Much ado about nothing…

And, overnight, an email arrives from S. letting me know that things are OK, and, as far as I can tell, there are no hard feelings.

Looks like there’s some spirited discussion over on the comments to the last thing I posted! I’ll chime in a bit here:

I contacted my other friends who I had been ignoring for a while because my GF got on my case while I was in Arizona a couple of weeks ago . . . based on your letter lily! so yes, you absolutely had something to do with it. :) Was my life that overwhelming? To a degree, yes. As I mentioned, I had at least a partial breakdown while at my last job, and while I was in-between that one and my current job, I was pretty depressed. You’d think I would lean on my old friends for help, but rather, I have this habit of simply trying to deal with it myself, and often not too successfully. I’m not quite “too proud to ask for help,” but more likely “too frightened of burdening others” and “too used to dealing on my own.” My GF will attest to the fact that I certainly leaned on her a bit, perhaps too much . So yeah, I’ve learned my lesson there.

But I also wasn’t careful about the separation I made when I left the US; I fully intended to keep up with my friends, and weed out the people I didn’t feel like communicating with (common enough, I’ve moved almost every year since 1991). Instead, I got immediately overwhelmed by the amount of email I had to deal with, and kept putting it off because it was way too intimidating (and my email interface sucked ass.) With a day of serious determination, I managed to clean it all up, so in the end it wasn’t all that hard to do. I guess, in the end, it was more of a realization that I was afraid my former friends would be just that — former. I was afraid that the decisions I had made in life would let people down, and rather than diminish myself in their views, I’d let them go on remembering me the way I was. That’s the fatal mistake, because good friends wouldn’t act that way.

I’ve managed over the years to stay in touch with a few people for much longer than a year or two, my oldest friend being from 1982. That shows that, in the end, I stay in touch with people I care about – it’s just that I’ve taken a hiatus here for a while. Looking back over my own personal history, I have a habit of doing this, not because I don’t need friends, but because I get caught up in a particular situation: graduate school, a job, a particular mate, etc. Achieving balance has been one of my key issues for years, and the older I get, the easier it seems to achieve. My GF had a great idea on my birthday a couple weeks ago; rather than having new year’s resolutions, have birthday resolutions. One was to keep in touch with the people (and institutions) that I care about. I’d say I’m doing a far better job now than I was at the start of this year.

Onto U.S. politics: I’m glad to hear that not everyone in the US is a right militant bastard. The general reaction to the US here in Japan, as far as I can tell from my immediate friends, is that the US is reacting out of proportion to the threat it received, and that the expansion of the effort into other regions (the famous “axis of evil” quote) is going way too far. Countries like Japan feel a bit bullied into helping out, and while no one here actually supports terrorism, they certainly don’t go out of their way to support the military action. I also don’t think that the locals here expect the US to help them survive or defend their borders; that sort of protectorate concept went out the door with the British leaving Hong Kong in 1999. There’s a growing movement in Japan to kick the US out of Okinawa (fueled by the absolute atrocities committed by horny US service men, search the Japan Times or Yahoo for references) and establish a military again, and these actions might actually increase those sentiments.

I’m a bit closer to canongrrl’s ideas here, mostly because it rings true. For all the social and political tolerance the US professes, things are certainly different when it comes to foreign policy, protecting industry interests (Enron anyone? No one here trusts the Bush government now because of Enron). It’s that duplicity that bothers me in any culture, even here, what with the environmental disaster, Nanking, the yakuza influence, control of the press by private interests, etc. It’s all clear to me, and no location is a panacea. Nor am I about to suggest some Utopian, Objectivist anarchic society that only exists in the mind of some twisted, sexually deprived author. My GF is right; I’m not going to give up my citizenship so soon over this. Now, the Defense Of Marriage Act, or the Marriage Amendment – those are an entirely different matter, and in fact the reason I started thinking about other countries. The whole Afghani nonsense just contributed to my sentiments.

Phew, time for a drink…bbiab.

