If I were asked under what sky the human mind has most fully developed some of its choicest gifts, has most deeply pondered on the greatest problems of life, and has found solutions, I should point to India.
– Max Mueller (German scholar)
Once upon a time I was your everyday American. I grew up in a small town, upon growing up and being single moved to a larger town in a more progressive state…namely California. I had a job. I had a gas guzzling car. I paid my taxes. I voted predominately Democrat although occasionally Republican depending on what my gut told me. I believed what the news told me about what was going on with the rest of the world or ‘tsk tsked’ over the violence and poverty we were always shown. I ate apple pie and celebrated the Fourth of July with as much pizzazz as every other ‘red blooded’ American. I thought our country totally ruled.
And then I met my soul mate and I was no longer your everyday American.
Now I’m an American married to an Indian living in India.
Now I’m an American, viewing her home country from afar and with the new exposure of living in another country.
Now I’m an American who is starting to wake up from the isolationist views I once had (without even realizing that they were isolationist) and recognizing that they were not all my fault, that some fault falls upon the shoulders of our News Reporting Agencies and Government.
What started to wake me up was witnessing firsthand the corruption and red tape bureaucracy that you face when living in India. I was disgusted that the information online for where to go for certain things, what documents to bring, what to do in advance…was hardly up to date or factual. Instead, I would run pillar to post to get something as simple as my residency done.
“Ma’am, you did not bring form C with you. You must have that to continue”.
“What is form C? That wasn’t a document listed on the website.”
“Ma’am, Sir should have known about form C for foreigners residency and told you to bring it.”
“Why would my husband ‘just know’ this if it’s not even listed on your site or in the booklet you gave us when we first arrived???”
“Ma’am, please come back with form C, …….NEXT.”
So I started comparing India with America, how in America all our laws and legal documents and anything you could want to know about living by the rules in America, was either posted on official government sites or available for free at local libraries, post offices or government offices.
Then I stopped and realized that India is still very young compared to America, that she has had to contend with hostile border countries and her own internal fighting. America was lucky, Canada never fights with anyone except over Hockey teams and scores and Mexican citizens loved the idea of the ‘American Dream’….why would they start a fight with us?
And yes, all America’s rules are posted and available for everyone to see. Heck, you can even read any proposed Bill online that you want so that you know exactly what is being passed in the Senate and Congress. How lucky is that?
But then the Health Care Issues started. I too was concerned at first. I mean, forced Health Care? Fines that you have to pay for being uninsured? Possibility of no private sector? Federal funds for elective birth control measures? Comparison’s to Universal Healthcare in Canada and Britain and how HORRIBLE it was there. How people were waiting for a whole day to see a doctor or being denied procedures due to age. I was hearing all sorts of mixed reviews and horrible scenario’s.
And then I realized that most of the sources of “information” were coming from FOX News or Glenn Beck or the GOP.
Being an educated, progressive Democrat….I naturally became skeptical. Then I started doing my OWN research. I went and read the Health Care Bill. All 2,409 pages of it. And I realized that I had believed propaganda that was inflammatory….rhetoric that was dangerous. Conservative Republican lies. Party line lies. And I had started to believe some of it. Without even exercising the rights provided to me by my own Country to view any and all new Bills or Addendums, to view any old Bills or to view any US Law online….I believed a giant wad of Bullpookey.
And then I went on a social networking site and found that a lot of my friends believed it too. So I set out to publish the truth about the Bill. I gave details about where one could read it for themselves and provided fact checking sites to ascertain which was FACT and which was FALSE. Anything that would help people make informed decisions instead of one based of the lies that were being spewed….lies like ‘Death Panels for Seniors’ and ‘Forced Contraceptives in the water for population control’. People were buying into these outrageous stories because it was being proclaimed by a TV News Show, Life Commentators and Politicians. And it was all fabrication intended to incite a public outrage in order to win back control of the House, Senate, and Congress. In essence, it was a bid for power. Nothing else. And when that didn’t work, they threatened to shut down the Government by refusing to allow the funds needed to pay for the passed Healthcare Bill.
Forget the millions of American’s that didn’t have Healthcare. Forget the elderly who struggle to pay their raising healthcare costs and who generally have to choose between their medication and food. Forget the youth with no healthcare coverage and no means to pay for it themselves. Forget the people who have no choice but to work for company’s who only give a 32 hour work week so that they do not have to provide Health Insurance to their workers. Forget that the private sector is so rich that even a theft of medicine amounting to $72 million was a drop in the buck to them in comparison to their $300 BILLION worth.
And right there….right there I realized that America is not the greatest country on earth. She is rife with her own evils, political agendas and faults. America is just a Country like all the others. And they are all beautiful in their own right. They are all faulty when it comes to politics and religion.
And then it hit me. I am seeing this from afar. I am seeing this through the eyes of a foreign news source while living in a foreign land surrounded by people with different views of America than my own. And I understood why so many were disgusted with America. If THIS is what they see of us, I couldn’t blame them.
Living in India, I have become more isolated physically than I ever was in America because I came here from an Isolationist country without even realizing that we could be so. America might accept all people, all people might be free and equal there, but that does not change that she still carries some of her fears with her and has allowed her own physically isolated character to bleed into a way of being rather than an obstacle to overcome.
In India, I may be more physically isolated but this is something that I can change and am changing by learning the language and learning how to drive.
In India, I am already learning how to become a more worldly individual, understanding of the issues faced by human beings at large instead of people of certain country’s or nationalities.
In India I am learning lesson’s I should have learnt long ago. Patience and Acceptance which are preached in America and sometimes followed, but almost always over-ruled by a faster private sector making our lives ‘better’ with the quick fix and absolute accessibility.
In India, life is sometimes hard. You learn hard lessons and then never forget them. You take nothing for granted. You become resourceful again. You wake up and live life instead of sleep walking through it.
In India, I am becoming free.