Canada is cold in the winter

Approximately how Canada looks right now. And it’s not even December!
Approximately how Canada looks right now. And it’s not even December!

But somehow, even the prospect of ice through June and moose trampling the backyard garden is not enough to thwart many people from thinking seriously about moving to our northern neighbor.  This is, of course, in response to our nation’s recent snake eyes roll of (future) President Trump and a republican-led Senate.  I get it, I really do.  President Trump – I’ve written it three times today and it still seems more like a line from a nasty bit of political satire than the current reality that we are facing.  Remember when Berkeley Breathed ran a series of comic strips in which Trump had his brain transplanted into the body of a mangy stray cat, and somehow managed to continue running his dodgy real-estate empire?  I feel like the same trick has been played again, but this time he has been transplanted mind-and-body into a role that many feel fits him like a doll’s teaparty dress on an rabid mastiff.

I don’t need to go into an analysis of how this happened, nor am I qualified.  Gobsmacked articles are already flooding the front pages of every major media outlet, replacing yesterday’s assured predictions of Trump’s downfall.  I think Breathed summarized it well for Wired this summer:

“He is the reverse canary in America’s gilded gold mine: When Donald Trump gets up from the dead and starts singing, you know you’ve reached toxic air,” Breathed said. “He signifies something that I didn’t want to be left out of … we are on the cusp of a sea change, and we’re all gonna be synthesizing and filtering and making it somehow make sense to us.”

People in this country are sick of how politics in this nation are run, and this has worked both for Donald Trump and against Hillary Clinton.  Our country is a democracy, which means popular motivation can produce change.  It happened eight years ago.  It’s happening now.  I’ve been thinking about the unrest among my friends and family today; many people are telling me that they’re seriously considering packing up and leaving the country.   I’ve been thinking about whether or not this is something that I would do myself.  I may even have contributed to last night’s Canadian immigration website collapse (sorry Canada!)

Anyone with familiarity with US history knows that this is a country of giant upheavals.  The Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s.  The recent strides we have made in LGBTQ rights (anyone who thinks this is not an ongoing upheaval should review Vice President-elect Pence’s views on this).  Our current civil structure is founded on revolutionary principles, and designed to respond to changes in the desires of the populace.  Cleverly though, it’s also designed to push back against these same desires.  In our system no one should feel helpless for too long.  If this election has taught us anything, it’s that a large section of our populace has suffered an extended period of feeling helpless and ignored.   Whether these feelings were rooted in fear and hatred, or the simple need for a stable job and a voice in public discourse, they pushed back and achieved what they wanted.   Those of us in the minority are left feeling confused and hurt – like this is not our country any more.  It’s worth reflecting that the supporters who put Trump on the path to the White House have felt the same way for a while now.

It’s also worth reflecting on this: some people are thinking of packing up and leaving.  These are people who most likely have the resources and ability to seriously consider moving to another country.  They also have the resources and ability to push back against the current onslaught of xenophobia and bigotry.   At the very least, in bulk they represent a proportion of votes that will be needed in the next election cycle to turn things around again.  Abandoning the country to the populist right will only ensure that those remaining, those with few resources and support from a system that is set to abandon them, will have less recourse to correct our current trajectory.  Any country that has more immigration out than in is in trouble.  Let’s not make that us.  Let’s stick around for the ride, stand our ground, and push back.  It’s tradition.  And it’s what makes this country…um.  Ahem.  Well, let’s wait and see.