Monday, February 29, 2016

Stop Saying You'll Move If Trump Wins

It's time to stop saying that you'll leave the country if Donald Trump wins. I know why you say it. You say it because the idea of having him as president seems utterly repugnant, so much so that your gut tells you to run far, far away. But this sentiment is both ridiculous and dangerous.

First, it is ridiculous to say you'd just leave because you can actually stop Trump from happening. I am convinced, like so many others, that money has damaged our political system to a stunning degree. (I am also convinced that Congressional re-districting is a cancer on the political body.) But even in the post-Citizens United wasteland of American politics, I still believe that we retain some degree of political efficacy, however small it may seem. We still have our vote, and it remains a meaningful act of civic participation which, yes, requires that we plan ahead, put on pants, and go to the damn polls. Moreover, saying that we'll leave the country if Trump wins implies that after we cast our non-Trump votes, we did our part, and somehow deserve to be exempted from the result of the election. This is simply not the case. We have friends and family. We have people to talk to about things that matter. This is not to say that these conversations will be easy or comfortable. To do one's political part is to cultivate a habit of dialogue that supports spaces for discourse, whether in a free and independent press or in the nooks and crannies of our daily social lives.

Second, it's time to stop saying you'll leave if Trump wins if you have anywhere near the means to do so. One of the biggest reasons why President Trump is such a scary idea is because we all know in our hearts that those who are already marginalized in America would suffer the most under that administration. To cavalierly entertain the idea of fleeing the country is to endorse an apathy and complacency toward populations for whom this would never, ever be an option. Saying that we'll leave is dangerously close telling immigrants, the working poor, and the disenfranchised, "Well, good luck with that!" Saying that we'll leave is tantamount to choosing despair, and refusing to accept our responsibility in the well-being of all people.

So please, let's all stop saying we'll leave if Trump wins. Let's instead try and take up the arduous task of finding out why anyone would want him as president. In short, let's stay. 

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