In light of recent political events, and the global protests this past weekend, it occurs to me that we immigrants are in a unique position. Having lived for extended periods in at least two cultures we’re able to compare the effects of political movements, leaders, and cultural trends across borders. That can be instructive, not just for us, but for those we’re in touch with via modern technology.
A few days ago a discussion broke out on my Facebook feed about abortion and birth control. And when one poster questioned whether medically necessary abortions are ever denied to women, I was able to point directly to the Savita Halappanavar case. Though the original poster lives in the U.S., as a direct result of my having lived in Ireland, I was able to point to a situation where a different country (with very different abortion laws) easily serves as a cautionary tale.
From that standpoint, I’m very pleased to see that our social movements seem to be gaining global momentum. That’s a key step in proving to others (principally our leaders) that we’re now all connected in a global sense. And, I think that’s vital to finding an equitable way for us to function responsibly across borders.
As an expat/immigrant, one thing that has had a profound impact on me has been witnessing just how much the rest of the world looks to the U.S. to see which way the wind will blow. [Notice I did not say, “looks to the U.S. for guidance”. Those days are well behind us.] Watching American presidential elections from abroad you see that citizens of other countries are far more aware of U.S. politics and policies than 99% of Americans are about other countries. And that’s largely because American policies and economics can, and do, affect the economics of countries, and the daily lives of people around the world.
And, it’s for that reason that I think it’s absolutely brilliant that demonstrations and actions that previously might have only existed in the U.S. are going global.
It’s high time that we (all around the globe) began to realize that the cost of cheap flat screens, social media, and global free trade is that we must be aware and conscious of the effects our actions have around the world, regardless of where we live or where we are “from”.
Dublin, January 2017