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O Canada, Our home and native land?

It has become the fashionable thing to say that “if Trump becomes President I’m moving to X,” whether that place be Canada, India or Cuba.  Many people said this about Bush in 2004. In 2012 some conservatives said they would move to Australia, a country with a top tax bracket of 45%, Universal Healthcare and tight gun control laws. This piece of ill-informed moaning caused much laughter in Australia. The line is attractive for it is an fanciful escape from the grim reality of a Trump presidency, yet this option does not offer the escape its proponents promise. All it does is forfeit one’s place in the public life of the United States, where Trump will be defeated.  

Leaving a country does not escape its political realities. I grew up abroad during the Presidency of George W. Bush. American media does not discuss the politics of Britain, France or Australia in much detail, but the rest of the world does discuss American politics. President Obama’s election victory was front-page news on the Sydney Mourning Herald. The US election programs were played in our school library. The elections were the topic among worldly informed students at campus and during late night TV and smart dinner parties. Americans were asked at dinner parties, the workplace or schools on how on earth a man such as George Bush was elected president.

One can fantasize about living in Canada but you will be unable to escape the association with President Trump. Trump’s politics with appeals to native sentiment mean he will paint himself as leader of the American people, ignoring the complications such as term presents. As an American, the brush of Trumpism will taint the émigrés it creates. An American abroad would have to place their heads in the sand to avoid seeing what Trump does to this country. Even in a small Canadian Island the local TV stations would broadcast the politics of President Trump, after all, a first world nation banning every Muslim from entering the country is a global news story. We live in a globalized world, and unless one would forgo all communication, Internet and media it is hard to remain ignorant of what happens in America.

And even if you could, why would you? It is rare to find a Carl disinterested in the world around them. As social, political animals we are concerned with what goes on in the world. It would be rather petty to give up on following world developments due to an electoral setback.

Not only is it futile to try and escape Trump’s America, but also in doing so you are conceding to the spirit of Trump. By voting on Election Day you can voice your disapproval. The non-vote of Bernie supporters or Bust People would be a vote for Trump, Cruz or whoever the GOP nominates.  If Trump is elected president his policies can still be opposed. They can be opposed through electing Democrats, Independents or elections to the house, senate and state level offices. You can protest, write letters to your representative, and do whatever you can to participate in the struggle against Trumpism. But if you leave the country you are removing yourself from this endeavour. If millions of informers, and wealthy Americans departed for fairer shores, then there will be a sizeable reduction in the number of active educated citizens. It is this citizenry that has been and will be responsible for constructive social change.

Saying this, a Trump win is not inevitable. If you are passionately opposed to Trump to the level where you contemplate moving, then you can spend a fraction of that time voting on Election Day. You could even get engaged in the primary process, there are still several primaries left, to stop Trump or work for a candidate running against him in the general election. If former Secretary of State Clinton is not to your liking, then there is the Libertarian Gary Johnson of New Mexico running for president. If this is not enough, you can hold your head high that you voted against him, and did what you could to prevent his coming to power. By participating in this election you can keep a Trump presidency in the realm of nightmare, and your exile in Canada a fantasy.

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