What follows is one of the most moving comments I have ever read.
@ That Is Me,
I also got high blood pressure too, for the first time in my life, after I learnt about this “US mess” in August 2011. (It actually went back down to 118 when I checked it about two weeks after I made my CLN application at Toronto in May 2012). But between Aug 2011-Feb 2012, with my blood pressure spiking, I lost 30 pounds in six months. Which seemed kind of odd as I’d heard high blood pressure had a connection to overweight, and I was downright skinny having lost 30 pounds. I had insomnia, too, and depression for the first time in my life. I’d always rolled with the punches, but I’d never met anything like this.
18 months ago, on another thread, I posted,
“…. The worst thing that ever happened to me before this [being an alleged US person in 2011] was a fire 30 years ago. When this US mess started, I felt that it was “fifty or a hundred times worse” than the fire. As it drags on, I now feel that being trapped in a burning building was “a picnic in the park” compared to this US mess. And another thing, the US gov knows there’s a problem and they could help straighten out this mess, unlike the arsonist who was insane. I actually bore the arsonist no ill will, which turned out to be the best way to get on with my life. I would like to move on from this crisis the same way, but the US isn’t making it easy. ….”
At the time I wrote that post in February 2012, although I had not posted about it I had been to been to my local US consulate, which tried to convince me I could not have possibly ended my US citizenship in 1979. Whilst I remained quiet, rather like a little mouse, I did not give in (it was too important – I can’t exactly re-live 33 years of my life). But then after failing to convince me of this for about 20 minutes, suddenly, to my surprise, about-face, I was told maybe it was possible I had ceased to be a US citizen in 1979 and I could come back 7 months later for 2 to 3 hours of intensive questioning for them determine if I had. The person who interviewed me in Jan 2012 was quite interested in taxes. There was no Consulate Report Directory then – this sure made me realise the need for one – I’d been collecting the few expatriation stories I could find on the internet simply to prepare efficiently for my meeting (not expecting trouble). But because of these few stories, I knew that harassment was not proper procedure for sure, and it also seemed pretty clear that Dept of State was not the least bit interested in taxes.
Anyway, typical tax dodger, I was making minimum wage when I relinquished my US citizenship in 1979 and I made under $20,000 in 2011. I have no family in the US because I sponsored them into Canada years ago. It was clear from my 4079 and affidavit that I had had no connection of any sort whatsoever to the US for most of my life. That consulate tried so hard to hang on to me, it was sick. It made the US look pretty sick, too.
I was a little mouse at that consulate, but I knew I needed a CLN (because reality is reality, these 33 years had happened, I could not rewrite them). And this 2 to 3 hour interrogation, which is what intensive questioning is, that they wanted me to come back for, I knew was not proper because of those few accounts I’d read about expatriation meetings – clearly that was not something anyone was required to put up with and this little mouse wasn’t going to. I just went home — looking, my husband said, 20 years older than when I’d entered the consulate — and I typed out three pages of everything I could remember of my meeting, complete with verbatim quotes whilst they were fresh in my mind. Of course, had I known this consulate had an attitude problem, I never would have gone there. It was only after my bizarre experience that I asked around town and found out that their odd procedures and hostile attitude towards former or soon-to-be-former Americans, was apparently standard operating procedure there.
It took me a couple of months to figure out what to do. I went to Toronto in May 2012.
The personnel at Toronto Consulate were like the personnel at the US consulate I’d visited in 1972. I walked out of Toronto Consulate feeling good about the United States. As far as I’m concerned, if I could feel that way after living through 8 months of hell, people at the Toronto Consulate should get a medal. I actually said that to someone fairly high up in the State Dept – State Dept, btw, is absolutely not trying to keep people in US citizenship against their will and consulate number 1 has cleaned up its act.
But overall, the loss of respect I have for that country … not just what happened to me at consulate number 1, which appears to have gone on for at least 1 and 1/2 years — but this whole crass equating citizenship with money (which I sure never learnt in a US school) and demonising people who have chosen to move and commit themself to another country (ironically how the US itself was built) and government officials knowing they’re destroying people and families, but preferring to do that because they can gain political points by so doing with a very gullible and inward-focused electorate (in the 60s and 70s, there was a healthy scepticism in the US, something which Canada and, to my knowledge, most democratic countries had then and still do)… argh .. the loss of respect I have for the US since 2011, I really don’t have words.
Well, some words did come to me the day I got my CLN in the mail in Nov 2012. I posted,
…. Funny thing, back when I actually relinquished my citizenship in 1979, leading up to it my thinking basically was, “You have two good countries. Choose one.” The day I actually became a Canadian and relinquished 34 years ago was not emotional for me, it was a logical progression of my life. I was neither happy nor sad to lose my US citizenship. But times have changed, specifically the US’ attitude has changed – and so getting that CLN was emotional and joyful! If was a sense of relief that I could not have imagined in my wildest dreams when I chose between “two good countries” many years ago. ….
Back in the 70s, in my early 20s, I just felt that I wanted to have 100% participation and commitment in one country, ironically a concept I picked up growing up in the US. I did, and do, believe that is how the US became the strong country it was in the 20th century.
And back in the 70s, knowing that so many people in the world are stuck in pretty bad countries, I actually felt privileged that I got to choose between two really good ones. A few years later I began working in refugee law and that just confirmed it. Prior to 2011, I had no idea the US had any problem with people choosing to leave it. I realise now that of course a confident country doesn`t, and the country south of here today is a scared and flailing one.
Myself and my family suffered severe financial, physical and emotional health problems since August 2011 because I was born in the USA. There is only one country in the world that has ever hurt me and unbelievably it is the USA. Not the USA I grew up in or left, both physically and legally, before most Americans alive today were born.
Ironically in trying to defend myself against this New US, I ended up helping to start Brock and now spend more time focused on the US politics in one week than I did in the past forty years. Which feels odd because though I’ve been mega-active in Canadian politics for 34 years, I’d only been a vacationer in the US. Then came 2011. Whilst I have had, legally and morally, no commitment or allegiance to the US for most of my life, I did think the US was a pretty good country, second best in the world, and felt fondly toward it. But then it turned on me. And why? Because I was born there.
One response focused on the “being caught in the fire“.
Your comment at 1:10 a.m http://isaacbrocksociety.ca/2013/08/14/has-your-life-been-stolen-from-you-by-the-irs-comment-of-the-day/comment-page-1/#comment-485415 is one of the most moving I have seen. I thank you for taking the time to compose it. Your integrating previous thoughts/comments reinforces what a hellish experience this has been and for how long.
Interestingly, I think that your analogy to the arsonist and being caught in a burning building is an interesting one. You say:
The worst thing that ever happened to me before this [being an alleged US person in 2011] was a fire 30 years ago. When this US mess started, I felt that it was “fifty or a hundred times worse” than the fire. As it drags on, I now feel that being trapped in a burning building was “a picnic in the park” compared to this US mess. And another thing, the US gov knows there’s a problem and they could help straighten out this mess, unlike the arsonist who was insane. I actually bore the arsonist no ill will, which turned out to be the best way to get on with my life. I would like to move on from this crisis the same way, but the US isn’t making it easy.
I once commented on another thread:
Through ill advised legislation (which in most cases was not designed to target Americans Abroad) Congress left a lot of gasoline on the floor of a house occupied by Americans abroad. The current Democrats – (including Obama, Levin, Geithner) saw there was a lot of gas on the floor of the house of Americans Abroad. Recognizing this fact and opportunity, they then took some matches, lit a fire and torched the house of Americans Abroad leaving them to die. Again this is the current Democrat Party – not sure what part of this you don’t understand.
The first time you “bore the arsonist” no ill will because he was insane. What about this group of arsonists? Are they insane? How does one move on with life without bearing these people ill will?