I am so damn tired of hearing that from my friends and peers. Is Canada more awesome than the US? In many ways, yes. But, we’ve got the better deal on some issues, too. The idea that my friends, many of them my radical peers, whose primary work social justice, civil rights, or art activism, are throwing up their hands and saying they’re stepping out of the game is offensive and irritating.
This is the exact reason why the democrats are losing and why. They try so hard to work for what they believe in, and they think that being positive enough and working hard enough with the same strategies will work. Sometimes they don’t. Sometimes the world sucker-punches you. And when we lose, we shrug and say, “Fine, I’m out.”
When the Republicans lose they whine, act petulant and and act like assholes on TV. And you know what? It works. People pay attention. They use their (often totally unfounded) righteous rage to act like drama queens, which makes people feel like they care.
Democrats and liberals have been punched in the gut for YEARS and we never freaked out, never called names, never acted like Republicans. Many of my community was so pissed off about W’s insane policies and election theft, but not one leader emerged to show us any of their righteous rage. Sure, we had Jon Stewart, but he is a comedian, and satire, while a very effective balm for our aching souls, never incited any of the rage we needed to actually win things.
After the 2004 election I had friends who had moved abroad call me to bitch me out about Ohio (where I was raised) going for W. These were people who voted absentee for california or didn’t vote at all. These are people who knew all about the evil lord Blackwell, but they sure didn’t do a damn thing to help counteract any nefarious doings. Of all the nerve.
We get exasperated, no doubt. The idea that another country would make the woes of the US just disappear is a romantic one, to be sure. But that won’t happen.
Does becoming an ex-pat make life automatically awesomer? I dunno, perhaps we should ask any one of the millions of immigrants in California, who work, either legally or illegally, to send money home to family. Moving to Canada is a priviledge. You have to have skills that make you desirable. Or you sneak around, trying not to get caught. And the USA is still there, making crappy social policies that all of your friends and family have to suffer through and fight against. But hey, at least you escaped.
As Margaret Cho said, “I have chosen to stay and fight.” Tides turn, and we are living through some briny-ass times. But I’m staying put. I love this country too much to let just another shitty election cycle take it away from me. And I’m not going to roll over and take it like our preferred elected officials have for the past, er, 20 years. It’s my fucking country, too.
But hey, if you think moving to Canada will solve all your problems, go for it. But don’t you dare call me and tell me what I should be doing with my vote, my time, or my voice. I’m still using them to fight for what I believe in. If you want to give up, fine, but don’t you dare act superior or smarter for doing so. The rest of us still believe in America, even if you don’t.
And for a righteous argument that has more humor than my little rant, please check out Bill Maher totally owning it on the excellent blog Maybe Days. Maher was HBO, but MayMay has it on his blog and since I’m too dense to embed it here, check it out there and poke around a bit. His blog is total brain porn.