Hundreds upon hundreds have responded by email and requested my free monthly newsletter, and the stories that many of them shared with me about their situations have left me wondering in the middle of the night what will happen to these people. Some are so wrapped up in the patterns of their daily lives that they are constantly trying to convince themselves that it's safe to stay. Others are so afraid that they cannot imagine that any place is safe. The ones who worry me most are those who badly want to leave but are hindered either by a lack of resources or a criminal record that makes gaining admittance into another country much harder.
Who will be left behind if full-blown fascism arrives in America on the heals of another terrorist attack (real or sham) or financial collapse or martial law imposed to wipe out opposition to another hopeless war? There will be those who blinded themselves to the signs and went on their not-so-merry way eating and drinking and marrying until a tyranny more intense than they could have imagined has robbed them of their property and freedom of movement. As frightening as it is to realize that your government has the power to freeze your assets or prevent you from traveling, it will be far more terrifying to experience their use of that power as they turn their citizens into little better than slaves. Will it have been worth it to avoid the penalties for withdrawing a 401(k) prematurely? Will the 3,500 square foot house be a consolation once it's been sold at foreclosure after economic collapse?
I know from personal experience that it's hard to give up the "American Dream." We have been sold a myth since birth that the United States will always be the world's wealthiest and freest nation. Many of us consider central air conditioning and two cars to be our birthright, but the myth and reality pull farther apart every day. Those who cling to the "dream" for too long will be crushed by what is coming.
Several who have corresponded are worried that "One World Government" has progressed so far that no place is any better than the U. S. There I must disagree. Do the rich and powerful around the world have certain common interests that often lead them to cooperate on an ad hoc basis to oppress working people and dissenters? Of course, and when some of them meet in secret at gatherings like the Bilderberg Group, it increases the suspicion that there's a great, all encompassing international conspiracy.
But there are many times when these powerful elites compete with one another, even outright clash. The Chinese are driving American neocons crazy at this moment as they finance the new leftist regimes in South American that are thumbing their nose at the American government. The Russians are battling the Americans for influence over eastern Europe and the oil-rich "stan" republics that used to be part of the Soviet Union. The Europeans are scrambling to prevent the Americans from going to war against Iran hoping they can stall until the Bush administration is out of power. All that competition and disagreement leaves some cracks where those of us can hide who want to be neither queen bees nor drones.
Why is the United States worse than other place? Two things: war and economic decline. Being at war always makes a nation more repressive. It's been true throughout the history of the United States and every other country. And the people in charge in the U. S. right now intend to be at war in perpetuity.
Why would anyone ever want to be at war permanently? The American neocons like war so much because it will serve as a way to stamp out dissent as more and more Americans realize just how drastically the economic landscape is going to change. As Intel founder Andy Grove put it, America is going "down the tubes" and everyone is in denial. By that, he doesn't mean the huge international corporations who can move their capital and their jobs from one continent to the next in a matter of days. He means the middle and working classes in America. The days when the average American thought himself lucky not to be born in India or China are coming to an end. There won't be that much of a difference.
Other nations never had such expectations. They drive little cars. They don't have huge hot water heaters. They use public transportation. They kept their small farmers in business even if it meant paying a little more for food so that their vegetables, fruit and meat would still be raised locally. When the energy crunch comes, it won't be easy in Europe or Japan, but it won't be a national crisis like in the U. S.
So America's current leadership plans to adapt to these cataclysmic changes by replacing the American Dream with a nightmare filled with foreign bogeymen to hate and huge prisons to house those who cause trouble. I'm willing to try somewhere else where the coping mechanisms aren't so terrible.
Who will be left behind? When I began researching emigration in 2005, one thing became quickly apparent. No nation really wants anyone's tired, poor, huddled masses. Immigration officials in every country want to screen out those who might be a burden on the government or charity because they don't have the means to support themselves. Most countries don't have enough jobs so they only want workers who have skills that are in short supply in their countries. No country wants troublemakers so they screen out people with criminal records. No one wants to take people who would be a burden on the health care system so they don't take people who are sick.
But many of the people who have the most to fear from a fascist America aren't licensed brain surgeons, don't have much money, have a blemish on their criminal record or suffer from ill health. What is to become of them?
Will the YOYO philosophy--you're on your own--prevail? Will it be like New Orleans when Katrina hit and no effort was made to provide for those who didn't have means to escape on their own?
Surely enough of the American spirit is left to prevent that from happening. When the Nazis took over Germany, most of the Jews in Germany were in a state of shock or denial for the first couple of years. Only in 1935 did they form organizations for the purpose of assisting people trying to leave the country. By then, the Nazis had enacted laws that confiscated all the property of emigrants and other nations had restricted their immigration to prevent the arrival of "too many" Jews. The delay in organizing an emigration effort may have costs hundreds of thousands of lives.
Political organizations, churches, civil rights groups, mosques and other agencies should be making plans and raising money to assist people trying to leave the U. S. in the event that the tipping point into fascism is reached. We should be lobbying foreign governments to relax immigration standards for American political refugees. We should be buying land and creating companies abroad so that U S. emigrants will have places to live and work.
Who will be left behind? Millions were left behind when the Nazis took over Europe because people waited too long. By facing reality and taking action now, we may be able to save millions if America is engulfed in a nightmare.