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How I'll Know It's Time To Flee Trump's America

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The Clash asked. Now I am too: Should I stay or should I go?

Celebrity liberals always threaten to head for the exits if a presidential election doesn't go their way. Then they renege.

This year is different: some Americans really are leaving.

An early indicator of Trump-inspired flight came on Election Night, when Canada's immigration website crashed due to visitors from the lower 48. Whether these scaredy-cats are motivated by Trump's come-from-behind victory -- so this is America? -- or by the grim reality of Trump's cabinet picks and executive orders -- so he's keeping his fascist campaign promises? -- this is the first time I've seen people actually up and go in response to an election.

"Trumping out" is far too tiny of a phenomenon to qualify as an official Thing. By mid-December, only 28 Americans had applied for asylum. But my instincts tell me that's about to change. And my instincts are pretty sharp: counting yard signs in my swing state/swing county hometown of Dayton, Ohio gave me an early indication that Trump had a strong chance of winning.

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If you've got some money, college degrees and speak a second language (ahem, French), it's pretty easy to get into Canada, which has served as our go-to exile since the Vietnam draft dodgers. With help from a lawyer, a friend of mine who said he didn't want his children to grow up in a fascist country scored residency documents for himself, his wife and kids in just a few months. Canadian colleges and universities are reporting a surge in U.S. applicants -- many of whom would likely stay up there after graduation.

I think most people who are eyeing the door are like me, in wait-and-see mode.

Let's be clear: this isn't about voting with our feet. If I moved out of the country every time I didn't like the election results, I'd be gone after every single election, and that includes the local ones. I hate both parties; I hate the entire system. This is about self-preservation: what if some Trump nut takes it upon himself to shoot me over a cartoon? It wouldn't be unprecedented.

It's also about practicality. Fleeing Trumpistan would be much easier for me than for most people. I have dual French/EU citizenship through my mom, a status I have maintained in the belief that economies and societies can collapse quickly so it's good to have an exit strategy. My French is passable. Thanks to the Internet, my career is portable. I could draw cartoons and write columns and publish books from anywhere on earth.

I talk almost every day with a colleague, a conservative journalist, about how we will know it's time to leave the United States. Not to express disapproval -- honestly, who would care? -- but to save our skins.

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You know that Martin Niemoller "first they came for the..." quote? Political cartoonists know that here, in the U.S. under Trump in 2017, we could easily be the first. So we're watching closely.

When your government turns psycho, you don't want to wait until it's too late to get out. When you ask Jewish Americans what year their family fled Europe to come to the United States, it's striking how most left before, say, 1936. The Holocaust didn't technically begin until 1941, but earlier departures were easier -- and impossible after World War II began in 1939. On the other hand, moving is expensive. And I'm American. I don't want to leave. I like it here. Why jump the gun?

I've been reading Volker Ullrich's superb biography Hitler: Ascent, 1889-1939. Trumpism isn't Nazism but 20th century fascism provides some useful tips for America's descent into whatever the hell this psychotic real estate honcho has in store for us.

As Ullrich reminds us, the machinery of state repression moved quickly after Hitler's 1933 seizure of power. Censorship, then arrests of left-wing politicians were an early canary in the coalmine. This week we watched Trump's Republicans silence the unfailingly polite Elizabeth Warren on the floor of the U.S. senate. The president himself personally joke-threatened to "destroy" the career of a Texas state senator as a favor to police, because the lawmaker wants to reform civil asset forfeiture (when cops steal your property and never give it back, even when you're found not guilty of a crime).

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Ted Rall, a political cartoonist, is the author of "The Anti-American Manifesto." He was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1963, raised in Kettering, Ohio and graduated from Fairmont West High School in 1981. His first cartoons were published (more...)
 

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16 people are discussing this page, with 33 comments


Greg Pustover

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Your article is ridiculous. Your thinking is paper thin. You have decided to blame Trump for all of America's ills; as though he is accountable for a corrupt, unjust, unfair, dictatorial criminal law system that imparts its damage across a large spectrum of the society all the while ignoring the law and the constitution; or that he is accountable for an overwhelming and unfair IRS system; or that he is accountable for a financially corrupted health care system; or that he is accountable for a legislature that passes laws that support grotesque corporate profits at the direct cost to the working class.

Obama did a great deal to support and advance the level of degradation of these processes. He did little to correct them. Yes Trump is far from being politically correct, but until he imparts 10's of thousands of new regulations that have extreme, mostly negative, impact on Americans lives, the thought of walking solely because of him is ludicrous.

