I am not a Native American or an aboriginal, but like them, I was born on Turtle Island. Turtle Island is North America. Not a country, not a residency for certain designated citizens based on an artificial border. It is a great continent with endless space that is bound only by the world’s greatest oceans. It is my home. My ancestors are buried here. My forefathers are remembered in place names all across the continent.
Why didn’t Geronimo just peacefully go live on the reservation when threatened by a superior force? Or Crazy Horse, or Sitting Bull, or Red Cloud? What happened to the Sioux Indian leader Big Foot and his people when they finally, compliantly, turned themselves over to the US army at Wounded Knee? Should they have fled across the border to Canada with many of their brothers and sisters? What do you think happened to the Indians who fled to Canada? Do you think they are better off in their tuberculosis-riddled reserves than the Indians in the US? Ask the Inuit in Davis Inlet. Ask the people spending their – what, third?- winter in leaky tents in Attawapiskat. Are they getting fair treatment by the Canadian government?
Every government tends toward tyranny, and they all see citizens as little more than geese useful only for repeated plucking.
But America is the only place – the only place – where the key question of the role that the government should play in men’s lives is openly, freely and peacefully debated, for the whole world to observe. The 2012 election is entirely about the answer to this question. Do you think this question is being asked about the Canadian government? Canadians often seem content to smirk at those crazy Americans who debate silly issues like taxing the rich, or whether to expand the fraud-ridden Medicare health program to everybody in order to achieve “universal health care” , or whether to raise the debt ceiling before the rating agencies downgrade America’s credit rating. Canadians sometimes observe this with – admit it – a sense of moral superiority over those Americans who think they are “exceptional”. But Canadians seem willing to submit to whatever their government does, because they think somehow that politicians know what is best for everybody, forgetting that the real argument about taxing the rich is protecting property rights for everyone, not plundering whoever has the most money this week; that the health care issue is about patients having choices about their own health, rather than accepting whatever restricted care the government says you get to have; and the debt ceiling debate was about the crucial issue of whether there is any limit to government spending of the people’s money. That is the major difference between our two countries – the clamorous debate in the US about crucial philosophical issues regarding the proper role and size of government.
The parliamentary system, which seems to be the most widespread form of democratic government in the world today, was formulated centuries ago so that, when the government fell, the new government would be chosen by the wealthy landowners, who often had land and money and power and armies that rivaled or exceeded the king’s. The ordinary people didn’t count, and they still count less today than ordinary people in the United States. Canadians only vote once every few years depending on when somebody else decides to hold an election. Canadians only elect a local representative, who owes fealty and loyalty to the head of their party. Elections in a parliamentary system result in serial dictatorships, unless there is a minority government, when the parliamentary goings-on are still only something the people observe and cannot often influence.
What is exceptional about America is not that the people are better, or that the government is wiser, or even that it is the richest and most powerful nation in the world – for now. Empires rise, and inevitably they fall. What is exceptional is the form of government, based on the documents we all know about: the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, powerfully reiterated by the Gettysburg Address. What is exceptional is the system of checks and balances, and the means of amending the Constitution, which were designed to keep the government in check and maximize the freedom of the people to live their lives as they please.
America is exceptional because it is the only country that was built on an idea, and that idea implies a promise. The idea is that all men and all women are created free and equal and that a proper government is one made up of freely elected peers, in which any citizen – * any * citizen – may run for public office. The promise is that because of that idea, anyone has the right to do whatever he or she chooses to do in order to improve her lot in life and live as she wishes, beholden to no monarch or officer or class structure for her future or her fortune. She is not promised happiness – only the lifelong freedom, the natural-born right to pursue it in her own way.
The arguments that are going on, in and outside of the US, about what the US government is doing are watched by a world in which most people are not free. These arguments teach people all over the world about what rights and freedoms they should *all* have. In many places in the world it is treason to even talk about how tyrannical the local government is. What happens in America matters, because if freedom and individual rights can be protected, maintained, and recovered when lost in America, then all people will see clearly what is possible to them.
These things are worth the battle. But I cannot be part of that fight, the fight to make every human being an exceptional one, if I renounce my American citizenship. There is simply no other country in the world where that sort of language is understood and honored and enshrined in its founding documents. If I renounce, I walk away from those words. I turn my back on that idea. I was born into that promise, and I intend to pursue it until my dying day.
DUHmerica is exceptional only in its being the worst terrorist regime ever to infect the planet.
Here’s me, just strolling down memory lane again. Foxladyhawk wrote this in 2012. And once again, it’s election time in that Exceptional Country. Wondering if her/his opinion remains the same.
Not that it’s necessary to change one’s opinion of course. My opinion of the USA has never changed, except to the extent that my disgust and disdain deepens daily.
Lately, I have been thinking about how some people feel about renouncing. I imagine it like an adult male, who for medical or personal reasons has to be circumcised. That’s gotta hurt some, but the relief provided makes it worthwhile. But what if the patient had to pay a whole lot of cash upfront and then even more for 5-9 etc more years after the operation? Some might say it was still worth it, others might feel ( pun intended?) quite ripped off, and as though they had lost a part of their identity.
“My opinion of the USA has never changed, except to the extent that my disgust and disdain deepens daily.”
You’ve missed America’s great purpose for you (and for me, according to Foxyladyhawk).
