Thursday, January 14, 2016

Trying to Rationalize Emotional Questions

Many people casually ask The Frau: So are you going back to Switzerland?

They ask it in a tone you would use to ask someone what they are having for dinner.

But the answer is not as simple as dinner.

The Frau wants to say yes. Rationally, it makes sense to live in a functional democracy, rather than the broken American version, which is headed towards plutocracy.

But the truth is, The Frau doesn’t know yet.

There are still family issues to deal with as well as emotions and futures to consider.

And there are days when The Frau’s parents come over and they go to lunch together. Those days are nice. You don’t get those days overseas.

But, look, Yodelers. Let’s be honest: America is a disaster right now. Most people with an option to go back and live in a functional industrialized country should probably do it, right? There are even articles out there telling us where to move should Trump become president. (Switzerland is number one on the list.)

Here are some of the issues The Frau is struggling with:

The very American healthcare system that saves lives robs people with its greed. In fact, among Americans with health insurance, twenty percent still go bankrupt due to medical bills.

The Frau finds these statistics horrifying. She thinks the richest country in the world should be ashamed of itself.

Instead, some lawmakers push to repeal any progress that’s been made. Instead, the American government refuses to control the prices of healthcare. And prices aren’t reasonable. They’re stratospheric. They’re ridiculous. Even Americans making good salaries worry about financial ruin from health insurance plans that include ever-higher deductibles. Most plans pay 80% but leave you with 20% payments from hospitals whose bills can run in the hundred thousand to million-dollar range. To think The Frau once spent five days in a Swiss hospital and the cost was only $3,000. And Swiss insurance paid it in full. It does make one consider moving back.

Even Vice President Joe Biden worried about paying bills from his son’s bout with cancer. President Obama offered to loan him money. Yes. If our country’s leaders are struggling, what about the average American?

Healthcare is just one issue. There are many others.

The U.S. leads the world in mass shootings.
American politics is broken—even President Obama admitted this Tuesday night.
Only five corporations own the media, distorting information and therefore democracy.
The list goes on.

Look. While the Frau isn’t personally struggling, she knows that in America, it doesn’t take much to create a disaster when you’re part of a system that offers few safety nets and considers healthcare a commodity given to the highest bidder instead of a human right.

But then she looks at her daughter. And her parents. And how they play together every week. And then she cries when she thinks about moving far away again.

So. Back to that question: Are you going back to Switzerland?

Sorry, mitenand, but it’s not black and white.
It’s not rational. It’s emotional.
And it’s not a yes or no answer.
At least, not until a certain looming deadline forces it to be.


Dominik said...

I thikn you should move back! We will all welcome you here with open arms :-) btw. it's snowing now. Winter Wonderland! :-)

Chantal said...

Danke for the input!

Diana said...

I couldn't agree with you more Chantal. Strangely, I was shocked at how expensive things are in the US, like good organic food. Much more expensive than in CH.

Chantal said...

Yes, despite popular belief that the U.S. is cheap, it is actually one of the most expensive places to live if you consider the cost of things like healthcare and decent produce.

Anonymous said...

The grass is not always greener on the other side. The grass is greenest wherever you choose to water it. All the best with your decisions. I can relate - it's tough xxx

Hattie said...

I was shocked on a recent visit to Australia and New Zealand to realize that we had fallen so far behind these countries in so many ways. It's not that life there is perfect, but it seems to me that average citizens can expect decent surroundings at home and at work and a good standard of living. Our Hawaiian community is being overwhelmed by street people that have simply been dumped on us because everywhere else they get chased away. At least we don't make them go away. Yet. I gave some money to a woman sitting on the street yesterday and patted her cheek. It tears me up, and I don't know what to do. I'm not a saint, can't give up my own life. I expect our elected leaders to LEAD and deal with people's needs instead of catering to rich people all the time.

Rocky said...

I have followed your blog for years now and am finally compelled to write. The state of the american economy, health care, morals and politics is an embarrassment, I am active in my community and it seems to be going backward; greed is winning. I have been to Switzerland many times and am impressed how most of the population has a firm grasp of being a world citizen. Thank you for your writings; they do make a difference.

Chantal said...

Hattie, I know so many foreigners who come to America and are completely shocked by the level of poverty and homelessness in the so-called richest country in the world.

And Rocky, you are right--it's a complete embarrassment. I don't know what else to do but keep writing about it and pointing it out to people. I think some Americans have no idea how bad they have it compared to other average citizens in the rest of the world who at least have safety nets and decent healthcare.

Thanks to all for your thoughtful comments.

Stephanie said...

Hi Chantal

I just stumbled across your blog - the timing was perfect. I have lived in CH for about 12 years and am now trying to decide whether to move back to Texas or not. All my family is there - mom, dad, 4 sisters, a brother, 3 nieces and a nephew! My family - husband and two daughters and myself are on our own here in CH. It gets lonely sometimes - lots of times actually as a SAHM. Quality of life - outdoors, safety net, medical care, transportation, etc.. is amazing - hard to think of it higher anywhere else.

But I miss my family and the friends I still have in Texas. But I have friends here, too, now. But they aren't quite the same somehow - not sure why. Anyway, one visit 'home' a year and then my parents coming over once a year, too, just doesn't seem like much. But honestly, I guess it can be like that even if I live in the US, but just not the same state.

At least here, we have the money and vacation time to use to visit family AND take 'real' vacations - not like how I fear it would be in the US. And I am addicted to travel :-)

Can you please give me your honest opinion. Not sure where you are living, but how has it been compared to CH? Are you 'happier' there? Does being closer to family make up for all you have given up in CH? I am so torn - - please help!! Any advice would be VERY welcome!

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