Expat Rant

Politics is a subject that most people consider to be among the three unspeakable topics when talking to others.  It’s generally a ‘forbidden’ topic at parties since it can quickly become volatile and hostile.  This subject, however, is not ignored on social media.  People constantly put up cartoons, stories and links about their personal way of thinking.  Because I have Facebook friends from many walks of life, it’s not surprising to me that they post things that I really don’t agree with.  I am certain that I do the same.  It becomes much worse during election cycles.  This year will be bad and 2016 will be much worse.

I don’t have a problem with differing views, that’s what makes our government work.  I get very annoyed when the posts are not true.  When that happens, I go to PolitiFact or Snopes and post a link to factual information.  Some sites are known for making stuff up – The Onion – or stretching the truth – WND.com.  Many, many others are written by some random guy in their mom’s basement that have no facts, only a personal agenda.  Again, fact checkers discredit them quickly – if you really want to know facts.

What I cannot forgive are people who question my patriotism to the US.  Why?  Because David and I chose to live in a foreign country.  Our decision to move to Panama had absolutely nothing to do with politics, economics or anything else that some find problematic in America.  David served our country for 23 years – something some of our critics have never done.  My ancestors fought in America BEFORE it was the United States.  The first school in the Massachusetts was constructed by one of my relatives.  Some ancestors served in the first colonial legislature in Virginia.  They fought in the first Indian wars.  Several of my ancestors fought for our independence in 1776.  My relatives fought in the War of 1812, the Civil War, Spanish American War, both World Wars and in Vietnam.  My stepson is currently in the US Army and has done several tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Since 1636, our family has never had a generation  that did not serve our country, sometimes giving their lives.

David and I have traveled to 45 countries on 6 continents.  We love to learn about other cultures – the more different, the better.  We’ve eaten at the home of our Egyptian cab driver, learned how to excavate treasures from the muck of the Thames River, went to a wedding reception in China, and taken a Turkish bath with locals at a hammam in Fez.

Moving to Panama is an extension of our travels.  It is an adventure.  We are learning Spanish.  We frequent Panamanian businesses and volunteer to help our community and the people who live here.  Like thousands of other expats, we are still, and will always be, American citizens.  We vote in every US election and we pay US income taxes.  I’ve worked on campaigns for local and federal candidates because I care about our leadership.  Our children have done the same.  Do not question my patriotism.

Some people who have criticized us never volunteered to serve in our military, letting others fight for the freedoms they enjoy.  They find fault with government “give-aways” while collecting unemployment insurance and food stamps.  They say they believe in the Constitution but have never read the document to understand what the Constitution allows.  They have the resources to research the things they re-post, but choose not to.  They profess to want freedom, but deny the realities of election results.

If you want to discuss politics with me, bring it on, but do your research first.  And if we don’t agree,  we will agree to disagree.  BUT do not ever question my patriotism.

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living in Panama

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Blog Expat: living abroad

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