Submitted on Saturday, Feb 11, 2017 at 11:17:01 AM

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Zye Zxe

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Reply to Greg Pustover:   New Content

No ... we blame Mr trump and you.

Submitted on Saturday, Feb 11, 2017 at 12:40:28 PM

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dale ruff

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No one blame's Trump for all of our ills, anymore than those who fled Hiler blamed him for all of Germany's ills. What they saw is that his solutions would only make things much worse.

We have seen enough of Trump, who has threatened to deport 11 million immigrants, beef up the Police State, start a nuclear arms race, and put a travel ban on Muslims. We have heard his Big Lies, learned from the Nazis.


We have seen that he is a sociopath, a pathological liar, and a man of insatiable vindictiveness, blaming all who oppose him as enemies. All negative polls are "fake news." Only those who want fascism are not frightened by both his authoritarian impulses and his utter disregard for the truth.


Those who did not flee the 3d Reich early enough (liberals, socialists, unionists, dissenters, etc) found it was too late once the full load of sh*t hit the fan.


It's time to make plans in case Trump is successful in bringing his strain of fascism into our lives......and it has already begun.


You may think it ridiculous to flee fascism; many of us do not, for we are not willing to wait until it is too late.





Submitted on Saturday, Feb 11, 2017 at 4:02:02 PM

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Kristine Hoggatt

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I agree wth Mr. Rall. We must keep ourselves informed because things could get really ugly, really quickly.

While I agree that Obama did a lot to destroy America - foreign war escalation, drone bomb assassinations, lax environmental regulations, failure to prosecute one banker who caused the global financial meltdown, failure to support the Standing Rock Sioux until it was too late (which allowed Trump to go ahead with DAPL), turning Libya into a failed state, escalating the civil war in Syria, fomenting a coup in Ukraine, supporting a military coup in Honduras, going WAY too easy on Israel's bad behavior (especially when he was totally silent during the Cast Lead military attacks on Palestine), etc., etc. - Trump is as scary, although maybe a bit less so because he is so open about his actions.

But I believe Mr. Rall is basing his article on Trump's cabinet and department choices - loaded with military, right wingers, and neocons. His Secretary of Education doesn't believe in public schools. His Dept of Energy head wanted to shut the department down just a few years ago. His EPA head has sued the EPA and doesn't believe in human-caused climate change. His cabinet and directors of say, EPA, FDA, etc., will not act in the best interests of the American people.

All of this may be moot in light of the nuclear rods melting through the floor of the Fukushima nuclear power plant. It may be curtains for all of us relatively soon:

"The Fuel Rods Melted Through Containment And Nobody Knows Where They Are Now" click here

Submitted on Saturday, Feb 11, 2017 at 4:07:21 PM

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Zye Zxe

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Your first and last clue will be when the posse comitatus act is imposed to stop peaceful protest Mr Trump and republicans in Congress deems to be treasonable and/or subversive. And with the most recent town hall disruptions by citizens demanding their questions be answered by befuddled republican congress-critter who were expecting an obedient and subservient public instead, those measures will be the crossing of the line of no return.

Submitted on Saturday, Feb 11, 2017 at 12:39:14 PM

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Kristine Hoggatt

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I believe Obama did away with posse comitatus in one of the NDAA reauthorization acts he signed. click here

Submitted on Saturday, Feb 11, 2017 at 4:14:03 PM

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Bill Johnson

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Dimocrats wanting to leave America???

Why we will hold the door open for them! And we won't even close it to hit them on the butt on their way out either! Nope, we will continue to hold it open for the steady stream of them leaving!

America will keep improving as each one of them exit too!

Us conservatives will even gladly help them pack too!

The new bumper stickers we need to print up: "Save America! Help a Democrat to pack!"

A funny piece to say the least!

Submitted on Saturday, Feb 11, 2017 at 12:59:29 PM

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Daniel Geery

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You'll need to be sure the bumper stickers are waterproof, so they don't fall off your submarine. My brother lives in Florida too.

Submitted on Saturday, Feb 11, 2017 at 1:45:43 PM

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dale ruff

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You are, judging by your long history of supporting far right positions and racism (your avatar was long the flag of slavery), would have been one of the 38% who voted for the Nazis and supported them when they tried to expel liberals and socialists, finally sending them to the death camp at Dachau.

About 1/3 of modern populations will support fascism and authoritarian rule.

That is not the danger; the danger is when that 1/3 seizes power, having lost elections but using devices to assume power. We are now in that dangerous moment when the fascist 1/3 have the levers of power.


