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Saturday, December 21, 2019

So, you want to be an emigrant.

When American politics get vicious and demented, people start talking about moving to Canada.  A few do.  During the Viet Nam War, there was a significant emigration to Canada spurred by opponents of the war who moved there to avoid the draft.  The anti-war protesters had a huge impact on American politics.  They were the reason that Lyndon Johnson decided not to run for a second term as president.  Their opposition to the war eventually prevailed as national policy.

Donald Trump has also inspired massive protests, but there is a more profound element at work in the country.  Many people think that the election of Trump signals an end of the American republic.  Their reasoning is that even if and when he is eliminated from the presidency, those people who defended his degenerate and perfidious behavior will still be there to elect another of their kind.  Under Trump, the GOP has revealed that it endorses and promotes nefarious predation as a benefit of holding power.  Their rejection of honesty and decency as American standards of governance is a strong indication that there is no longer a shared, fundamental moral premise for the country to return to.  The election of Trump is evidence that America has changed.  It is no longer the beacon of good will; it is transforming into a dark ray of malice.  Trump's petty and malevolent tweets give voice to the mindset in possession of America.  He and his followers have put an indelible stain on the nation.  They will not change because they believe that their exercise of ill will is their freedom.  And the stain will be part of what America is, what will be part of its identity.

When our ancestors were confronted with a culture of ill will and inequality in the Old World, they understood the futility of trying to change  that culture.  They chose the option to emigrate.  They had a place to emigrate to, America.  Even though that emigration was a genocidal disaster for the indigenous Americans, it led to the formation of a country built expressly to avoid the oppressions of the Old World.  The example set by America changed the Old World.  After World War II, many countries reformed to adopt the ideals of America.  The nation had become the City on a Hill, the beacon of hope for the rest of the world.  It slowly progressed to fulfill that role in history.  The progress was largely liberal momentum.  It was not the work of the extreme left-wing, but was the liberal quest for freedom, equality, and justice.

Then came Trump.  The momentum was brought to a halt.  America came to the realization that half of the electorate does not care about freedom, equality, and justice as a condition for all humankind.  They only want certain aspects of those qualities for themselves.  In their votes for and support of Trump, they declared themselves enemies of true democracy.   They whine about being regarded as an enemy, but their rejection of decency and their embrace of Trump's malice is a revelation of their hostile attitude and intentions. 

America devolved.  It sunk so low that it chose the king of scurrility as its leader.   Voting him out of office doesn't offer a solution to the dissolution of America. His sycophants will still be around to spread the malignancy.  Some of them say they wish he wouldn't tweet.  But those tweets are the scripture that expresses what they believe in.  The true democrat is given the choice of either fighting back or leaving.  And most true democrats understand that engaging Trump believers in reasonable discourse is no different than trying to reason with jihadists.  When those whose main aspiration is to oppress those who do not conform to their bigoted visions, politics is not a reasonable pathway to finding common ground.

Hitler had his Hermann Goering  {"God gave the savior to the German people. We have faith, deep and unshakeable faith, that he [Hitler] was sent to us by God to save Germany."}, Josef Goebbels, and Heinrich Himmler to carry out his malevolent plans.  Trump has his Bill Barr, Mitch McConnell, and Lindsay Graham.  And the 63 million voters who endorsed him.

People who believe in the America as the benevolent democracy that we were trying to become have been betrayed by their country.  They do not want to be part of a nation run by a juvenile malevolent in which 15,000 lies and a constant stream of defamatory tweets uttered from the Oval Office are regarded as scripture by those who put him in office.   For true democrats, it is time to move on.  That raises the question of where to go and how to get there.  How does one emigrate?

One begins by facing a fact.  America is politically divided to an extent not experienced, perhaps, since the division between slave-holders and abolitionists.  But this time, there is no fundamental premise, such as freedom and equality, at issue.  Abolition was obvious to pursue because it was the natural premise stated in our founding documents.  The idea of freedom and equality for slaves was denied as part of the American ideals, but could not be denied as inherent in the language of our founding: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights..."  Over time, those words prevailed through the abolition of slavery, the enforcement of civil rights, the push toward gender equality, and confronting inequality in others areas of life.  But then came Trump, and those who support inequality, malice, and dishonesty as preferred ways of life.

