Thursday, February 25, 2016

Lucky Americans: We'll Always Have Paris...and Canada

As the unthinkable becomes increasingly thinkable--the actual possibility of a Donald Trump or Ted Cruz presidency--I am taking stock, while nonetheless attempting to avoid panic. After all, if recent history is any indication, America's basically dysfunctional system of checks, balances and redundancy would probably prevent either of them from implementing the maddest and most inhumane of their vile schemes, in which case I might be able to just slog along, pissing and moaning, without feeling an absolute moral imperative to renounce--and leave--the US itself. 

But if a worst-case scenario were to develop, if either of these despicable creatures managed to enact the malignant (and yes, un-American) fundamentals of his platform, I suppose I would have to take steps--try to sell my house, cash in the remainder of my IRA, and attempt to live out my remaining years in Canada or France. The bell will eventually toll, of course--for me as for all--and I am already an old man. Yet, this certainty of death only heightens the irony of my grief--as I reflect that now, at the end of my life, the only place where I might be able to die with a measure of self-respect (faithful to what I have always considered decent American values) is on the soil of a foreign land.

Well, I must lift up my heart anyway, I suppose. After all, this peculiar reverse "home-sickness" is not a new phenomenon, nor is my experience unique. From the Revolutionary War loyalists to the Underground Railroad runaways to the Jazz Age expatriates, dissenting and disheartened Americans have always looked North and Abroad for refuge, perhaps, renewal.

Lucky Americans: we'll always have Paris...and Canada.

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