mail from texas

Shortly after Howard Kurtz increased my page-views, I received some encouraging mail from a man in Texas. He knows several people who've left the US, one for France (gasp!), another for the Netherlands, and a third for Mexico. He's visited Vancouver and some other places in Canada. He says:
...I've seen the worst of stateside American ugliness and have wanted to leave for years, really ever since the early 90s when I read up on how the torture-loving Reaganites (yeah, the ones back in office) forced long-term destructive changes on society during the 80s. I was an apolitical US college student during the 80s but with some socialist tendencies and I couldn't help but notice that seemingly everything Reagan did appeared designed to do long-term damage.
I'm always gratified when I hear an American date the country's shift to the right to the Reagan years - and I'm suspicious of American liberals who pine for Clintonian liberalism. I tend to think they're thinking more about their own economic self-interest than about democracy. When I was a kid, one of my favorite quotes was Phil Ochs's definition of a liberal: Ten degrees left of center in good times, ten degrees right of center when it effects them personally.

Back to my new friend in Texas.
I have also wanted to leave the country since the early 90s, but I don't have a drool-worthy resume like some of my friends do so I don't know how employable I'd be. I visited Ottawa in '95 and Vancouver in '97 to check them out as potential places to live but still didn't feel employable enough to try a move. Since the 2000 judicial coup, however, a couple of other friends have left and I've felt a greater sense of urgency.

In '03, something happened to one of my closest friends that is really illustrative of what's being done to this country.

My friend had worked as an early childhood intervention specialist for Dallas County for a decade. Her job consisted of responding to calls for assistance from families with children under the age of three who had developmental problems. She spent each work week driving to people's residences, working with needy children and their families, teaching parents how to do basic physical therapy for their children, and hooking them up with needed social services.

As the Bush-as-governor years wore on, more and more of the social services she and her families relied on were privatized and/or eliminated and she saw families suffer because of it. The nurses on her staff were eliminated because they had the most seniority and were thus the most highly paid. Their dismissal hurt the needy families who relied on them more than anyone else. The staff was reduced so much that my friend was eventually carrying a caseload of between 30 and 40 families, meaning she had to do home visits to that many households each week.

Meanwhile, any open positions were filled by just-out-of-college Republicans who, though they might have majored in social work or early childhood development, uniformly believed that the needy families they were supposed to be serving were just trying to take advantage of the system in order to "waste taxpayers' money" and treated them accordingly.

My friend prided herself on the good rapport she maintained with her families and soon found herself reprimanded by a new Republican boss for "spending too much time with her families." They preferred that she spend her time doing newly-requisite mountains of office paperwork instead. In fall of '03, she was fired for "spending too much time with her families."

She spent several months traveling before getting a job doing early childhood work for a company that serves English-speaking communities in Japan, which mostly means US military in Japan, unfortunately. Still, it puts an ocean between my friend and the continental United States, which is what she wanted. She is looking into moving to Vancouver after her year contract with this company is up and I have referred her to your website...
Maybe in a year or so, we'll be reading his moving-to-Canada blog.


G said...

Hope so. The more the merrier. If the US doesn't want people of a certain think-out-of-the-TV-box perspective - hell, we'll take 'em. Makes us better for it.

redsock said...

speaking of thinking outside the box, here's another bumper sticker.

Niko said...

That is so what my job in social services has turned to....


L-girl said...

I think you'll have a much better time of it in Canada. Ontario will be lucky to have you.