Why I Will Never Visit USA Again.
I will never visit the United States of America again. There are many reasons why I feel so strongly about this. The sad fact is that the USA is no longer on my places to visit list.
First of all, a bit of background. When I was a teacher in Ireland (in 1971) I won a scholarship to visit the USA to study the American system of education at the University of Delaware for two months. As a group of privileged teachers we were royally treated and invited to the White House to meet President and Mrs. Nixon and also to the Capitol to meet Senator Ted Kennedy. We visited Washington, Philaldelphia and New York. It was a wonderful experience and opened my eyes to the world.
I returned to the USA a few times afterwards on various trips to New York and California — all wonderful holidays. So, I was definitely a fan!
But times, politics and the economy have all changed dramatically as the years have rolled by.
As an idealistic young man in my twenties, maybe I was expecting too much when I thought that the USA as a major economy and global influencer would lead the way in human rights and racial integration. Perhaps I was naive.
Forty-five years later living in Italy, I am still naive and trying to understand what makes people so racist in this post.
Stop The Hate Before It Is Too Late! — 5 Smart Ways To Fight It
When I saw my favorite comedian, Sacha Baron Cohen, yesterday (Nov. 21) making a serious, alarming statement at the ADL…
Here are the reasons why I became totally disenchanted with the world’s major democracy and its “ideals of freedom and tolerance”. I waited almost 50 years so here is my verdict for what it is worth.
- This morning (July 8) we witnessed the “eye for an eye” shooting tragedy in Dallas. There is still widespread racial discrimination in justice and policing. Jeff Yang of the Wall Street Journal sums it up best in his tweet:-
A new horror. Protestors seek legal justice & social change — not blood for blood. No one wanted this,”
There are several sad facts to ponder on what is happening today in the USA. While police reform is taking place, the reality of the slow progress is evident from this Time article. Another report published in 2009 called “Created Equal” shows what needs to be done.
2. Detainees are still held without trial at Guantanamo, a Cuban island. There is no realistic plan which will ensure that the remaining 116 detainees will be transferred to a US prison or ever given a fair trial. President Obama regrets that he did not do that when he first became President.
“I think I would have closed Guantánamo on the first day,”- President Barack Obama
His promises then were to
“restore the standards of due process and the core constitutional values that have made this country great even in the midst of war, even in dealing with terrorism.”
The fact that six years have passed without this happening makes a mockery of these so-called core values.
3. The fact that Donald Trump is now President! Everything that America stood for has been trampled underfoot as Trump plays the fear/hate/ignorance cards. The principles of tolerance and justice for every US citizen are at risk. The fact that Donald Trump claims an endorsement from Mike Tyson (a convicted rapist and banned from the UK because of his criminal record) is mind-boggling.
“Mike Tyson endorsed me. You know, all the tough guys endorse me. I like that. OK?” — Donald Trump
4. The USA will never elect an atheist President. Not in my lifetime anyway. What is the big deal, you may ask? Surely a god-fearing President would provide a safer pair of hands? Not true, I am afraid. Several Presidents (all religious) led the USA into disastrous wars such as Korea, Vietnam and Iraq, just to name a few. When you consider the proxy wars, the list becomes devastating as Wayne Madsen points out. President George Bush claimed that he had a hotline to God and once proudly stated:-
“God told me to end the tyranny in Iraq.” — President George Bush.
An atheist President would represent all Americans more equitably and lead to less prejudice. No communication problems with God when he chooses not to listen or can’t be bothered!
5. As you will see from the very clear map of the USA, the death penalty is still practiced in a majority of US states ( 31 versus 19).
6. In spite of the landmark ruling by The Supreme Court which lifts restrictions on abortion services in Texas, there is still a long battle ahead. There are many states where abortion services are limited.
“We will now will take this fight state by state to challenge and repeal laws all across the country,”- Cecile Richards, Planned Parenthood President
7. Health insurance.
As an EU visitor to the USA, I will not be covered by the U.S. Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) so that means navigating through tons of health insurance policies and they are expensive and complicated. It is ironic to note that U.S. citizens traveling to Europe (according to Rick Steve, America’s most respected authority on travel to Europe) will be entitled to medical treatment although I am not sure if they will have to pay or not. According to Rick Steve:-
“Universal health care does mean that everyone is taken care of — including foreigners. So if you get sick or injured while traveling, you will receive treatment, no questions asked.” — Rick Steve
8. Guns and crime are still a big issue. Just think that according to the NBC, 1 out of 3 Americans own a gun. That is why America’s gun murder rate is 25 times more than any of the developed nations. You can see the stats here.
If you want to add your voice to help, why not visit this site
As we have seen, the USA is not the safest and certainly not the cheapest place to visit. Their patchy record on human rights and civil justice, racism, xenophobia and religious hatred just do not make it an attractive place to visit.
Now you know why I am not planning to visit the USA unless there are dramatic changes on the human rights front.
Originally published at www.quora.com.