Saturday, May 3, 2008

OT: Exile -- or maybe not

There's a pretty powerful piece at dKos by karendc going over some of the elements leading to her and her husband's decision to leave the country -- apparently to move to Canada, though it's difficult to tell, since the focus shifts so often in the post. The point is not where they're moving to, the point is that they're moving. So long. Bye bye.

Since the advent of the Bush regime, there have been periodic outbreaks of "That's it! I'm leaving!" from various progressives, liberals, and anti-Busheviks of all stripes, and some Americans have chosen to expatriate themselves or to actually exile themselves from their country, at least until the Long National Nightmare of Bushevism is over, if not forever. Some, like Glenn Greenwald, have chosen a half-way "outta here" solution. An escape to Brazil, but still able to return to the USA when a new book is out or the spirit moves him.

Americans in exile from the Busheviks is often compared to Jews who chose to leave Germany as the Nazis consolidated their power. They were the smart ones. They got out in time. Who would have imagined the Holocaust that awaited those who were left behind?

Many of those who were left behind in Germany, and approximately all the Jews who were eventually slaughtered by the Nazis in the rest of Europe and the Soviet Union had little choice in the matter. They couldn't afford to leave, or they had no place to go if they could afford to leave (how many potential Jewish exiles were sent back to the Reich for "processing?"), or they were prevented from leaving, or their nations were conquered so quickly by the Nazis they had no time to get out. Or, as was often the case, they had no idea what awaited them when the Storm Troopers marched in.

And so, by the millions, they perished, while almost no one did anything to interfere with the slaughter.

And we hear the cry, "Never again!" And we know it is hollow. Slaughters of the innocents continue apace. And not solely in darkest Africa.

Is there a reason for Americans to choose exile or at least temporary expatriation while the troubles of the Bushevik era are worked out? Of course. Will any substantial portion of them be sent to the camps and thence to the ovens if they stay? Hard to say. Will things get worse before they get better? More than likely. Are there havens outside the country for Americans choosing to leave now? Apparently.

For the Ché household, leaving the country seems ridiculous. Though we've travelled extensively within the country, we've never been out of it, and never had much urge to travel in foreign lands. Besides, some of us at Casa Ché are indigenous. Whose motto is "You! Get off of my ranch!"

Internal exile is something else again. Someplace to go within the confines of the country, if everything starts turning to shit (oh, it already has, has it?). Many Americans have already chosen that option; it is the traditional American response to social and political developments not of ones liking. Find some remote corner of some backwater and settle in there, make a community of like-minded folks, put up a "No Trespassing" sign and be done with it. Until the winds of whatever change have blown over or you've become acclimated to the changes that have occurred.

Thankfully, my prognostication powers have diminished over the years, so I have no particular insight into Things To Come any more. My sense (such as it is) is that there will be no President Barack and there will be no President Hillary. There may not even be a President Princess McCain. Could well be that events of some sort will intervene, and come November, we may not have an election, and come December, we may not have a President, except perhaps in a hyphenated version, like "General-President" or "Acting-President" or what have you. And for the most part, at least at first, this shift from the hollow shell of a Republic to the outright declaration and imposition of Autocracy will have little direct effect on most people. Other Things, let's say, will take priority.

But over time, maybe a relatively brief time, the Autocracy will be felt more and more by more and more people. A highly regimented and conformist society, much like the nation experienced in the 1950's, would be the goal. More than likely, it will be successful in time. There may be much misery in store before Victory Day, however.

If history is any guide -- and of course, we're entering uncharted territory for Americans -- those who choose internal exile will mostly do fine, though there will be some high profile exceptions, as various "militant camps" are raided by private armies or exterminated by Hellfire missiles fired from Predator drones. Public dissenters will be rounded up and sent who knows where. Many will probably not return, but their fate will not be known to their loved ones. "Disappeared." Oh well.

Most Americans will get right with the New America right away. It's what they do. There is no significant constitutency for the Self-governing Constitutional Republic that will be gone once and for all, and those who insist on fighting the Autocracy will be routinely jeered and denounced as rabble deserving of whatever Fate has in store.

As Naomi Klein has long pointed out, when it happens, it will happen very quickly.

We are nearly there.


  1. I'm not so sure about your certainty that there are ready refuges for Americans who choose to emmigrate. You yourself seem to be a pretty good example of a general American cluelessness as to how these things work. I'm not trying to be insulting or wind you up but, with all due respect, it ain't that simple.

    Where would these people go? Canada? Sorry, but Canada is, believe it or not, a sovereign nation with immigration laws very much on a par with our own. I know this from personal experience, having lived there for 30 years. You can't just pull up to the border with a station wagon full of furniture, give the password (Bush sux) and have them wave you through.

    Europe? Same deal. Unless you're wealthy and can invest big bucks (the investor exemption) in a business there, or possess some skill or attribute the nation in question is direly in need of, or are married to a citizen who can sponsor you, you're probably shit out of luck.

    This idea among Americans, even smart, well educated left-leaning Americans, that they will be welcomed around the world as some kind of prize is one of several attributes that make us somewhat less than popular on the world stage. We actually really are not this Shining City on the Hill that all admire and aspire to. The world is filled with Italians and Canadians and Australians and Brits and Irishmen and Japanese and Frenchmen and Germans who all live in functional democracies (these days, more functional than our own), enjoy higher standards of living and better healthcare and education, and wouldn't change places with us on a bet.

    Spending a few years abroad brings this sharply into focus. I highly recommend it.

  2. "Americans in exile from the Busheviks is often compared to Jews who chose to leave Germany as the Nazis consolidated their power."

    That's the most ignorant comparison I've ever heard in my life.

    And on the subject of ignorance, why do you celebrate a mass-murdering coward such as Che?

  3. hi john,

    Might want to re-read the post. The post's reference is to karendc's post linked at dKos wherein she says she and her hubby have finally decided to pull up and head out -- to Canada as far as I can make out.

    Since they've been scouting property in Nova Scotia for a while, it's probably safe to assume they've made the appropriate preparations. Then again, maybe they're in for a rude shock. Time will tell.

    Meanwhile, my musing was mostly about internal exile, which is an American tradition. For as long as there has been a United States (and well before it) separatists and dissenters have formed themselves into utopian communities or set out into the wilderness on their own to be away from whatever horrors the Powers That Be are inflicting on the nation and the world. It's in the National DNA.

    You're right that Americans are not necessarily welcomed abroad, and depending on where you're from, and where you're going to, you aren't necessarily all that welcome within your own borders, either.

    I have college friends who long ago made the choice to expatriate (to Belgium, as it happened). I never could understand why, but they've been happy as can be ever since. Belgium? Oh well.

    I have many more friends who have chosen to live separatist/utopian lives in the USA. It's still possible. I think it will still be possible into the future.

    And PS to Jose, "my friend": if you weren't such a knee-jerk clown, you might have something worthwhile to offer. As it is, you haven't a clue. It's all automatic. Sigh. And yes, a few actually missed you over at Digbys. Can't imagine. But there you are. Have a nice day.