While the coronavirus worsens in the U.S., other countries are opening up to foreign travelers. EXCEPT to Americans – due to our EXCEPTIONAL botching of the crisis.
A reader and a good friend sent me an article the other day entitled “American Passports Are Worthless Now.” It was from a publication I hadn’t seen before, Medium, described as, “…not like any other platform on the internet. Our sole purpose is to help you find compelling ideas, knowledge, and perspectives. We don’t serve ads—we serve you, the curious reader who loves to learn new things.” Wow, can you imagine reading an article without having to disable your “Ad Blocker,” which after you do, makes the content impossible to actually read? But, I digress.
The author of “American Passports are Worthless Now,” Indi Samarajiva, “a writer living in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Founded some stuff, sold one, now writing full time,” posits, “America is not united anymore and it’s barely a state. They have crashed right through failed state into a plague state, unwelcome across the world.”
He goes on, “Americans have gone from having access to most of the world to being banned from most of it. Today, Americans are only allowed in a few Caribbean islands and the Balkans. An American passport is now worthless. Worse than worthless, it’s a plague. In the absence of a humane government, America is now ruled by COVID-19. Welcome to the Plague States of America.”
In a nod to the still prevailing American attitude that we are somehow “exceptional,” Samarajiva suggests, “I think it is difficult for Americans to understand that they are, to use an epidemiological term, completely fucked.” Note, this is coming from someone who’s living in Sri Lanka!
Here’s a link to Medium and Samarajiva’s essay: https://medium.com/@indica/the-plague-states-of-america-53b20678a80e. You may or may not agree with some of his most dire projections of the toll the pandemic and Covid-19 will inflict on America and it’s people. And that’s fair. But you can’t dispute his premise about the American passport. Because that’s fact. And in illustrating that fact, Samarajiva included two images that drew me in.
And for those of you who have troubled with maps and images, here’s another way of looking at things:
Now, bear in mind, the above chart shows all the places Americans can travel to, all 28 of them. Just to put this into perspective, there are 195 countries in the world; Americans can travel to 14% of them. (I’ll leave it to someone else to figure out the percentage on a population basis.)
As Samarajiva says, “Welcome to the club. Post-colonial bullshit and racism have made my Sri Lankan passport worthless for years. Now the American passport is worse. America has crashed straight through the third world into the fourth.”
American Exceptionalism meet American Except-tionalism!
(Note: At the outset of this piece I gave credit to a reader/friend for sending me the link to Medium. I would be remiss if I didn’t give credit to another reader/friend for introducing me to the term, American Except-tionalism. Thanks John. Thanks, Charles. I really appreciate the input and support!)