Look, I realize when people talk of moving to Canada should Donald Trump become president that it’s often meant all in good fun. But let me say, quite seriously, that I have no intention of going anywhere. I will remain an American citizen and, to co-opt the phrasing of the Tea Party buffoons, take my country back — back from the bigots, plutocrats, and warmongers who are a threat to my nation and the world.
Don’t get me wrong. I certainly see a lot of room for improvement in the United States. But living overseas for my spouse’s work, as I do now, has only made me better appreciate America’s promise — a promise that includes a relatively free and stable society, economic opportunity, and a government that does a pretty good job of respecting individual liberties. (Believe me, if the armed militants in Oregon had tried something like that in many countries, they would have gotten a real sense of what “tyranny” feels like.) It’s not for nothing that roughly 138 million people want to move to the U.S.
And even for those that don’t want to move to the U.S., what it does matters tremendously. It remains, for now, the leading nation of the world. Again, living overseas, I have had many detailed, knowledgeable conversations about American politics with citizens of other countries. Frankly, it’s shocking how well informed they are. And they get no voice whatsoever in deciding who the leaders of the U.S. will be, even though they have to live with the consequences.
The fact is that being a citizen of the United States is a precious gift — a powerful gift— most likely bestowed upon you simply as an accident of your birth. Personally, I will not surrender that gift to reactionaries. And that’s no joke.