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The American Caliban

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On departing the U.S. (simulcast at contentgoeshere.com) [Nov. 3rd, 2004|01:45 pm]
The American Caliban
Since a lot of my Internet-linked friends and acquaintances are either liberals, libertarians, or leftists I have heard a lot lately about leaving the U.S. because of disgust with or fear of the current government and their policies.

Let's talk sense about this.

  1. You can't just "move to Canada" or Sweden or France or the U.K. or anywhere, really. Unless you're independently wealthy and/or retired it just doesn't work that way. You have to go through an immigration process and it's long and painful. It can easily take years for even an experienced professional with a job offer to get through the thicket of bureaucracy that any well-run country erects for immigrants.

  2. You can't run from Imperial America. Canada is an especially laughable choice here; when we sneeze, they get a cold. The long arm of U.S. power extends to every place in the world, certainly to every place you could stand living. Go up there and watch things get worse here if you want. At some point an apologetic Mountie will arrive to explain that you're being deported back because of a joint security agreement.

  3. Foreign countries, surprisingly, are different. The peculiar luxuries, freedoms, and opportunities of our country will not be present there. Things cost a lot more, the weather is different, and the justice system may shock you. If you're not already an experienced traveler who enjoys surprises and strangeness, it's entirely possible you'll hate everywhere but home.

  4. Cowardice is not rewarded, either in respect or in results. Stay and fight for what you believe. Whether you are a libertarian who despises Ashcroft's new police state, a liberal who rejects warmongering and theocracy, or a core leftist despairing at corporate America, there is work to be done here. Defeatism is a self-fulfilling apocalypse.


In sum, don't leave unless you have another good reason to do so and a plan for achieving it. The wealth and privilege and freedoms you have as your birthright carry with them the obligation to serve your country in its time of need. Be a citizen first for a change. If you leave here, your new home will demand no less of you.
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Comments:
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[User Picture]From: rivetpepsquad
2004-11-03 01:53 pm (UTC)
could not even have come close to saying it as well. gracias.
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[User Picture]From: substitute
2004-11-03 02:05 pm (UTC)

Don't personalize this!

I wasn't saying that every country in the world -- including yours -- has a worse system than ours, don't be silly!

But it is true that Americans are often shocked when they discover our justice system isn't worldwide and that they are presumed guilty rather than innocent in France, for example, or don't have to be let out of jail within 48 hours if not charged.

I'm not sure what Americans would hate about Sweden most likely because I haven't been there. I'm making a general point.
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[User Picture]From: kineticfactory
2004-11-03 02:08 pm (UTC)
OTOH, if you stay in America, your taxes, creativity and economic activity go to feed the BushCo machine. And if you stay to change things, you'll still be outnumbered by the stupids who have more children.

Not to mention the very real possibility that, soon enough, Bush's America may decide that it needs you after all... as cannon fodder.
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[User Picture]From: substitute
2004-11-03 02:15 pm (UTC)

sure

I just don't see the virtue in abandoning my countrymen to that fate and making it worse.

I can also give my money and creative activity to the opposition.
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[User Picture]From: pbd
2004-11-03 02:34 pm (UTC)

And there is the issue of taxes...

Tax Rates of Economically Developed Countries
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[User Picture]From: substitute
2004-11-03 02:37 pm (UTC)

Re: And there is the issue of taxes...

I like goulash. How about Hungary?
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[User Picture]From: gcrumb
2004-11-03 02:39 pm (UTC)

Indeed

But the most compelling reason not to leave the US is that if you do, you'll leave it to the rest of them.

It's not the first time in your history that reason and justice have been the minority view. It's disgusting and disheartening, yes. But if you disagree with the situation, it's your civic duty to oppose it.

The ballot box is only one means to achieve this. If it fails you, there are any number of other means to ensure that your voice is not lost. In fact, it's more important now than ever that you find those means.

