Tuesday, February 23, 2016

An expatriate American friend of mine in the news

I've often said that moral courage is always individual.  Moral courage is very often simply possessing the courage and the will, to make moral decisions on one's own, individually.  It's standing on one's own two feet; and that usually requires sacrifice.  Because whenever you make a decision that contradicts public opinion, or an organizational code or a religion or the attitudes of your family, friends and neighbors ... you will encounter one of the greatest fears that keeps people from acting courageously – as individuals – that fear of being outside the tribe.  Peer-pressure is a force most people cannot successfully resist, and to which they will always submit

A friend of mine, who immigrated to Canada on 30 August 2005, less than four weeks before we arrived on 24 September 2005, has been interviewed for two newspaper articles on Americans who have moved to Canada for "political reasons":

An alternative exists: the US citizens who vowed to flee to Canada – and did
The Guardian UK, February 1, 2016

and, Saturday:

Disenchanted US voters look with longing eyes to Canada, but few follow through
The Toronto Star, February 20, 2016

Laura said that the editors of the Star article left out most of what she said about the differences between Canada and the US:  "universal health care, didn't invade Iraq, no death penalty, no abortion law, one of the first countries to legalize same-sex marriage, a party to the left of liberal. A functioning democracy. A more secular society."

I love the reason she gave, in the Star article, for leaving the US for good, "We were tired of being so angry and frustrated and out of step for so long."  Simple.

Our own reasons for immigrating to Canada are very much the same, and just as simple ... we no longer felt part of the tribe.  Strangers, suddenly, in a community in which we'd lived for 15 years, in which we built two houses, and had a child. I often say that moving to Canada was, for me, an antidote to a feeling of helplessness that I could no longer endure.

I have not met refugees from America's recent wars, but I have met refugees, older than myself, who came here during Vietnam and stayed.  They are great Canadians and, I believe, exhibit the best of Americans.  And that's what I aspire to be, during what remains of my own life.

But the editors did include her statement that "We were tired of being so angry and frustrated and out of step for so long.  It got to the point where someone who is just an ordinary progressive is feeling like a radical revolutionary."

There has certainly been a change in attitudes toward Americans who left the country rather than be (if only silently) complicit in something they feel is morally indefensible.