Your calls for firing liberal teachers is straight out of the Nazi playbook of firing liberal teachers in 3d Reich. The denunciation of the press and calling for them to shut up (Bannon) and for jounalists to be fired (Conway) is also out of the Nazi playbook.


"When Adolf Hitler took power in 1933, the Nazis controlled less than three percent of Germany's 4,700 papers......." Within a year or so, there was no independent press, starting with denunciations and ending with taking control.

"The Propaganda Ministry aimed further to control the content of news and editorial pages through directives distributed in daily conferences in Berlin and transmitted via the Party propaganda offices to regional or local papers. Detailed guidelines stated what stories could or could not be reported and how to report the news. Journalists or editors who failed to follow these instructions could be fired or, if believed to be acting with intent to harm Germany, sent to a concentration camp. Rather than suppressing news, the Nazi propaganda apparatus instead sought to tightly control its flow and interpretation and to deny access to alternative sources of news."


Trump in the past has called for executions of whistleblowers like Assange and Snowden. Hate speech is prelude to hate crimes.



Your hate speech and your calls for firing liberal teachers and your delight in fantasies of "Dimocrats" leaving the country all echo the early warnings of fascism in Germany in the 30's.

Submitted on Saturday, Feb 11, 2017 at 4:14:39 PM

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J. Edward Tremlett

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"You are, judging by your long history of supporting far right positions and racism (your avatar was long the flag of slavery)"

His author profile also betrays his warped racial views. "Deo Duce Vincemus" was the motto of the Confederacy.

He thinks he's being cute.

Submitted on Sunday, Feb 12, 2017 at 5:44:14 PM

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Kristine Hoggatt

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Just remember these words (paraphrased), "First they came for the liberals, ..." and don't believe you're safe because you identify as a "conservative."

The oligarchy doesn't need any of us.

Submitted on Saturday, Feb 11, 2017 at 4:17:17 PM

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dale ruff

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Trump is hardly a conservative as he believes in radical disruption, the very thing conservativism abhors and fears He is a radical reactionary, and anyone who gets in his way is the enemy, and as of today, that is the vast majority.

Submitted on Saturday, Feb 11, 2017 at 10:01:03 PM

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john taylor

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Where is the trajectory of improvement? When was "Great" in America? And for whom? The Capitalist shut show will continue til WE ARE DEAD.

Submitted on Saturday, Feb 11, 2017 at 9:10:31 PM

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Daniel Geery

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Don't forget your Hellfire missile helmet. N'est-ce pas?

Submitted on Saturday, Feb 11, 2017 at 1:31:26 PM

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Jorge Scordamaglia

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The truth is, the process of legal and constitutional subversion started in Nov. 1963 when a coup assassinated JFK. From then onward, it has been downhill all the way.
The name of the game was, is and will always be, BIPARTISANSHIP. Meaning full agreement in issues related to system survival and continuance. Trump is only so far threading on existing pathways and opening new ones to insure compliance. The first immediate action needed to stop and/or revert the process is to destroy the real enemy of change and liberation, the Democratic Party.
The GOP and Trump are easy to fight by using brute force in civic resistance and rebellion. Is about time to declare open season on fake so called "Progressives, Liberals and self proclaimed Socialists", because they are the enemy striving to "change", and make a criminal and oppressive system better. That is a sham and will never happen.

Submitted on Saturday, Feb 11, 2017 at 3:36:42 PM

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Kristine Hoggatt

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The key phrase is "system survival" not human survival. The one percent don't need us - or at least not that many of us - to work in their factories, clean their corporate boardrooms, etc.

Agreed on the need to call out the fake liberals & progressives, and phony Socialists. Meryl Ann Butler has a great link to a news clip about starting a new People's Party. click here


I've already donated.

Submitted on Saturday, Feb 11, 2017 at 4:26:52 PM

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dale ruff

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I would suggest that the first need is not to purge the progressive movement (divide and be conquered) but to unite it. Purges and denunciations only serve our enemies. Many have denounced Sanders, Warren, and the 90% of the Progressive Caucus who did not endorse Sanders, leaving us with............a bitter group of purists with zero chance of gaining or sharing power.

Who decides who is fake? Is Bernie fake because he endorsed Clinton? Are the 60 members of the Progressive Caucus fake because they did not endorse Sanders? This kind of blame game leads only to political suicide.


