There’s a lot of talk about leaving the country if a chosen
presidential candidate doesn’t win.
It’s frustrating when you believe in a cause or a political
party or a candidate and other people don’t share your passion - or even
understand your point of view.
And it’s disconcerting and disappointing when a cause, or
political party, or candidate in opposition of your choice is popular enough to
threaten your choice.
You look at the people supporting the opposition and you
think, “I’m not like them. They’re not like me. If they support ___________ we
can’t possibly have anything in common, and I don’t want to know them.”
And maybe you think, “The people who support ____________
are stupid/backwater hicks/uppity city folk/brainwashed/lemmings/etc. etc.”
And then you might become so frustrating that you think, “If
those stupid/backwater hicks/uppity city folk/brainwashed/lemmings/etc. etc.
manage to gain control of __________, that’s it, I’m leaving America because I
cannot possibly live in a country full of stupid/backwater hicks/uppity city
I’m hearing and seeing a lot of this – from both sides (and
the middle) of the political spectrum.
And it makes me sad. And frustrated.
What I hear is, “If you don’t agree with me, if my ‘team’
doesn’t win, I’m not willing to work for compromise and change. I’m too
narrow-minded to consider another point of view, too lacking in creativity to
find a creative solution that solves problems beyond party affiliation, I’m too
angry to take a deep breath and think about a bigger picture. I’d rather mock,
rant, taunt and ridicule than listen, think, evaluate and solve. If everyone
doesn’t agree with me, I’m taking my citizenship elsewhere.”
I quietly take all this in, listen to the angry (rage-filled,
actually), frustrated, stubborn, narrow-minded, uncreative, threats from both
sides (and the middle, and the outside). And I wonder, “Am I the only one who
sees how similar they are?” On a Meyers-Briggs assessment they’d share traits:
Anger (to the point of rage), frustrated, obstinate, stubborn, narrow-minded,
opinionated, uncreative, passionate, selfish, steadfast, loyal, task-oriented,
lacking big-picture thinking, unoriginal, unwilling to compromise. The only
difference is their party affiliation.
I understand passion. I love and respect animals and nature,
passionately. It’s difficult for me to understand hunters and companies who
pollute the environment. Really difficult. I struggle with it.
But I'm working on acceptance.
There’s a family in my hometown who have gone above and
beyond to help my mother. They’ve taken time off work to help her to doctor
appointments. They drop meals off to her. They salted and dugout her driveway after
a bad ice storm. They’ve done airport pick-ups and drop-offs for me. They are
humble, giving people. They always tell me how much they like my parents, and
how helpful my parents were to them when they first moved to our small town. Every
time I thank them they say, “Oh my heavens, it’s the least we can do, after all
your parents did for us when we moved here. Don’t give it another thought.”
people, right? Yes.
Here’s another thing about them: They hunt. The whole
family. Obviously I would prefer that they not kill animals for sport. I have to
separate my feelings about hunting from who these people are: kind, sincere, generous
people. It’s not always the easiest reconciliation. But it’s the mature,
big-picture thing to do. See the good, applaud it. Look past the differences. They
know I’m vegetarian, I’m sure they think I’m weird because of that. But they, too,
look past our differences and focus on the good.
When my mother had a major health crisis while on vacation
with my dad, they had to rely on healthcare 1,000 miles from home. She was
airlifted to a hospital by a medicopter service funded by Catholic charities. A
Muslim neurologist saved her life. A team of physical and occupational therapists
comprised of Baptist, Hindu, and Jewish therapists helped her walk, talk, eat
and write again. The townsfolk in the small town heard about the out-of-town
couple in the hospital and brought food, toiletries, a hand crocheted blanket,
books, a steady stream of therapy dogs, and representatives from every
faith/practice imaginable stopped in to wish my mother and the family well.
They prayed, meditated, raised hands, laid hands, wrapped hands, counted
Rosaries, chanted mantras and in one particularly big leap of interfaith, performed a Shinto
ritual carried out by 97-year-old local Shinto leader whose granddaughter was a
nurse at the hospital. All these people, strangers, didn’t care about my
parents’ religious or political beliefs. They only cared that a vacationing
woman had a life threatening health crisis and they did what they could to
One of the therapy dogs was handled by a retired guy. He and
my dad bonded over sports and “man” talk, which was more helpful therapy than
his dog. The guy stopped by the hospital for an hour or so in the afternoons and had coffee with my dad, gave my dad a much needed break while my mother was in various therapies. My dad went into town for lunch one day and saw the guy getting into
his car. The car was adorned with several bumper stickers of a specific political
party, a political party that my moderate father was frustrated with at the
time. But he was already friends with this guy, and grateful for this stranger who took time to just talk sports and tools and cars. He did not think, “I
can’t be friends with him because of his political party affiliation.” He
simply did not bring up politics when he saw him again.
I know these are extreme and “well, in that situation, of
When I see/hear someone say, “If you are a ______________ I
don’t want to know you,” I think of that retiree and his therapy dog and the
afternoons he spent keeping my dad company, which kept my dad comforted and sane
during a very difficult time. There are people making blanket statements saying
they don’t want to know that guy and others like him because of his political choices. Or that they
will leave the country because of people “like him.”
So I feel compelled to speak out about this.
I’m getting older, I’ve lived through a lot of elections, I’ve
seen a lot of candidates come and go. Some good, some bad, most of them
mediocre. The good ones inspire us, the bad ones give us something to complain
Life goes on.
We still have to go to work (or find a job), we still have
to eat healthy, get some exercise, and find time for family. Find time for
whatever spiritual devotion fuels and inspires us. Work on hobbies, read a book
or two, maybe take in a ball game or movie now and then. Throw in helping a
neighbor or stranger, and keeping your community clean and safe and there’s not
a lot of time left for anger and selfishness.
But if you do all that and still feel anger welling, and a deep level of
frustration that makes you want to renounce your citizenship, I suggest making
time to volunteer time (not money) to a charity that serves the: elderly, disabled, abused,
or children. Giving yourself and time (not a check) to people who need help with basic life needs will
broaden your perspective. You’ll meet some of the people you want to leave
behind, people you didn’t know needed you.
Closing yourself off to people who don't think like you is comfortable because you're always surrounded by like-minded people. Everyone agrees with you. You're in a cozy blanket of conformity. It's the easy choice. No conflicts, no compromise, no challenges that lead to introspection and broadening of the mind.
Isn't one of the goals of life, a goal we all share, to expand horizons and perspectives?
I'm not sure where the people who are threatening to leave America are going to live. Are there islands for Democrat expats only or Republican expats only? Let's presume money is not an object. You have a steady stream of bazillions of dollars. And you are so angry at the opposing candidate that you vow to leave America if they win, move somewhere where everyone shares your exact political beliefs. Where is that? Where is that place?
Anger, blind-hatred (any hatred), stubbornness, narrow-mindedness,
unwillingness to compromise, unwillingness to look at an issue from a different
perspective, lack of creative thought, and most of all, running from a
situation that’s not in-line with your personal outlook, is not going to lead
to a better life, a happier life, or even a decent night of sleep.