to her country of residence is a little like asking a child if she loves her father more than her mother. It's an unfair question. To the people urging us long-term Americans abroad to just go ahead and renounce already, they are taking that question one step farther and asking not only which one do you love more, but which one would you disavow if we made you choose?
Now I'm a goofy old lady who firmly believes that love shared is not love halved. I will never accept the premise that one can only love one country at a time and I reject any model that says that ideally we should all be serial monogamists (or that a person can't have two mothers/fathers).
I had an epiphany the other day. I may have spent most of my adult life outside the U.S. but I was born and raised here in Seattle. No one can take away the first 20 years or so of my life. I am an American and will always be one even if I decide to forgo the pretty blue passport. Cutting ties by relinquishing/renouncing will mean cutting my ties to a political community but here's the kicker: America is so much more than that. There is a nation beyond the government and perhaps it's time to start putting the people above the state. Yes, if I renounce I would no longer be an American citizen, but I would still be an American by culture, blood, language, and inclination. I am part of the collective memory of this country and no one on this planet (not the US Congress or the President or the homelanders) can take that away from me.
And they can't take it away from anyone else either. To the Canadian/American reader who left a comment about how distressed she was about giving up her U.S. citizenship, I'd just like to say that as far as I'm concerned she's an American as long as she wants to be one with or without her U.S. passport. So she won't be able to vote anymore in US elections. Big deal. It's not like American citizens themselves do that with any regularity.
Thinking about it this way makes me much more serene about the whole business. What do you think of this motto for those of us thinking about renouncing? "Forget the state and just be a child of the nation."
Just a few thoughts coming out of my jet-lagged brain this morning.
Two Birds Tattoo was a bust. They are booked until late August and at that time we'll be flying out to Quebec. So today we are on a quest for another tattoo parlor and we plan to check out Slave to the Needle in Ballard some time today.
Already got the Seattle punk haircut this afternoon...