I am not against excluding obviously fake progressives like the DNC from power, but I think that our first task is to find a basis not of division but of unity, forgiving those who are willing to change, inviting in those who share many, but not all, agendas.


United we stand; divided, we wallow in our own purity.

Submitted on Saturday, Feb 11, 2017 at 5:23:23 PM

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John Lawrence Ré

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Good points, except, I would place the symbolic dawn of the rogue US state at the death of FDR, not JFK. The new film script we are writing ("The Elephants"), concerns an assassintaion in Saigon that signaled the 180 degree policy change as the US pulled the rug out from under Ho Chi Minh in 1945 and the US went from planning to partner with the developing world, virtual control over which it inherited at the war's end, to returning it to neocolonial subjugation.

Submitted on Saturday, Feb 11, 2017 at 8:44:54 PM

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Trent Landers

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So I guess your answer is 3-5 yrs. after the subjugation of civil rights and ignoring Constitutional rights of this country, i.e., censoring the press, targeting specific ''Whistleblowers", making non-violent protests illegal, stepping up public surveillance and....hey wait a sec...that is NOW!

Submitted on Saturday, Feb 11, 2017 at 5:12:41 PM

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dale ruff

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You get into Canada, you need either half a million in loose change to have them hold or a needed job skill.

For those without, I recommend a nation without a military and a history of tolerance. Costa Rica is a beautiful country full of warm and friendly people. US citizens who can document an income of $1000 a month can become legal residents, including the right to buy into their excellent healthcare system for about $100 a month You can rent for 300-500 a month for simple accomodations, and fresh, local produce is cheap and abundant.



You can get by with minimal Spanish..and there are lots of expats to help you out


Because the US never conquered Costa Rica, or destroyed it,like its neighbors, there is not that hostility that can be found in other nations. Most Costa Ricans know someone or a relative tht lives in the US.


When asked where I am from (I have just visited twice),I just say California and am regaled with tales of Uncle Marcos who lives in LA, etc.


Given the internet, it is possible to resist US fascism via broadband from afar, while avoiding the toxic fumes it is spreading.


For those on a modest budget, Costa Rica is a wonderful land of pura vida as a refuge, if needed.


If I could get my family to move there, I would do so in a heartbeat. You can spend a seek getting a feel for about $1,000,including flight, modest hotels, meals and rental of a car.

Submitted on Saturday, Feb 11, 2017 at 5:17:00 PM

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John Lawrence Ré

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Dale rent the film, "The Captains of April," to see how young army officers and progressives overcame -- without bloodshed -- the Salazar dictatorship in Portugal in 1974. We can have a Carnation Revolution here as well, but it won't happen if the best and the brightest turn tail and flee.

Submitted on Saturday, Feb 11, 2017 at 8:51:38 PM

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dale ruff

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Thank you John. We know that in 1989, non-violent protests took down 10 totalitarian regimes in Eastern Europe, that People Power took down Marcos, and that non-violent resistance in the US end legal discrimination that even our worst war could not vanquish.

Submitted on Saturday, Feb 11, 2017 at 9:57:48 PM

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gunnar kullenberg

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...weren't you booted from the LA Times...? -- ...and that was under Obama...and you believe the Bush regime's assertions pertaining to the events of September 11, 2001...(...because....Bush-Cheney-Rice-Rumsfeld are such honorable people, right...?)

...fear works both ways -- once the establishment exposes itself nakedly, it's game over for the US...it will take very little at this point...you may believe in "911" but the rest of the world does not...and what makes you think Canada offers protection? -- The jurisdictional realities there are not what they were during the'70s -- now, the US army can go in there and vice versa.

The US today has Zero legitimacy and there is no way legitimacy can be "earned back" in a way that might be acceptable to the criminal elites...

You would have enjoyed much more support if you had stood unconditionally on the side of Truth and Justice...

Submitted on Saturday, Feb 11, 2017 at 9:29:45 PM

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dale ruff

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The 9/11 Commission says report is based on lies told to them and was set upt to fail.

Submitted on Saturday, Feb 11, 2017 at 10:02:53 PM

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Lance Ciepiela

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Your "set up to fail" - for sure. The 911 Commission Report ("A 571 Page Lie") had focused on a "terrorist attack" ("but al-Qaeda operatives could not have obtained the needed access to the buildings to plant the explosives and would not have ensured that the buildings come straight down") and did not address exactly how the three towers came down on 9/11 ("these buildings exploded" - noted Architect Richard Gage).

