As a non-resident immigrant living in the US, we had limited political agency (I retained overseas voting rights for the UK, my husband was wholly politically disenfranchised) – and we were specifically warned about getting “too involved” in anything political by our relocation team. At times, as you may imagine, this was incredibly frustrating – especially during the global clusterfuck that was 2016. So one of the things I promised myself when I moved back to Ireland was that I would get involved in the causes that matter to me. One of those things – and the one I mostly yell about on the internet – is abortion rights.
Of the many things that are difficult while living abroad, politics can be the thorniest to negotiate. My convoluted status as a non-resident, non-immigrant alien means that I can’t vote here in the US – no matter how many times Facebook exhorts me to register – and that’s an uncomfortable place to be in an election straight out of the Twilight Zone. There have been important political happenings in my home country and adopted nation too – Brexit and the Irish marriage equality referendum, most notably – which have emphasised my feelings of disconectedness.
Today, the UK gets a new prime minister: Theresa May. I’ve said earlier that I’m pretty ambivalent about this – I want to see more women in positions of power around the world, but does it really have to be *this* woman? When I was born, Britain had a female prime minister – and she was a pretty hideous woman, whose death lead to the song “Ding Dong the Witch is dead” resurfacing in the UK charts.
I really needed a win today.
I’m still in employment limbo, to the extent that some of my clients are being reassigned. Which means that even when I *can* go back to work, my hours will be cut, and I won’t get to see some of my kiddos. Which sucks for them and for my colleagues as I screw around with their schedules. And there’s the whole not-earning-money thing, which is a problem when you live in Seattle. Without a defined end in sight, I just feel stuck.
The nation I live in and the nation I come from still feel fractured beyond repair.
Well… this week did not go the way I wanted.
As you may recall from my previous post, I had two looming events, one personal – the imminent expiration of my employment authorisation – and one public – the Brexit referendum. I was stressed, but hopeful.
I am no longer hopeful.
It’s a very strange day to be a Brit living abroad. I feel a little bit like I’m free floating, waiting for someone to tell me what to do next.
The polls have just closed on the ‘Brexit’ – the referendum as to whether or not Britain should leave the European Union. My mind boggles at the fact that this vote even took place – it seems like the kind of isolationist, nationalist idea that should have died out 100 years ago. Yet as I look at politics, in Britain, Europe and here in the USA, I see more and more xenophobic, isolationist politics. That’s a more in depth conversation though, and for another time.
So I’ve been living in the USA for over two years now, and I’ve clearly neglected my writing commitment. With the husband away on business, I’d been mulling over a few things about the good old US of A that still baffle me. I’d mentally drafted a mildly amusing ‘only in America’ post that I was planning to sit down with a pot of coffee and and tease America about its silly and strange habits.
Love won last Friday, just in time for Pride. Many more eloquent people than I have talked about how awesome this is, as well as how it’s far from the end in the fight for LGBT rights. So I won’t do that here. I will just share a few photos from the Capitol Hill PrideFest.