It is easy to say “I will move to Canada.” I read that the Canadian immigration site crashed on election night. As an expat in France, l can tell that it’s not easy moving abroad, even for an educated person like myself and with the help of my French husband.
The language is a barrier (although that wouldn’t necessary be so for most Americans in Canada). But as a practical matter, to get an apartment we had to show that our rent was no more than one-third our monthly income. And since my husband was the only person with a job and we wanted to live in Paris, we had to deposit one-year’s worth of rent in an escrow account to sit there until I found a job. Even then, I had to wait until after my four-month mandatory probation and show documentation from my employer. And we had to wait three months for the landlord to return my 20K euros.
The reason I tell this story is that the people who Donald Trump will hurt the most, middle and lower income families, by blocking the minimum wage increase, trying to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, reducing taxes on the rich and funding to government agencies, can’t afford to relocate to Canada.
It’s those that live in the bubble of wealth and privilege, who can escape the wrath of Trump. My brother said on November 9th, “I guess I really live in a bubble.” and he lives in Houston, Texas surrounded by life-long Republicans. Yet when I was in Houston in September, I did not see one Trump sign. As a matter of fact, I only saw two Clinton signs and one was on my brother’s lawn. Granted Houston is a more progressive city than most of Texas, but still, there was not one Trump flag waving as far as my eye could see. What we were all blind to was the silent support for this wretched man.
A few last words for the well-off who are considering leaving the United States: Don’t. Do what my brother and his progressive friends in Texas are doing. They are recommitting themselves to progressive causes (like the Southern Poverty Law Center, stuffing envelopes at Planned Parenthood or registering voters) with time and money. They are subscribing to real newspapers that do real, fact-based reporting (like NPR and the New York Times). They are calling their members of Congress (not tweeting or posting on Facebook) to let the Republican representatives of Texas that there are voters there who are not OK with hiring racists for the Trump Administration. Read conservative news to educate yourself on the other side. I’m starting with writer David French, staff writer of National Review, who himself experience harassment from the Alt Right, which I will now officially call White Nationalists/Nazi (interview here).
When I’ve been crushed by disappointment, I mourn, I replay, I question. But as soon as I get up to make a to-do list, or go look for this or that thing, the change of environment and focus immediately helps to make the next few hours a bit more tolerable than the last. And so…the healing has begun. Now, a few weeks later, as I emerge from the fog of disappointment, I can start healing by doing. I hope that each person’s actions will build upon one another. We have to be dedicated and vigilant in holding Trump and his administration responsible for their words and actions.
In sum, stay and fight for your country.