Today, while doing my morning stroll through Facebook, I spotted a rather concerning bit about the United States government wanting to change what people need to provide in order to get a passport. As far as I can tell, this won’t effect people who already have a passport, but that the criteria for who will need to provide this whole pile of data hasn’t been clarified. To add insult to injury, I only found out about this after the window for commenting had passed, meaning that I couldn’t pass it on in a relevant time frame to friends back home who might just want to get a passport.
Of course, this wasn’t the real insult of the day for me. It was that, once again, another friend made a rather ignorant and insulting assumption that I am no longer an American. Yes, I am an expatriate, an American citizen living abroad. And yes, I hope to be a British citizen in the next few months, just like my dual citizen daughter. Lucky bratinka, getting it by virtue of birth!
But does the fact I live abroad mean that I don’t care about the land of my birth? Quite the opposite – I’ve always been very passionate about seeing America live up to its potential, which is vast. Oh sure, I had to hush up about my opinions during my six years of service in the Air Force; I felt it wasn’t appropriate to voice a dissident opinion in that circumstance. So when I have people who are ignorant of that fact call me at traitor and an America hater because I’m willing to say, irregardless of government, ‘We could do better.’, it kind of really hurts. I get that, culture-wise, America is a cocky teen – how dare you say there is more to learn, and better ways of doing things! I get that it’s the other side of the coin from the rugged individuality and determination to succeed that I see and love, but still, still…
By the same token that I question my motherland, I also question my adopted land. Britain is a lot more amenable to this, as she’s a bit older. I love that I can have an idle conversation with a native of this fine land, and get into impromptu intelligent conversation about international relations, and how the UK could do better for itself, and all sorts of things. Of course, there’s also the much politer ‘Musn’t grumble’ and even a bigger mad-dash rush to surrender freedoms, but the voices here against it seem louder to me…
Regardless, I love both cultures, and I feel that I have a duty to question both, to pick them apart to find the good and the bad. After all, I am a mother, and my child and her future potential siblings will be dual (triple, if you count Texas – yee haw! *giggles*) citizens, and I want them to love everything that makes them up. I want them to know the good and the bad, and to know that both (all three!) are home, and to be able to intelligently approach all with an eye to being a conscientious citizen participating in the improvement of their world, starting at their homes. After all, improvement starts at home, so it’s only mete and proper that I make sure she (them) have the best information possible. 🙂
But that’s just me – I get it’s not for everyone. And that’s okay – I respect the rights of other people to do things their way, as long as they’re willing to respect my way of doing things too. And y’know… that’s the good stuff there.