No, really, maybe I will.
Check it out: Obama-McCain Tied Nationally!
Now, even if Obama wins, it’s going to take some small miracles to keep me in the U.S. after I graduate. I finish my undergrad in 2012. If I end up going to grad school in film like I want to, I’ll probably want to do that in California, so maybe I’ll stick around for another couple years after that as well. But there had better be a gay marriage miracle across the U.S. between now and 2020, or I’m taking my Canadian citizenship and leaving.
I’ll probably also be expecting a single-payer health care system miracle, a reproductive rights miracle,
an environmental miracle, an anti-torture miracle, a privacy miracle, and if I’m being particularly picky maybe even an international reputation miracle.
I know Canada isn’t the promised land– I have been there, many times– but it is unquestionably better.
I have this internal monologue every time the U.S. does something phenomenally stupid (which is most days, now): I have dual citizenship. The U.S. isn’t my only option. I could get married in Canada. The Canadian film industry is booming, and there’s actually legislation trying to achieve gender parity within the industry, not to mention the requirement that 30 percent of the media shown in Canada be of Canadian origin– it’d probably be easier and require less fighting with sexist assholes if I worked in film in Canada. And fluency in Arabic would still be a useful backup. Actually, that might be more fun in Canada, too, since I wouldn’t be representing the U.S. The Canadian dollar’s getting really strong and it’s an internationally respected country. I love my Canadian family. I wouldn’t have to deal with all this health insurance rubbish. I could be proud of my home country, of my government. With the parliamentary system, I’d never have to “hold my nose” and compromise with my vote ever again.
I could get married in Canada. That’s always the first thought, and it’s always the last one too. Even though it’s the most emotional/least rational, it’s the most compelling. I could get married. Not commitment cerimonied, not married-only-if-I-don’t-leave-the-state-and-maybe-that’ll-change-too, really married.
(I should use that to pick up girls: “Hey, baby! Wanna move to Canada and get married for real? I’m a citizen!”)
Actually, the quietest, shyest little thought, in the middle there, is also highly compelling: I could be proud of my government. The American system is fundamentally broken. The Democratic party doesn’t give a shit about me. If I stay in the U.S., I’m going to be doing a lot of wincing, a lot of crying out into the void, and a whole lot of compromising. This is where I grew up, so I bet if I didn’t have any other options I’d just swallow my pride and take it, and hope I can push things just a little bit farther in the right direction.
Or I could move to Canada. And that idea seduces me. I mean, Canada’s Conservative Party is no worse than our current Democratic Party. But I wouldn’t have to vote for them. I could vote for anyone I liked! Because the Conservative party doesn’t have 50% of the House of Commons– it only has 38%– nothing can be passed unless members of the other parties agree. So the opposition parties have the power to truly influence the direction of the country.
I could vote for the Liberal Party and hope they edge out the Conservative Party– the two are pretty close!– or I could vote for the New Democratic Party, which is even more liberal, and give it a little more clout in negotiations, or I could vote for any other party I liked and if they got even one seat, they’d be involved in the political conversations and my vote would count.
But even if I just voted straight Liberal party line, I wouldn’t have to hold my nose to do so, and that in itself is such a powerful temptation that I think I could leave the U.S. tomorrow and not regret it.
That probably seemed like a long tangent, but I thought the background was important so that my threat could be understood to be truly serious. My long-term plans will probably always include moving to Canada, sooner or later…
But if McCain gets elected, I’m outta this country as soon as I finish my undergrad.
I won’t say, “as soon as the polls close,” because realistically it would be a waste to give up a full-ride scholarship at my rather nice university so I can transfer mid-term to a school in another country. But if McCain is president in 2012, I’ll get my diploma, throw my cap, and drive to Canada in my graduation robes. I won’t stay in McCain’s Americaland a second longer than I have to.