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The Greyhound

The Greyhound

The Greyhound

Escaping America


2018 is the year I escaped America.

We all know the charming stories of our ancestors—they came to America, poor as dirt, to seek refuge. They saw the Statue of Liberty and cheered and cried at the prospect of a better life. They were granted access to the United States of America to begin living out the American dream.

In direct contrast to my Irish ancestors before me, I left the United States with a sigh of relief because, unlike my ancestors, the United States is no longer a safe haven for the repressed. The hostile environment where we live day to day is taking its toll on everyone. Even the white, upper-class men are beginning to feel threatened. The divisive language used by virtually everyone—not just the media—is beginning to alienate friends, family and pets. Yes, even our pets are becoming politicized. I literally have stress acne from trying to keep up with the news.

As I stepped off the plane in France for my semester abroad, I felt something I haven’t in years: peace of mind. Because instead of the Statue of Liberty, I saw cheese. Lots of cheese. Cheese that hasn’t been processed and pumped with poisonous chemicals. To me, French cheese represents what we are missing in the United States: authenticity. Everything has now become associated with a political agenda. Our food is not the only artificial aspect of our country.

The French have a sense of real patriotism that we simply do not see in the United States. Yes, we see pickup trucks with American flags flying behind them, and the flag flies at all the places it should, yet we don’t buy local. The French take pride in purchasing items made in France, no matter the cost. American corporatism has taken over our everyday lives, preventing us from supporting small business, and exportation of manufacturing makes the cheap products more desirable to consumers.

The French system also does a better job of promoting equality. In France, your life would never be in danger because you look different than others—at worst, you’ll get a couple of eye rolls and smirks. They also have access to universal healthcare and minimum 16 weeks paid maternity leave, and that’s more than they will ever have in the U.S.

As I sit at this open-air café and drink my fair trade espresso and eat my free-range eggs on government-subsidized bread, I can’t help but feel like the U.S. is doing something wrong. Everything about me is healthier: body and mind. I don’t have to participate in a two-party system that does nothing more than point fingers at each other and tweet insults. It’s hard to realize how truly messed up everything has become until you remove yourself from the situation. As of now, I don’t see America ever competing with France in terms of quality of life. France is simply too socialist for our liking.

I’m not saying that France has it all figured out, but at least they can scroll through their Facebook feed and see cat videos instead of Russian-planted political propaganda.

I have escaped America somewhat intact, and I don’t know if I’m ever coming back.

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Escaping America