Some of us may be wondering why more and more Americans are driving around with hockey sticks in their trunks and Celine Dion blasting from their radios. Is this sudden change in culture in preparation for something? Fact is, in the wake of this year’s presidential election, disgruntled Democrats and even a few Republicans have decided to try to take their business to our great neighbor in the north: Canada.
Canada’s immigration Web site reported that the day after our presidential election, Web traffic increased six-fold. On a normal day, around 20,000 Americans usually visit the site in search of information on how to gain Canadian citizenship; on Nov. 3, 115,016 people visited it. The traffic has since declined, but remains unusually high.
Canadians, as a group, are known to be more liberal in many of their social views than Americans. One example is their universal healthcare system, something that some liberal-minded Americans have been fighting to adopt at home. Canada is also known for more relaxed views on same-sex marriage and the decriminalization of medicinal marijuana, topics that have been vehemently opposed in the United States.
Although Canada seems to be opening their arms wide and quite lovingly for us Americans, I think that northern emigration is a huge mistake. Fleeing the country may be the most extreme example of running away from problems. America, a nation whose creation was fought hard for, would fall apart if disapprovers were to jump ship instead of fighting for change. Whether you agree or disagree with the results of this year’s election, the focus should always be on how to improve the nation. Without opposing viewpoints from within its own borders, America would cease to evolve and grow into a better place.
Historically speaking, think of the problems that have been solved simply by running. When women wanted the right to vote, they didn’t all get up and leave the country. Rather, they battled relentlessly for over 70 years, picketing, lecturing and marching in order to force America to change and accommodate them. The civil rights movement was not fought by fleeing the scene of altercations, but instead was won through tenacity. This country was founded upon the notion of allowing its own people to speak out, be heard and self-govern. People have died to have that right, and it’s not something that should be so quickly walked away from.
Whether some people like it or not, the American population was heard in this election, and that voice called out more frequently for George W. Bush. Unlike the election of 2000, this year the popular vote was clearly won by one party over another. If the results are not pleasing, then it is the job of those in opposition to spread their views and attempt to persuade. This is the only way that our country will remain as free as it ideally should be. Running away will do absolutely nothing to help the cause. To flee is a cowardly act, and it is impossible to think that those who oppose Bush will succeed by limping off with their tail between their legs. Heroes are most often those who persevere.
So, still want to be a Canadian, eh? Consider all your options before leaving us. Could you still tickle your fancy by simply enrolling in the William Shatner fan club? Have you considered a caribou as your family pet? I’m not begging you, but maybe if you were just an American in denial, then you may not have been completely lost. Canada can be tempting, but the United States needs its internal opposition. Otherwise, the years of struggle behind this nation would be nothing more than meaningless history.
Jacqueline D’Ercole can be reached at email@example.com.