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The Apolitical Expat

In a little over two weeks (unless a lot of things go off the rails between now and then), I will be a resident of Mexico.

One of the reasons I'm leaving the US is because I am so frustrated by what has happened to the institutions of our government, and to the populace of this country as a whole.

The presidency has been taken over by a narcissistic, lying madman.

The Republican members of Congress have made the acquisition of power and the desire for ideological victory a priority, abdicating their responsibility to act ethically.

The Democratic members of Congress are stymied by the long-term political ineptitude of their party leadership that has made it difficult for them to win elections even when they win the majority of the votes.

The courts are stacked with appointees who put their own politics ahead of the law.

Gerrymandering and corporate money have led to a government that is increasingly in the pockets of the wealthy and have left regular people without a voice in Washington. And since 1912, when the size of the House of Representatives was set at 435 members, the average congressional district has grown from about 210,000 to about 720,000. With so many constituents, the members of Congress cannot possibly represent them appropriately.

Polls, analysis, and editorial journalism have been conflated with the factual reporting of news, so it's almost impossible to tell them apart. And social media have made it easy for people to congregate around information that matches their own beliefs.

Many states are passing laws to criminalize all abortions, an act that has nothing to do with protecting the lives of unborn children and everything to do with controlling women. (If there were any interest in protecting children, we'd have sensible gun legislation, not laws telling half the population what they are allowed to do with their own bodies.) And the newly-stacked Supreme Court will likely upheld these immoral, misogynistic laws.

Hate speech and domestic terrorism, almost all of it from the far right, are increasing.

Xenophobia has become government policy, and it has infected our national psyche.

I've just described a nation I do not wish to live in. Nor do I wish to participate in its political institutions. I do not intend to vote in future elections, and I won't be engaging in any further public discourse about US government and politics.

I don't imagine that Mexico is a better country than the United States of America. But as a resident and not a citizen, I don't plan to participate in its political institutions either.

I intend for this to be my final statement about politics. It will be a test for me to live apolitically. It is not my instinct. I have cared deeply about many issues and many causes over my lifetime. And I enjoy politics as entertainment.

But what has my caring accomplished? And how grotesque must entertainment be before we just shut it off?

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