His "you will find out WHO really knocked down the World Trade Center" - Donald Trump, who surely needs investigating and prosecuting if he really does decide to "turn on the truth" about 9/11 now that he actually became the President and an actual #Eyewitness to 9/11 ("I saw this huge explosion - they had bombs").

Submitted on Sunday, Feb 12, 2017 at 5:06:04 PM

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dale ruff

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Reply to Lance Ciepiela:   New Content

Both Kean and Farmer have disowned the 9/11 Report and written books documenting government lies and CIA stonewalling. The other members have also disowned the series of lies they put together.........they should be on a new independent investigastion since they are the ones who have documented the lies and who told them. They make no claims about what really happened but rather reported on how the government lied and concealed evidence...the starting point for a new investigation under President Sanders or????
I

Submitted on Monday, Feb 13, 2017 at 4:02:50 AM

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Lance Ciepiela

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Reply to gunnar kullenberg:   New Content

Your "pertaining to the events of September 11, 2001" - "it wasn't the Iraqis" - Donald Trump.

#Investigate911 to find out WHO
and bring to justice THOSE responsible.

Submitted on Sunday, Feb 12, 2017 at 3:54:45 AM

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Lance Ciepiela

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Trump has warned that we are not safe because the courts have ruled against his immigrant ban Executive Order - if something bad happens involving an immigrant(s) who would have been banned and deported under his Executive Order he could declare Marshall Law to protect the nation and the American people.

He is an "Imperial President" - he has the Patriot Act and the AUMF, the Declaration of National Emergency and the Military Commissions Act, are all in "full force and effect" for him to act and not ask permission from anyone, and giving him the absolute powers he needs to dictate, not ask, even like Bush on "his say so alone".

Submitted on Saturday, Feb 11, 2017 at 11:01:19 PM

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Carol Jackson

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With Trump I ask myself; what's the worst that can happen. All I can come up with is: Total destruction of more middle east countries and international nuclear destruction. So what's the big deal?

Submitted on Sunday, Feb 12, 2017 at 6:48:51 PM

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J. Edward Tremlett

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Reply to Carol Jackson:   New Content

absolutely! Miles better than Hilary. Clearly.

/sarcasm

Submitted on Sunday, Feb 12, 2017 at 8:09:18 PM

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Kenneth Morris

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Actually, some of us who have threatened to leave in the past are now gone. I'm one of them. I reached my breaking point after my countrymen reelected W in 2004. Initially I applied for residency in Canada, and although I obtained it, while waiting I sojourned in Costa Rica and applied for residency there. In the end I chose to remain in Costa Rica.

During the process I discovered that there's a long tradition of disgruntled Americans emigrating, with Canada especially serving as a safety valve and destination point. This began during the Revolution, when Loyalists flocked to Canada, and has continued sporadically ever since. Similarly, Costa Rica has historically attracted some pacifist emigrants from the US, although the reality is that it attracts all kinds. Of late it has attracted the rightwing Obama-haters. They are not the majority, but the US expat population in Costa Rica includes an angry minority of vocal Trump supporters.

I have also pondered the question of patriotism, and believe that other expats and potential expats should too. The question comes in two forms.

First, what is a person's obligation to their country of citizenship? I don't believe that country of residence is a mere consumer choice, and therefore don't believe that physically leaving absolves a person of their patriotic obligations.

Second, though, what is a person's obligation to their new country? Few expats believe that they have any obligation. They therefore stick together, don't learn Spanish (in Costa Rica), constantly complain about their new country and the people in it, etc.

My advice to anyone contemplating emigrating is therefore (a) to appreciate that they stand in a long tradition of emigrants and aren't really that unique, but (b) to think through their patriotic obligations to both their former and their new countries.

This said, I'm personally glad I left--especially now that the US has a crazy fascist at the helm flanked by rabid rightwingers.

Submitted on Sunday, Feb 12, 2017 at 11:51:06 PM

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Phat Khat

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Reply to Kenneth Morris:   New Content

Maybe the Trump lovers will decide to return to the states. I've heard good stuff about Costa Rica, but I'm terrified of snakes. Ugh.

Submitted on Monday, Feb 13, 2017 at 5:05:39 AM

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J. Edward Tremlett

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Reply to Kenneth Morris:   New Content

"My advice to anyone contemplating emigrating is therefore (a) to appreciate that they stand in a long tradition of emigrants and aren't really that unique, but (b) to think through their patriotic obligations to both their former and their new countries."

Yes. THIS. Jesus, yes.

Submitted on Monday, Feb 13, 2017 at 5:24:11 PM

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