Why I’m not moving to Canada

Apparently, enough Americans were traumatized by the election returns on Super Tuesday that they all started googling “how do I move to Canada?” and may have caused the Canadian Immigration website to crash.

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image from NY Times

I always found it entertaining when people like Rush Limbaugh would threaten to move out of the US if the Affordable Care Act was signed into law. He complained about “socialism” and “universal health care” as threats to the US, apparently with no awareness that the country he threatened to move to had universal health coverage. (He didn’t leave the country, yet, by the way.)

And to be clear, the prospect of any of the current Republican candidates terrifies me. They have all promised to de-fund women’s access to health care. I worry for the safety of my friends who are the targets of the inflammatory rhetoric from candidates and in turn the actions of those candidates’ supporters. (See a video here of a young black woman being shoved and harassed by Trump supporters at a rally). I worry about the hungry people in our nation who will have less access to food support if one of them is elected. I worry about the health of people who will lose access to health care should the Affordable Care Act be repealed as threatened (promised?).

No matter who is elected in November, I’m staying put. (Although Canada is a perfectly delightful place, from whence some of my ancestors hail).

Here are a few reasons while I’ll still be here, come November.

My faith is in Jesus Christ, not in the person who sits in the Oval Office. I believe the candidate of my dreams is not my Savior and the candidate of my nightmares is not the Devil. They are men and women who are seeking power. I trust that at least some of their motives are also well intentioned.

The person in the White House is also just one piece of our political puzzle. An important piece, for sure. But 34 Senate seats and 435 House seats are also up for election in November.

Which brings up another issue. VOTE people. For goodness sake, vote. You don’t have to vote for the candidates I like. But our system is stronger when the people who are elected are chosen by a wider slice of the electoral pie. Voter turnout in the US is ‘pure applesauce’ (Thanks, Justice Scalia!), with just a small percentage of the population bothering to participate. Decisions are made by the people who show up. VOTE.

Additionally, joking about moving to Canada is something that most people do from a place of privilege, with the privilege of mobility, financial resources, and job flexibility. And there are people all around the world who are dying, literally, for a chance to emigrate to a safer country. And for people with resources to keep fighting to make this a safer nation for all people to leave for Canada would abandon people who need a stronger and more just voice in our country.

I may still dream of a politician like Justin Trudeau to rise like some proverbial lady of the lake and lead us into a future with a stronger economy, better job growth, less interference in women’s health, and more inclusion for all kinds of people. But I don’t need to go to Canada to work for a better nation here. I won’t even joke about it.

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