I’m thinking about moving my family to Canada, Europe, or possibly somewhere else outside the U.S. It’s not for me, so much — I’m a middle-aged white middle-class femme lesbian with a full-grown child, a dog, a house I’m buying from the bank, a stable, steady job. I’m on the list, but by the time they get to me, there will be no one left to speak up.
No, I’m thinking of leaving because of my wife, and Donald Trump, and the problems with America.
The problem with America is, of course, that we’re all living in a dystopian capitalist hellscape. No more needs to be said.
Oh, you don’t believe me? What else would you call a country with not just one but multiple sites for crowdfunding for medical care? In other countries, there are medical fundraisers, but they’re for things like last-ditch spiritual healing or travel to other countries for treatment. In the U.S., there are so many medical crowdfunding campaigns that Forbes and The Penny Hoarder have both put out articles on why it’s not always effective in the past year.
And that’s just medical care. We could also talk about infrastructure, inequality and the tax structure, the economic fate of Millenials and Generation Z, children being removed from their parents at the border, the obesity epidemic, or environmental degradation. But that would be boring, and depressing, and I wouldn’t want to read it, so I know you won’t either.
I’m also contemplating exile because of Donald Trump, who is essentially the president you’d get if you elected BizarroWorld Lex Luther — he’s incompetent, he’s poor, he’s a liar, and he’s incoherent. He’s also the end result of a lot of rhetoric from the political Right and the Republican party, and he’s not operating in a vacuum. I’ll go into this further if I ever post here again, but let’s just say that the rise of naked fascism in our political discourse is making me uncomfortable.
But the main reason I think I need to leave? My wife. She’s also a middle-class white lesbian, she’s also middle-aged, and we own the house and dog together. And that’s where the similarities stop. She’s a fierce small butch woman with a keen sense of justice. She works from home, so she has lots of time while I’m commuting to walk the dog and weed the garden. She believes in direct political action. And she spends way too much time reading the news.
You might not think that’s a problem from this description, but I’ll give an example: A few weeks ago, there was a delivery guy who parked on the corner, sort of too near the hydrant. We were outside, so was our neighbor. We figured, meh, guy is probably fine, he’ll be gone in a minute. Neighbor sees the driver is Hispanic and goes BALLISTIC. The whole nine yards, yelling, telling the guy to move. And my wife hears. And then SHE goes ballistic.
She was really, really angry at the neighbor. She doesn’t like to see people bullied, and she’s strongly anti-racist. She was walking around the house to confront the neighbor *right then* and tell him why he didn’t need to be yelling at a guy who’s just trying to do his job. She was bouncing up and down on the balls of her feet like a tiny, angry kangaroo. And our neighbor, an ex-marine in his late 50’s, is a cranky man; he’s always been polite to us, but I was not looking forward to trying to pick her up off the ground if he took it badly when she started yelling. And I know he carries a gun.
Luckily, I was there, and I am bigger than my wife by quite a bit. I got between my sweetheart and the corner of the house, and I calmed her down. We told the delivery guy where it was OK to park, he delivered the pizza, neighbor stopped yelling, everything is fine.
But I won’t always be there, and as the world heats up and gets more crowded everyone’s getting angrier. I know there are times when it’s best to stand up and say something; I know there are times when your voice is the only barrier between someone else and something bad happening. And next time that time comes for Laura, I’d rather there be better odds that she’s not confronting someone who’s packing heat.