From the moment it became clear that Donald Trump’s run for presidency was no longer a joke, statements about fleeing the country if he won started popping up all around us. From celebrities to friends in our newsfeeds, many were letting it be known that the idea of a Trump presidency was so unacceptable to them that they would abandon ship.
This is not new. Every election cycle people break out the ultimatums and Canada is always the obvious choice for liberals. But let’s face it — 99% of you are not going to Canada.
I say this as someone who was born and raised in America but whose family on both sides is only one generation removed from Canadian immigrants to the United States. Every summer vacation I ever went on as a kid was to Canada. I know all the words to O Canada and I can name all the provinces and territories and their capitals. My mother proudly holds dual citizenship and God willing, so will I – but don’t think that desire is an election-based whim – it’s been a lifelong plan.
And that’s where my exasperation at those who declare “I’m moving to Canada” originates. Moving to Canada is not like moving across state lines. They have immigration laws, and obtaining a visa and later, citizenship, is a process that costs both years of your life and hundreds to thousands of dollars. It is not something that can or should be done on a whim.
Yet, I do understand the impulse. We are faced with a frightening consequence of our election — a president who has inspired the ugliest underbelly of our country to step into the light and make their hateful statements heard. For anyone who is not a straight, white, cisgendered, Christian male, it’s a scary time. And for anyone with a conscience, it’s just downright embarrassing to be associated with our new orange overlord.
The thing is, you can escape a Trump presidency without abandoning your country. Living and working abroad does not require you to relinquish US citizenship and you can still vote absentee (and you should because in 2018 all 435 seats in the House of Representatives and 33/100 seats in the Senate will be contested).