I keep hearing in the news that people are planning on moving to Canada because Bush won the election. If you think about it for more than the split-second you see it in your newsreader or on the evening news, it doesn’t make much sense.
I lived in Canada since the last election up until January of this year. Let me tell you that being an American in Canadaisn’t an easy way out of Bush country. Don’t get me wrong. I love Canada. One day I hope to move back. But right now, my country needs me – a failry liberal Democrat.
One thing that people don’t seem to consider is that you cannot effect change in the US if you’re living in Canada or any other country. You see, while living abroad you basically have no say in your home country’s goverment AND you have no say in the what your resident country’s government. So basically you’re choosing a life where both the US and Canadian governments (if living in Canada) can make laws that affect your everyday life without there being anyway for you to get your voice heard. Yes, US laws affected my life in BC. For example:
- Softwood lumber tariffs
- Patriot Act
- Tax laws – you still have to file a US tax return
- Iraq war – from gas prices to everyday comments asking you, the closest representative of the States, why you invaded Iraq. Saying sorry you didn’t vote for the guy can get very tiring.
Those are just a few off the top of my head. Of course some will say that as it stands now a Democrat has no say in the Bush government. That’s not true. If you live in the US, your state has at least 1 Representative and 2 Senators. So, if you feel strongly about a subject you can get out the ol’ pen and paper to write them about the issue that is concerning you. You’re more likely to get your letters read if delivered by snail mail. Plus there’s always the phone. And you can vote them out every two years.
Now let me ask you, who do you write to when you live outside the country? Americans Abroad do not have representation in the US government. Although Democrats Abroad at least have a lobby and vote in the convention. Do you write to your old state’s congressmen? Well, depending on the state you lived in, you may no longer have a right to vote for the person to fill that office and they don’t have to listen to what you say. And I believe that it’s illegal to pretend that you are a resident of a state.
So what do you do? Vote only in the Presidential elections, and you just sit up there in Canada hoping for the best. And we all know how well that goes.
Also I have to question people who instead of getting involved in trying to fix what they see as wrong, they just up and run. They’re not in danger of getting killed, tortured or jailed for their beliefs (at this point), but they’re not going to stay and try to reinstate the United States as the country everyone looks to as the premier example of democracy. instead, the Bush-dodgers are going to flee the country for another country that has a different set of issues/problems, some similar, where they won’t be able to vote and will be seen as an Outlander. If there are enough Bush-dodgers, they’ll leave this country in the hands of the Republicans and the neo-conservatives who have hijacked that gallant ol’ party.
I ask all those Bush-dodgers to stay and get involved. And why not engage Republicans that voted for Bush in conversations where you’re actually listening to why they voted for him. You might find that you have more in common than you think.