Those of us who aren't citizens of the US have our work cut out for us too. The country that I'm currently living in just signed a reciprocal agreement not to allow their respective citizens to be indicted by the International Criminal Court. This was one of the conditions of its receiving aid money from the Bush regime. Convincing people of the folly of this action is exceedingly difficult, because the ones who stand to suffer most from its reversal are those in power.

As many have said before, something worth dying for is worth living for. Americans claim to be proud of the sacrifices their forebears made in order to achieve freedom and equality. Maybe now is the time to consider what your descendants will say about you.
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From: (Anonymous)
2004-11-03 02:49 pm (UTC)

Re: Indeed

I'd willingly die for my country in a civil war...sadly, i don't thin anyone gives a fuck anymore. The fundys have taken control and all we can do is wait. Personally, I hope that Canada annexes the northeast. There are dark times ahead, may history have mercy on us all.
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From: (Anonymous)
2004-11-03 03:33 pm (UTC)
My ego took a bruising last night when I saw the returns showing 80% "yes" votes on state initiatives to bar me from having the same priviledges as hetero folks when it comes to my choice of partner. I suffered a "how stupid can these people really be?" moment when I saw the election returns this morning.

I have to balance that out with that America did not vote for the "most popular" candidate from either party. That was decided for us by small pods of voters in the state of Iowa a long time ago (they actually didn't even cast a ballot--merely huddled in different corners of a room). I heard no calls last night or today that the electoral college should be changed, as I did four years ago. Not surprising. The morning-after pundits tell me this election was decided by Karl Rove delivering the vote from the WWJD crowd, forgetting Terry MacAuliffe allowed the candidates to destroy each other in a rather small arena to deliver a candidate for the Democratic Party without a protracted campaign, and we were left with one decided by the "What Would Marian the Librarian Do?" crowd from the bloody carcasses.

Nothing has much changed in America since last night, or in the past century, even. We still have to bow to the rules of the Old Dominion and their spawn who settled the midwest, regardless if we call them Southern Democrats, Neo-Cons, etc. That was the consequence of keeping the Republic together and fighting the Civil War.

Maybe we should have let them have the South after all.
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[User Picture]From: jonpants
2004-11-03 03:39 pm (UTC)
BUT IN TEH OTHUR CONTRIES TEHY DONT HAVE A MONKEE AS THERE LEADR, GEEZ WUT ARE YOU THINKING ONLY CRAZE PEPLE WILL STAY HEAR.
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[User Picture]From: friendly_bandit
2004-11-03 04:12 pm (UTC)
Conrad, if I were to get the $22k I need, can I still move to Italy?
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[User Picture]From: substitute
2004-11-03 04:13 pm (UTC)

oh yeah

Sure, you have as good a reason to go there as Dennis had to go to Canada! (boobies)
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[User Picture]From: dindin
2004-11-03 04:19 pm (UTC)
Do you mind if I post this to johnkerry04?
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[User Picture]From: dindin
2004-11-03 04:20 pm (UTC)
For the record, I'm as upset as anyone, I'm just annoyed at all the "omg, im movin' 2 Canada111!!11" posts.
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[User Picture]From: melsmarsh
2004-11-03 04:43 pm (UTC)
I have a friend who went to Canada within 2 monthes after finding out he had a job, so it obviously isn't that difficult. He is not wealthy, but he is a liberal who had skills that Canada was looking for. He will be there for the next few years at the least.

I'll be in Canada where civil liberties are better than here and where they are looking for anthropologists. Or Holland, I have connections there and I know the culture almost as well as I know the culture here, plus the EU is looking for people for ESA. Either way my skills are in demand and they do not care that I am queer.

I hope you can affect some change. I have fought. I am tired. I don't want to fight anymore. Perhaps in a few years I will be able to fight again, but for now I want to move somewhere to take a nice long vacation with no neocons for miles.
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[User Picture]From: halfjack
2004-11-03 06:10 pm (UTC)
He will also only be allowed to stay legally until he loses that job. If he quits, he has to change countries again or do the immigration dance or re-do the work visa dance. And he has to go home until he solves it. A work visa is not immigration and immigration is not citizenship. Trust me; we've danced or started to dance all three.