For true believers in democracy and the benign values on which it is based, it is time to shake the dust of what America has become off their feet and move on.  A few people are in situations in which they can relocate.  But for most, physically emigrating is beyond their resources to do so.  They can begin by recognizing that they outnumber the members of the Trump Reich, as shown by the 2016 vote tally:

During a time it was my job to maintain a list of active Democratic Party donors, I came across some who had given up on the politics of South Dakota.  They had, in effect, emigrated in place.  They continued to live and work in South Dakota, but focused the aspirational parts of their lives on other places and other possibilities.  When approached about donations, they politely but firmly declined, stating that their donations would go to places where their expectations were most likely to be met.  We had cases of former donors contributing money to Minnesota political campaigns because the donors planned to live in the state eventually.  One former donor said he had often been told that if he didn't like South Dakota, he should leave.  "I am happy to say that I am able to accept the invitation," he said.  This is the same process that the majority can use can use on the national level.  They don't have to feel intimidated.
Colin Kaepernick kneels to honor those wronged in the name of the USA.
When the nation no longer meets the moral and intellectual requisites that are the basis for the United States, people can become political expatriates.  While they may not be able to physically move away, as did many people from Germany did as their country was overtaken by the Nazis, they can mentally refuse to participate and support a country that has betrayed its democratic principles.  They can recognize that they do not salute the same flag as Trump and his coterie.  When our national  documents, holidays, and symbols have been subverted into instruments of malice and oppression, people can refuse to honor them out of the knowledge that honoring them will be acts of dishonor.  When Colin Kaepernick kneels rather than salutes the flag, he is calling attention to the unarmed African Americans gunned down in the streets by the police in the name of patriotic governance.  Those people were gunned down in the same spirit that Jews and others were put into the Nazi gas ovens.  Many condemn him for what they think is an unpatriotic act, but he is declaring himself an expatriate from a perverted, lethal racism that is applied in the name of American patriotism.  

74,074,037 American voters did not vote for Trump.  Most of them voted for another candidate because they know Trump is possessed of a malevolent character and a grossly deficient intellect that makes him unfit to serve any kind of leadership in American life.  It is not enough to vote against him.  He needs to be excluded from exercising malevolent power, but that does not address his enablers and endorsers.  America can no longer claim to be a force for democracy.  63 million voters decided that it is not.  That is where the country divides itself, and talk about bringing the country together is absurd.  There is no way that dedicated democrats are going to reconcile with the fascists, racists, and mafia family wannabes .  

Emigration is a solution.  And it is possible to emigrate in place, to expatriate without changing one's geographical location.  One simply refuses to participate and support in any way acts of cultural perversion.  When one joins Trump and his followers in a pledge of allegiance, that is not an act of patriotism which honors the flag and the country it represents.  It is, rather, an act which legitimizes Trump and his fascist agenda and gives it a patriotic cover.  As stated above, the true believers in American democracy and the members of the Trump Reich do not salute the same flag.  The Trump Reich stars and stripes is merely a blanket that covers seething corruption and malice.  So, saluting the flag when Trump does is to join him in a ritual of ignominy, which honors dishonesty and malice.  To preserve the democratic ideals, it is necessary to expatriate, to reject his subversion of  the country.  Rather than join him in a salute, the true believer in American democracy will bow his head or kneel in sorrow.  Acts of rejecting what Trump has made of  the United States denote a refusal to submit to the degradation of Donald Trump.  It transports one to a different country from the one  chosen by the 63 million who chose to live in malice and perfidy.  To deny Trump is an act of moral emigration, of moving to a better country.  Perhaps America can be rediscovered.


Porter Lansing said...

Trump is thriving by his creation of a false victim mentality among those who've made bad choices most of their lives, yet will not own their mistakes. They blame whatever inequity they have on minorities and Democrats. Trump placates their inner deception and they eat it up like whipped cream on pecan pie.

larry kurtz said...
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Aberdeen, South Dakota, United States