Lee Siegelmay

Whenever a Republican gets elected president, it is a standard reflex for die-hard liberals and progressives to wring their hands and moan about moving to Canada or Europe.
For those of us who have lived abroad — when I was 19, I moved with my girlfriend to her grandmother’s house in Norway, fleeing my father’s bankruptcy and my own economic struggles — migratory thoughts are a cozy daydream, fueled by nostalgia and idealism, but no more than that.
I thought of returning abroad after Bush v. Gore. But like thousands of crestfallen liberals, I ended up deciding that things were bad but not quite bad enough — that George W. Bush was a terrible president, but that he was just one man, a usurper. The calamity of his reign, I figured, would pass.
This time around, though, I’m thinking of living again in Scandinavia more seriously than I ever have before. Something fundamental has changed in America, for the worse.

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One Response to Lee Siegelmay

  1. shinichi says:

    For Liberals, Is It Time to Move to Norway?

    by Lee Siegelmay

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/13/opinion/is-it-time-to-move-to-norway.html

    Whenever a Republican gets elected president, it is a standard reflex for die-hard liberals and progressives to wring their hands and moan about moving to Canada or Europe.

    For those of us who have lived abroad — when I was 19, I moved with my girlfriend to her grandmother’s house in Norway, fleeing my father’s bankruptcy and my own economic struggles — migratory thoughts are a cozy daydream, fueled by nostalgia and idealism, but no more than that.

    I thought of returning abroad after Bush v. Gore. But like thousands of crestfallen liberals, I ended up deciding that things were bad but not quite bad enough — that George W. Bush was a terrible president, but that he was just one man, a usurper. The calamity of his reign, I figured, would pass.

    This time around, though, I’m thinking of living again in Scandinavia more seriously than I ever have before. Something fundamental has changed in America, for the worse.

    It’s not just Donald Trump’s volatility, or the unfitness of his cabinet appointees, or his possible collusion with Russia, or the certain prospect that everything from health care to quality education will soon be inaccessible to great numbers of Americans.

    It’s that with or without Mr. Trump, America may no longer be the America that I returned to from Norway (after my girlfriend and I were unable to obtain visas) and whose blessings and opportunities eventually made it possible for me to make a career and a life.

    Donald Trump did not single-handedly create the present atmosphere of fear, violence and impending chaos; the enthusiastic reception of propaganda and fake scares; the effectiveness of xenophobia and talk of war; the callous indifference to weakened and marginalized people. Mr. Trump took the lid off the Pandora’s box of anti-democratic forces that had been seething for decades.

    America once prided itself on sustaining and improving upon the legacy of ancient Greek democracy. Today it is the dysfunctions, not the virtues, of the ancient Greeks that are ascendant. Baleful words with archaic roots rattle in the mouth like loose teeth: plutocracy, kleptocracy, gerontocracy, kakistocracy. The anti-democratic pathologies generated by American democracy have now overwhelmed it.

    On those days when the daydream of escape to another country is strongest, I think to myself that I do not want to live in, and I do not want my children to grow up in, a country where anyone, even a mentally ill person, can buy a gun.

    I do not want to live in a country where health care is a lavish perk that only the wealthiest people can afford.

    I do not want my children to face a future where politics and public policy are dedicated to the achievement of a single goal: the unlimited accumulation and retention of wealth for the richest Americans, even at the expense of the poor and sick.

    There seems to be no way out. In this vital, energetic, creative, prosperous, boundary-bursting country, there is no impassioned, continuous, organized opposition to the present political establishment.

    You would think that by now a figure — someone younger than my 59 years — would have appeared to inspire people with true American values, a figure who could serve as an antithetical rallying point, laying the groundwork for the midterm elections and beyond. But there is no one. The Democrats are powerless, often more eager to fight one another for ascendance in their party than to fight a threat to the Republic.

    Perhaps the most disturbing portent of a bleak American future is that for all the millions of words proving not just Mr. Trump’s dishonesty and unfitness to serve but also the dishonesty and unfitness of most of the people he has put in positions of authority and influence, there is no clamorous outrage that is not easily dismissed as partisanship.

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