Also watch those wacky income tax laws -- it kinda looks like you keep funding the regime you run from which is bizarre.

I'm not actually trying to dissuade you here, but you should make sure you know what you're getting into before you bolt. I wonder if the Immigration Canada web site has been slashdotted yet?
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[User Picture]From: mr_flippant
2004-11-03 06:34 pm (UTC)

Start your own island nation?

What would Marlon Brando do?

Same ideas here...but introduces the idea of being invaded by Tonga.

"Malo e lelei mei Tonga!"
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[User Picture]From: trinnit
2004-11-03 06:46 pm (UTC)

Staying.

I will stay and continue to fly to see you until that is illegal.
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From: yoscott
2004-11-03 06:49 pm (UTC)

...

First off, great post.

I have always valued your opinions on many number of subjects, however... As a citizen who's concerned about the future of America and what appears to be a social regression on the horizon, what am I to do? I am not going all Baldwin and fleeing the country because of the election.

However, that said... This truly is going to be a landmark election, with anywhere from 2-4 new conservative Supreme Court Justices being appointed, and only nobody knows how many other crazy policy changes on the table, such as changing the requirements for presidency, constitutional amendments BANNING things (the first since prohibition.) This could change social policy in America for anywhere from 15-20 years minimum, and could have a ripple effect until long after we're dead.

So, as someone who doesn't believe in the system (the electoral system, the political beauracracy system, and most importantly the the system of government where there are no checks and balances (a system we are about to enter into, as all three branches will be politically aligned)... What am I supposed to do? Just sit back and suck it up?

I sat in my 14x14 cubicle today, knowing that over the next 6 days I'm going to work 14 hour days without overtime, or any form of compensation for working so hard. I just got home... and I know that each night as I get home I'll have at least 2 to 3 hours of studying for a meaningless degree that I've been asked to get by employer. And I've been going at it like this for ages, working and working and working for what? nothing. No hope for a better life. I can get more money, sure, but my vote still counts the same. And all the taxes I pay on my paycheck supports a country and programs that I don't agree with and don't support. Granted there are SOME programs I probably DO support with this administration, and in a perfect administration, I probably wouldn't support them all. But now some of my money is going to go to supporting children learning about Jesus in private schools, and in a year or so, my tax money will be supporting all sorts of other god over science intiatives like the fighting of stem cell research.

Man, and I dont even want to get into all the issues about how this administration will actually PROMOTE bigotry toward race, gender, sexual orientation and religious affiliation.

I didn't think this loss would actually affect me as much as it did, but it profoundly has. I firmly believe we're moving toward another 4 years living in a Kingdom of Fear and Hatred. And I dont mean Fear and Hatred of Bush. I mean Fear and Hatred of that which is not Us. Xenophobia will reach all time highs and Americans (particularly those who voted for Bush and buy into the Kingdom of Fear and Hatred) will continue to shun and push away that which we do not understand, assuming we have all the answers.

It's a vicious cycle that will unfortunately never end in our lifetime. For some, the idea of an alternative culture to our regressive one, such as moving to Canada or Europe where progressive values are more prevalent is appealing. Sure, there are downsides to these foreign lands, just like there are downsides to OUR land...

One thing you say in your post...

You say Defeatism is a self-fulfilling apocalypse. Well, that may be the case, but, by all accounts, the sanity of America hs been defeated for some time now. The apocalypse is just around the corner.

But it's a good statement, it shouldn't just be applied to politics.
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[User Picture]From: substitute
2004-11-03 09:45 pm (UTC)

Re: ...

Thanks for the praise.

If anything can fix these problems, it's middle-class rage like yours. If we use that power before they take away the middle class, we might get the country back.
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[User Picture]From: azathar
2004-11-03 08:03 pm (UTC)
I'm going to post this to my memories if You don't mind.
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[User Picture]From: substitute
2004-11-03 08:59 pm (UTC)

I think you misunderstood

I think you misunderstood. That saying refers to the fact that troubles in the States soon arrive in Canada also.
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