Internationalists Anonymous

It’s true. I’ve been in denial for too long. I kept deluding myself by saying that I was just “looking at the evidence” or “thinking.” Now I know that it is time to face reality and admit that I have become an internationalst.

I’d like to blame my year abroad, but that’s just shirking the repsonsibility. In fact, it wasn’t just talking to non-Americans (shall I say “un-Americans”?) that caused the problem. It was also the reading, the examination of data, and, dare I say it, looking at history.

The warning signs were there. I began to ask why the US, the richest nation on earth, lagged far behind others in helping to alleviate world poverty. Figures like .7% (the world goal for development aid) and .015% (the US record) began to gnaw at me. I read about the Arctic ice cap melting faster than anyone had predicted, and then wondered why the US failed to agree to the Kyot o treaty. And of course, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the illegal detentions, the torture, the lies, and the inability to do anything about the root causes of terrorism all made me lose faith in the absolute rightness of the US versus the rest of the world.

Back in the US now, I see signs of hope. The local newspaper and television news show me the path back to health, when “world news” means “events that involve Americans, especially music or movie stars.” A good dose of shopping malls and lots of time spent driving should help, too, but I realize now that I have to seek real change within myself.

I want to find a chapter of Internationalists Anonymous. I want to tell my sad story and then work with a support group to return to the fold. What future can there be for me with all these impure thoughts, this questioning of the self-evident rightness of everything the US does? Perhaps, with some concerted effort and ample time, I can rid myself of this dreaded internationalism.

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