Sunday, June 13, 2021

Escape from America: 18 Years and Counting, by Linh Dinh - The Unz Review (LD is always an interesting read. - CL)

I just interviewed an American who’d traveled for five years straight, but you have been outside the US for 18 years altogether. Why, first off, and how have you been able to sustain yourself? Was there no place you wanted to settle? Will you ever return to the US to live?

I had always wanted to travel and see the world. I liked the idea of learning new languages, meeting different people and experiencing life in other countries. So, with a degree in literature I decided to go to Latin America and teach English. I worked in several small Latin American countries. The contrast between life in the USA and Latin America was striking. I was in Caracas soon after the banking crisis there. Students at the school where I taught had come to class crying after losing their life savings; the whole country became impoverished. I recall one morning a teacher showing up late for work because the police had literally kidnapped him off the street, taken him downtown, put a bag of cocaine on the table and said, “If you don’t pay us $200, this belongs to you.” That happened to a couple different people I knew in different countries. It almost happened to me, once. The trick is to be polite but firm, not to give in. “Officer, you say my papers are not in order? Let me show you again the visa stamp.” They don’t want a scene. I also worked in Ecuador, when, after just months in power, President Abdalá Bucharam embezzled millions of US dollars, held a party celebrating his young nephew’s own first million working as customs officer, then put out a CD of himself singing his favorite songs, which looked like an incredibly stupid distraction tactic. To the Ecuadorian people’s credit, Bucaram’s antics sparked a mass popular uprising. My boss told me not to go outside during the protests, because they might turn violent, but I couldn’t resist. There were marches and chants, tires burning in the streets, Bucaram hung in effigy. The Ecuadorian Congress voted him out of power on the basis of mental instability, and he fled to Panama with tens of millions of dollars. I saw how in Ecuador and many other Latin American countries, people didn’t trust each other, there was a higher tolerance for dishonesty, the public services were dysfunctional, there was endemic corruption, bad medical care, public littering, not much in the way of intellectual culture, but a good dollop of crime, and no shortage of people blaming America for their countries’ screw-ups. I didn’t want the United States to become like that.

When I went back to the USA in the mid-90’s, I tried talking to people about the problem of mass illegal immigration from Latin America. Back then, immigration was still a taboo topic. Pat Buchanan hadn’t been able to get the Republican nomination in ’96. Republicans let themselves be convinced he couldn’t get elected. I mean the guy actually wanted to build a wall to keep out illegal immigrants, for Christ’s sakes! I still tried to persuade people that our immigration policies, especially mass illegal immigration from Latin America, were going to cause real problems. I remember having a conversation with a young woman who had just graduated from Duke University. She was smart, well-adjusted, and good-looking. After explaining to me that the USA was a white supremacist country, I thought: another one off the deep end. But later, I remember watching a TV news segment on “whiteness”. It featured a traumatized teenage white girl emerging from some struggle session, whimpering through her tears and snot, “I’ll never take advantage of my whiteness again!” I remember the moment. I was stunned. The virus was spreading. I didn’t understand why so few people appreciated the risk posed by this rising tide of anti-white sentiment mixed with poorly controlled mass immigration of people of color.

I didn’t see the immigration-moderation movement having the power to effect much change. So, I left for Asia. China was my first stop. I taught English in Guangzhou. That was a great experience. 

Read it all: