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Home Is No Country

America has never felt like home to me. Now it doesn’t feel like home to millions of other Americans, whether they were born here as I was or not. Forget the ‘misery loves company’ cliché. Where are people, who felt the United States was the last great hope of the world, to find home now?

A friend who speaks Spanish overheard a Mexican man and woman in the grocery store expressing dismay over President Trump’s recent ugliness toward Mexico. They all agreed he was “muy mal.”

Another woman, who works with a local group of Native Americans, the Maidu, on a reservation near Lassen Volcanic National Park, overheard the exchange. She didn’t speak Spanish, and asked my friend if she felt Trump wasn’t a good man. When she said, “no, he’s not,” the woman hugged her.

She then described the fear that the Maidu people are experiencing, given Trump’s recent diktat to reinstate the Standing Rock pipeline over the Missouri River and through sacred grounds. The Maidu don’t feel safe on their own lands again, fearing their lands could be taken away from them.

The fear this evil administration has inspired in all decent Americans is palpable. When I hear Christians say that the Lord sent Donald Trump, I ask, which lord, the Lord of light or the lord of Darkness?

This vulgar liar, sybaritic and worshipper of wealth and luxury, has the temerity to say: “My administration will do everything in its power to defend religious liberty. We have to feel safe and secure.”

Proving his hypocrisy has no limit, Trump went on to preach before the choir at a gathering of so-called religious leaders: “The quality of our lives is not defined by our material success, but by our spiritual success.” You can almost hear the devil laughing.

I don’t believe in hell, but now I understand why so many people throughout history have. If there is a hell, people like Trump and Bannon have a special section waiting for them.

A pervasive ground of darkness and deadness gave rise to the Bush-Cheney Administration, which then did much to extend the reach of darkness in the world. Since that ground was not addressed during the Obama Administration, we now have an eruption of even greater evil with Trump-Pence.

As Masha Gessen and Martina Navratilova, refugee/citizens from communist countries, have recently written, a feeling of home carries these descriptors: “a sense of safety, a sense of familiarity, a sense of inhabiting space with certainty, a sense, indeed, of the certainty of that space — the opposite feeling of having the rug pulled out from under your feet.”

Masha and Martina now describe feeling “moved alternately to tears and to rage by the actions of the new American president.”

After leaving the stultifying Catholic Church, I left stagnant Michigan at 19 where auto manufacturing was already in decline. Truly, “you can’t go home again.”

California offered freedom and opportunity, and I’m grateful for the decades I’ve lived here, but I haven’t felt “the freedom to work to change America” since the early 1990’s.

My virulently anti-communist mother often said, “When the Russians finally throw off the chains of communism, we Americans will be there to help them build a democracy and market,” I felt then, and still feel today, there was an opening to work together for the benefit of both countries, and humanity.

I hated communism, but so did the vast majority of Russians by that time. And though their material culture felt like the backside of the moon, I found Russians smart, curious and philosophically inclined, unlike the vast majority of my countrymen.

Ironically therefore, the closest I’ve come to feeling at home was during my time in Russia in early 1990, especially St. Petersburg, which was still named Leningrad. The Russians needed everything; my vision was that we Americans could help them as we restored manufacturing in the US, which in turn would help renew the American spirit.

I had the promise of support from leading executives in Silicon Valley, and risked everything, much more than financially. Initially it looked like an ethically and ecologically sound partnership between former superpower enemies could happen. But Russian pride and American arrogance carried the day, and now instead of the best with the best, we have the worst with the worst in Putin and Trump.

Home is a place where you feel accepted for who you are and recognized for what you have to contribute to humanity. America never fit that definition for me, and now it does not for a majority of its citizens, and is no longer a beacon for the rest of the world.

We have no choice except to make the earth our home now, and continue to contribute to humanity. Despite or because of the death of the American Dream, there is another opening. Seize it.

Martin LeFevre


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