courage and the lack of it

I hope I'm not overdoing on this topic, blogging too frequently about it and boring you all to death. But I know that not everyone reads comments, and I wanted to point this out. I received this comment recently:
I must say, seeing your blog was refreshing. It's nice to know that someone such as yourself, with such a grand viewpoint, has moved on to Canada. Good riddance! Instead of staying in your own country, working with the rest of the citizens to rectify our problems, you run to Canada with your tail between your legs. And you are probably reading this saying that you went there with your head held high. Please. You may think so, but it's a good thing you're gone, because we don't need cowards like you in this country. Enjoy your stay, and please, make it a permanent one.
Readers Dr. Marco and Linda wrote in support, which I appreciate very much. My own response, in a series of comments (why can't I think of everything at once?!) ran along these lines:
Please explain how staying in the US is an act of courage and moving to Canada is an act of cowardice.

I am moving for the same reasons as all immigrants: for a better life. Canadian society is more in tune with my own values. Instead of always being an outsider, and always angry, I can join the mainstream and find some relief.

In any case, yes, my head is held high. Yours should be, too. Each to her/his own.

I hope you'll comment again to explain your accusations. I really don't understand how staying put - not changing your life - is a brave act. . . . Please explain to me why Americans leaving for Canada makes other Americans so angry. [Though many people have accused Allan and I of cowardice,] no one has answered this question yet.
Dr. Marco said:
I cannot withdraw myself from commenting the incredibly stupid first comment to this post. Is leaving a country an act of cowardice? Is searching for a better life or a better future an act of traitors? He obviously lacks the experience of living below his or her own expectations. [Ed note: excellent point! If this is the best you can do or imagine doing, then sure, stay put!] I had that problem, and I moved to the US. A coward? No way. I left my family, my friends, my culture. I decided to start again. An act of a coward for sure. And, but the way, the guy/girl signs as Anonymous, do you see the paradox?
Another great point! That person is so brave that s/he doesn't leave a name! And that reminded me...
Here's another paradox inherent in the stupid comment above. Are all immigrants cowards? If immigration is cowardly, then America is populated by cowards and their descendants, cowards from Ireland, Italy, Russia, Poland, Germany, Korea, Pakistan, Mexico (etc. etc. etc.). In fact, unless you're Native American or your ancestors were forced to come here as slaves, you or your parents or grandparents or their parents [dating back to Jamestown and Plymouth Rock] were cowards!

Why does immigrating to America make one a brave pioneer, but emigrating from it makes one... You get my point.
Again, apologies if this is repetitious. It's something I think about a lot, and maybe you're just tuning in for the first time.

* * * *

ALPF found this bizarre reaction from our friends at Fox. I agree with that commenter who asks, What are these people so angry about?


sirbarrett said...

Hey, it takes just as much courage to live in this country as our southern neighbours. I don't know why people are being such jerks. We Canadians value immigration and multiculturalism. Welcome to "our home and native land."

laura k said...

Thanks, BC! I think they are being jerks because they are jerks.

Fortunately, the people whose opinions I respect have been very supportive of our decision. The reaction we most often get from liberal Americans is a mix of admiration and envy.

Anonymous said...

My friend sent me an article by Rick Lymann, published yesterday. One of the quotes from it was:

"America is in no danger of emptying out. But even a small loss of residents, many of whom cite a deep sense of political despair, is a significant event in the life of a nation that thinks of itself as a place to escape to." (Italics mine)

I really think this is part of the hysteria. Americans have been indoctrinated to believe that theirs is the best country, the one with the lock on freedom and justice and opportunity and quality of life, and if someone who was born in the U.S. moves to an "inferior" country for a "better life," is upsets the superioriority-complex applecart.

Anonymous said...

Its Interesting to know that from a country that literally fights for democracy and freedom there are some people condemning the act of trying a better life. Frankly, this behavior does not surprise me, given the fact of their actual government which was chosen (if it was really a real choose is another question).

I don’t know if it's for better or worse that the US is slowly losing their status as a powerful nation and these speeches against Americans leaving the country is only evidence of it.