“[America’s] fight [is] to make every human being an exceptional one.”:
What a bunch of ingrates! Appreciate, already, or the beatings will continue! 😉
“What a bunch of ingrates! Appreciate, already, or the beatings will continue! 😉 ”
I’ll take the beatings and spit blood in their face.
foxyladyhawk: I’ve got three words for you if you’re not going to renounce your citizenship. Good…for…you…
But I prefer to relish my freedom IN Canada.
Ginny: “Not that it’s necessary to change one’s opinion of course. My opinion of the USA has never changed, except to the extent that my disgust and disdain deepens daily.”
Agree with you there, Ginny. My hate deepens daily for that monstrosity south of the border. In fact I frankly wish that we could build a wall along both the 49th Parallel and the Alaska-BC-Yukon border to keep ’em out.
Sorry folks, I am just Grumpy Cat today. I get that way every time the plaintiffs have to update their affidavits as we have had to do the last few days, ONCE AGAIN. We have to disclose all sorts of personal information and financial holdings for every bank account, trust account etc. we have.
Fair enough, I get that as a plaintiff and a litigator, and it’s the personal risk I was willing to assume when I chose to be a plaintiff on your behalf. That part doesn’t bother me much although I begrudge the necessity when the Canadian government doesn’t have to disclose why they are treating me and you as second class citizens. And they didn’t have to ever let alone update how many accounts have been turned over by the CRA to the IRS.
Part of me still doesn’t believe the Canadian government will actually try to examine the plaintiffs, though they have recently expressed their intention to do so, as opposed to last time.
And the reason is very simple. How many questions of any relevancy can you ask about our documents. Sure they could say my my, your bank balances have drastically changed since your last affidavit. And I could quip: yup that’s true, life goes on and generally things cost more or I could say yup that’s true markets haven’t been too great lately. Or I needed a new roof or whatever.
Or they could say, in one of your accounts the balance is higher than the last time. Answer: yup my grand children saved their allowance and sent me money for my birthday. Really how absurd is this?
In my humble opinion if they do examine us- which they are perfectly entitled to do- it would just be window dressing and a waste of everyone’s money. Yours, mine and every Canadian taxpayer’s. But on the good side, it represents much anticipated movement on our court case.
BUT, since I now see them as agents of the IRS who in their heart of hearts have accepted US law as the law of Canada, guess what? I will take that opportunity until they call a halt to my examination to tell them everything I think of them. I am going to take advantage of the opportunity to tell them I speak for all the Tainted whatever country they live in, whether they have renounced or not. I am going to point out to them that if Canada had stood up to bully USA then, maybe the UK, Japan, Australia, Switzerland, Germany – name the country- would have held Canada, closest nation by boundary and trading partner in higher regard and just maybe those other countries could have joined Canada in taking a stand. But no, that didn’t happen.
And somehow, no matter the question, I intend to take the opportunity to turn their question into one of my own. And I have lots of questions. Which will never be answered of course.
As a personal aside, the morning of my examination, I am going to apologize to my mother, long gone these many years for any affront to her. My long form birth certificate actually states in check off form that she did not have syphilis. So much for privacy in those days. That’s now a public litigation document of record of mine too. That’s the only document that brings tears to my eyes every time I look at it.
But many of you have shed far more tears than I have, so I guess that’s inconsequential in the larger view.
As I said, I am Grumpy Cat today and have probably said too much. Except for this: bring it on, I am ready. And I know you will be there with me, Gwen and Kazia, which helps more than you will ever know. You make us proud.
@ Canadian Ginny
Damn right we are with you and Gwen and Kazia. This incursion into what should be your private affairs sounds like out and out harassment to me. I don’t know what part of the law demands this type of disclosure but the desired effect the defense could be hoping for would be to disuade all of you from continuing. They know you all value privacy very much or you wouldn’t be objecting to the outrage of FATCA reporting. So they prod and prod BUT to no avail because it is very obvious that you are steadfast in your pursuit of justice for all of us. SURGITE and THANK YOU!
Well, the writer of this is an American Patriot. Fine.
The US was not the only country built on an idea.
The USSR was also built on an idea: an idea of “from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs”. An idea I value much more than the American idea. Unfortunately, the USSR abandoned this idea and became a totalitarian police state, and then became an incompetent “cover your ass” bureaucracy, and then collapsed.
So, y’know, that’s what can happen to countries built on an idea. Sometimes.
Looking at this old post for the first time, particularly the opening line, “I am not a Native American or an aboriginal”.
Ah but if you were, if only you were a First Canadian, a Native American or an Inuit, you would have the Jay Treaty behind you, What that would mean with respect to the IRS depends on other facts, but there might be some cute arguments.
The law cases I recall involving indigenous peoples, tribal members, mostly relate to smuggling offences. Or to the sad discrimination against the Tohono O’odham on the southern border, many of whom have no civil birth registration. And unlike the northern tribal members, a tribe or band membership is not enough.
“Ah but if you were, if only you were a First Canadian, a Native American or an Inuit, you would have the Jay Treaty behind you,”
I think native peoples of North America know just how valuable it is to have a treaty or two or twenty behind them.
ND: “I think native peoples of North America know just how valuable it is to have a treaty or two or twenty behind them.”