Leaving the U.S. just because of the result of an election is an anti-American move for a citizen, a per se demonstration of poor character, ignorance, and a lack of understanding of history and how the government works. Primarily, it is an insult to everyone in the country, the nation itself, and a rejection of the social compact.
We live in a republic where everyone agrees to participate in the process of government, and that means accepting the benefits, privileges, rights and the responsibilities flowing from that citizenship. Certainly anyone here has a right to try to live where they want to live. However, the nation is no different before an election than immediately after it. If one doesn’t like living in American, I think you’re nuts, and obviously you don’t crave my association very much, but okay, bon voyage! The attitude of the post-election refugees, however, is “Democracy is only a good thing when I get my way.” Nope, that is not the deal.
If you are willing to accept what you think are the benefits of winning, then you are obligated to accept the results if you lose, and keep working to make your nation and society better as you and your like-minded citizens see it. Leaving after the votes are counted flunks the Kantian test: what would happen if everyone acted like that? It would make democracies unworkable, and ultimately extinct.
The ethical time to leave is before the election. Stupid, but ethical.
Speaking of stupidity, the current freakouts by people—including some of my close friends and relatives—demonstrate the ravages of civic ignorance. They are embarrassing. No, the election doesn’t mean “the end of legal abortions.” No, it doesn’t mean “the suspension of civil rights.” No it doesn’t mean that “Muslims will be put in camps,” or that there will be “mass deportations.” These kinds of wild apocalyptic claims are irresponsible, but mostly show a lack of comprehension of the law, the Presidency, the legislative process and the courts. Now, Donald Trump, who is similarly ignorant of our government and our legal system, may want to do some of these things, just as he may want to make the national language Swedish. But he can’t. If you think he can, your focus should be on improving the educational system, because it failed you mightily. As Barack Obama discovered to his chagrin, legislation is hard, takes skill and perseverance, and requires process, moderation, compromise and broad consensus.
So the citizens who actually leave aren’t committed to democracy, have little pride in the culture and history of the United States, and when they don’t get what they want, they pick up their marbles and quit. Good riddance. The nation is stronger and healthier without them. As for their less wealthy but more stout-hearted soulmates, those currently engaged in protesting the results of the election, the equivalent of a public hissy fit, they may have some societal value, eventually.
Maybe they’ll grow up.
And maybe not. “Not our President”— “Not our President”??? You see, children, that’s the bargain. He is your President, because that’s the deal you make with a democracy: you agree to accept the results of the election, whether you voted for the winner or not. Wait, wait, I’m so confused! Wasn’t one of the reasons you and your Party and your candidate’s media mouthpeices were saying that Trump was a Nazi was that he suggested that he might not “accept the results of the election”? Bill Maher, Professional Asshole, apologized to Bush, McCain and Romney last week for calling them fascists, because it was unfair—rump, he said, Trump is the real fascist!
I think I recognize who are acting like fascists, and the behavior fits the tactics of the party and the candidate they supported.
Yet I digress. For this post is not about those wan and selfish souls who do export themselves, but the rich and famous who threaten—promise, actually— to leave if their candidate doesn’t win. What’s going on with them?
Here are 20 celebrities who announced that they would leave the country if Donald Trump won, and, where appropriate, their claimed destination. The list doesn’t include people like Cher, Justice Ginsberg and Jon Stewart, who were obviously joking to make a point. It does include a couple of comics whose declarations had no humorous content and sounded serious. (#15 was a close call, since The View co-host actually said that she would leave if any Republican was nominated. Yes, she is an idiot.)
1. Amy Shumer
2. Chelsea Handler (Spain)
3. Neve Campbell (Canada)
4. Barry Diller
5. Lena Dunham (Canada)
6. Keegan-Michael Key (Canada)
7. Chloë Sevigny ( Nova Scotia)
8. Al Sharpton
10. Eddie Griffin (Africa)
11. Amber Rose
12. Samuel L. Jackson (South Africa)
13. George Lopez (Mexico)
14. Barbra Streisand (Australia or Canada)
15. Raven-Symoné (Canada)
16. Whoopi Goldberg
17. Omari Hardwick (Italy)
18. Miley Cyrus
19. George Stephanopoulos and wife Ali Wentworth (Australia)
20. Brian Cranston
Several ethics observations are germane:
…Were their promises to leave threats? In many cases it sounded like that’s what they intended. A threat? How astoundingly deluded, to think their presence is so vital to the nation that anyone would change a vote for President to ensure that it has the blessings of their availability. These people, all of them, are delusional, and of course as narcissistic as Trump. The intellectual and cultural life of the USA would be diminished not one iota if every one of these individuals moved to Togo, never mind Canada. What a warped sense of proportion and a deficit of humility they labor under!
….If it was meant as a threat, do they believe coercion and intimidation are fair and justifiable tactics in a democracy? Oh, sure they do: they are 21st Century Democrats and progressives, and the ends justify the means. You know, of the party whose chairman said she didn’t regret cheating. Whose former Senate majority leader said he was proud of a Big Lie because it worked. The ideology that fires professors and disciplines students for daring to “offend” with non-conforming speech and Halloween costumes.
…If not a threat, was it a bluff, a lie? Did they really ever intend to leave, or were they just posturing, grandstanding and using dishonesty to pretend to be more passionate, committed—and anti-American, which is often a virtue in their celebrity crowd—than they are?
…We shall see, won’t we? If they don’t leave, the rebuttable presumption is that they were lying to us in the first place, as I suspect every one of them were. This will show that they have the integrity of Hillary Clinton, that wonderful, virtuous candidate who was the most qualified for President in history—which is to say, very little.
Meanwhile, I am trying to find an instance of a prominent conservative or Republican who threatened to leave the country if a Democrat was elected President—Carter, Clinton, Gore, Kerry, Obama, or the corrupt and mendacious Mrs. Clinton. So far, I’ve failed. Why is that?
Why is it that they can accept the democratic decisions of their fellow citizens, and so many on the other side of the partisan divide cannot?