Artur Rodrigues, a Brazilian imigrant in Canada.

Anonymous said...


Don't know if you have already read this blog?


laura k said...

Anonymous two comments above: I agree completely. I linked to that article here and quoted the same passage.

Artur Rodrigues: I hope you are right - that this is the hysteria of a dying empire. Remember at least 48% of us didn't want this government - and probably more. As you said, leaving aside the question of whether it was really chosen.

ALPF: I don't know that one! I'll check it out right now.

laura k said...

Oops, I actually do know that blog. I'm not sure if the guy is actually moving to Canada, or only using the expression. "Time to move to Canada" is a kind of liberal mantra here.

All my life I've been hearing and saying, "That does it! I'm moving to Canada!" One summer evening in 2003, I said it and Allan said, "Can we? I mean, for real...?"

Anyway, I'm going to investigate further, see if that blogger is also becoming an immigrant.

Kyle_From_Ottawa said...

Off topic here, but remember that first unionized


Kyle_From_Ottawa said...

Sorry hit "publish" to soon. Predictably, Wal-Mart is closing that first unionized Wal-Mart in Quebec.

laura k said...

Ugh! Not off-topic - interesting! It relates to something I just read, which I'll blog about soon...

Inspector Lohmann said...

I won't comment on whether leaving one's homeland is an act of courage or not. If someone wants to see me as a coward for moving to Canada because I didn't want to stay and fight the fascists then that's fine by me -- I have no problem with it. If deciding to pursue what I consider to be a more hopeful future for myself and my loved ones makes me a coward, if deciding that I don't choose to subject myself and my loved ones to a hopeless and ultimately unwinnable battle makes me a coward, then so be it.

But to me it's more a question of wisdom and hope. Is one a coward for leaving the battlefield against an unbeatable foe? Or is there wisdom in doing so? At what point should a Jew stay and fight the nazis, or decide it's time to pack up and move elsewhere so their family has a chance at a future?

Personally, I applaud those who stay and fight -- good on them! I wish them all the best! (...as does the rest of the world...)

But between a life of foreseeable hardship in an increasingly hostile land, or a life that provides the chance for a better future, I've decided to give my four-year-old a chance at a better future.

And if going to the trouble to uproot ourselves and find a new life in a new country makes us cowards, then I embrace the appellation. After all, "honor", like "fighting", is best left to soldiers who need to believe such things to help them carry out their professional duty.

laura k said...

That's nicely said.

I wouldn't say I embrace the appellation - more that the use of it baffles me. But then, language is so distorted in these Orwellian days.

You are in the process of emigrating? Or have already done so?

Inspector Lohmann said...

I've been in Toronto for just over a year now. Our application for permanent residency is still in Buffalo. We expect to receive our permanet resident status before the end of the year, at which time we'll apply for citizenship.

Though I wanted to move to Canada since Raygun got elected I started seriously looking for ways to move here after the 2000 "election." I snapped at a job offer that came my way last year.

We're very happy here. Moving here was definitely one of the best decisions in our lives, and I strongly encourage Murkans with open eyes who care about their family to seriously consider coming here.

Congratulations and good luck to you in your move!

Steve said...

I came to Canada about 8 months ago. My wife is Canadian and I'm an American. Due to the fact that we want to have children, I had a pretty hard time making a case for living in the U.S. as opposed to Canada. 60% paid maternity leave for a year for either spouse is only one of many reasons why we made the choice we did. Canada's policies are just so much more family-friendly.

I'm sure that the same people who criticize your choice would also criticize mine. I don't know about you guys, but I wasn't picked up in the Gretzky trade, and the pittance I contributed to the GDP won't be missed. If anyone with better prospects makes a similar choice, good on 'em. For years, American has been a benificiary of the third-world brain drain. Now that Bush has adopted third-world policies, it's no wonder young people are looking at other options.

As for political involvement, we'll all be able to vote as expats and voice our opinions from the other side of the border, so your political adversaries can't gloat in their perceived politcal victory.

Rognar said...

I don't know what these guys are talking about. Canada has no hangduns, no death penalty and no NASCAR. You definitely have to be brave to move here. :o