Discover more from America 2.0 (by Gary Sheng)
Why I Can’t Stop Thinking About Leaving America
It's time for us to realize that where we live significantly influences our happiness and flourishing, and that we have the power to exit places governed by people who take us for granted.
Life's biggest decisions often come with a whirlpool of emotions, introspection, and even a sense of conflict. One such crucial crossroad I find myself at is considering the possibility of leaving the United States—the land that has given me everything, yet, simultaneously, seems to be shackling the potential that lies within.
My connection to the United States is deeply personal, in fact, my very existence is a testament to the American spirit of compassion and cooperation. President George H.W Bush and then Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, along with countless other lawmakers, worked collaboratively to pass the Chinese Student Protection Act, a law passed after the Tiananmen Square Massacre that allowed my parents to remain in the US after their student visa expired. I owe my life, my upbringing, to this great land.
The United States, to me, has been a playground of opportunities. I experienced the joy of dance, the thrill of tennis, the harmony of acapella, a rich education that has molded my character and broadened my horizons, and so much more. All these moments, these memories, were made possible by America. For this, I am eternally grateful.
However, as of late…
I can't shake off this feeling that the United States, as it stands today, is somehow holding us all back.
This feeling doesn't contradict my stance on the need for 'America 2.0' – my vision for a far greater United States that actually manifests its ideals in the Founding Documents. A country full of people who flourish, and work to support the flourishing of others and the planet. But the country we are in, seems to be regressing on almost every meaningful dimension, failing to live up to its potential.
There is an abundance of talent in the United States, which is truly staggering. Yet, the prevailing system, instead of harnessing this talent, appears to stifle it.
This is especially apparent in cutting-edge fields like cryptocurrency and biotech, where instead of being a hotbed for innovation, the United States government is increasingly going out of its way to make it challenging for innovators to thrive. The country is dropping the ball on empowering the superheroes in our borders to contribute immensely to the common good. It’s such a shame.
The issues in the United States are rampant: a healthcare system where expenses rise and health declines, an education system that's breeding mistrust and underperformance, a pro-war industry profiteering while the nation is drawn into one conflict after another. It feels like we are spiraling, as a nation, into an abyss.
Leaving the United States this year, even just for a few months, felt like a breath of fresh air, an escape that energized me in ways I could have not imagined.
In Montenegro, I found myself surrounded by like-minded people, in a beautiful country, full of energy, authenticity, creativity, and a striking lack of cultural war. Despite being a foreigner, I quickly felt a deep connection to the country, but still a lingering pull towards my American roots. It's a conflict I'm sure many can relate to.
Loyalty towards your homeland is a strong sentiment, particularly when it has provided you with opportunities and freedom. But it's equally crucial to recognize when a place starts holding you back. And that's where I stand now, balancing loyalty and self-growth, contemplating the reignition of American dynamism while being drawn to the dynamism beyond its borders—from Singapore to Zanzibar to Estonia.
The United States is a home for me, and always will be. But home is also where one's energy thrives, where one is most needed, and where one does not feel stifled. Right now, I feel a strong desire to split my time across continents, gaining perspectives that will enable me to help each place, and maybe, see America's issues with a clearer lens.
The United States government must understand that their best minds, who have near-unlimited optionality, will leave the country if the situation doesn't improve.
Ironically, this exodus might inspire American leaders to finally pull up their socks and stop taking their advantages for granted. A relationship, even with one's country, can't be one-sided or abusive. We need a balance, a fair exchange of value.
Independence and the freedom to choose where we live play a significant role in our happiness, longevity, and overall wellbeing. We need to understand the power and responsibility we hold for our own lives. Taking care of ourselves empowers us to take care of everyone else, be it in the United States or beyond.
It's time to embrace the 'America 2.0' spirit—a spirit of love, humility, innovation—and spread it across the globe. That, to me, is the real essence of being an American.
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