5 thoughts on “Much ado about nothing…

  1. Over the summer I spent a lot of time interested in politics. There’s a lot of things that have happened in my life that have made me realise that the “equality and fairness through forced acceptance or hate” face the US puts forth in ALL things is degrading the quality of my life. And furthermore, it will degrade a lot more in the near future due to the FLIP side of the coin, which the US likes to live on too. We concentrate too much on either no acceptance or forced acceptance in the US, and that’s why I want to live in a middle ground, because neither way the US tries things works.

    Dutch Politicians are a great subject of jokes about this, because they do go to the middle, but I prefer it. I looked long and hard for information on at least studying in the Netherlands.

    To an extent, this is what is showing through in the US military bullshit. America sees unacceptance of the US bullshit that is perpetrated against people in the Middle East [percieved or otherwise], and so first there is no acceptance, we HATE those EVILDOERS. Then there is forced acceptance, YOU MUST SUPPORT OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM OR YOU ARE A TERRORIST.

    This is sickening, and it’s bullshit, and it’s total disrespect for the world we live in, and the people we live here with.

    I was deeply disappointed when my mother applied for divorce from my stepdad, as it complicated the ability for me to go to him and say “legally adopt me” so I could get dual Canadian citizenship. And now I’m 17, and I wouldn’t get dual citizenship.

    There is a reason when I write I don’t use USAnian spellings where possible, and there is a reason I am infinitely ashamed of my USAnian accent. Don’t give up your citizenship though, unless you really find somewhere perfect for you that certainly won’t change. Everywhere has their extremists, everywhere has their ups and downs. The US just happens to flaunt their downs, and flaunt their fight to change the ups.

    Random: And hey, I have 2 degrees of seperation from!


  2. I don’t know if you can get tapes off npr (or download from the web) but there was a very interesting interview with Noam Chomsky last night. It touched upon a few of your points (my favorite was when he define hypocrite in terms of the US and south/central America and then in terms of wha our actions and word were in Afghanistan). It was a very interesting argument, as always, from him and this time, he did not leave out side facts (like he is wont to do) that would help give explaination to the actions he condemns.

    And there have been several occasions in this past year I debated moving to Toronto, and perheps becoming Canadian. But for me, being here, I don’t think thats the right answer. Now for the marriage act and Bush’s right wing agenda, well that really scares me and thats part of the reason I’m back in MA, it is still the most liberal state in the union (with the possible exception of minnisota).

    Anyway, yeah our views on this are most likely similar.

  3. What I don’t understand is why people are quick to discount what the US does, but they do not offer any other viable solutions…

    Its great to be a liberal, hey, I disagree with 85% of the US’s politics (OK, maybe 90%) but the rest of the policies are fair or even good. But just because I’m a card carrying liberal doesn’t mean that if I actually agree with US’s actions then I will be kicked out of the group, which some of you seem to have taken that position. Granted, what the US is doing in Afghanistan I would call a proper response to the situation. I am not trying to say Afghanistan is EVIL and the US is GOOD, but any other country in the same situation would want to do the same if it had the means. Yes, the US does act in its own interest, but why would any country do otherwise.

    Someone mentioned the sensible passive politics of the Netherlands as a model. I don’t know if that applies to this situation.

    Who exactly is the planet’s policeman? I would agree that a stronger world entity such as the UN is definitely in order that could handle this and other situations, but we don’t have that at the moment and most world goverments would never allow to be trumped by a higher power. UN sanctions? ha. So the US and several industralized nations have taken it upon themselves to police the world. Like it or not that’s what we have.

    It’s fine to oppose actions such as these, (I find what the US is doing a bit unpalatable). Please enlighten me to some viable alternatives.

    Sorry for ranting, I really needed to say this.

  4. You know, I think the only time I actually considered either moving to Canada permanently or changing my citizenship was right after George W was put into office (notice I didn’t write “voted” into office). During his first day in office, GWB signed a bill (I believe) to limit aid to countries where abortion is legal. Further, recent arguments against gay rights, gay marriages, or gay anything sound so much like those arguments used against blacks or any other group that has been oppressed during American HIStory. For me “family values” translates into “rights for a select few” (canongrrl recalls drunken Lily at her wedding chanting ‘damn right wing conservatives with their family values! bah!’ LOL)

    Screw the whole Democratic/Republican thing. Next election, I’m voting Green.

    Mi dos pesetas.

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