Here's one I wanted to bring to your attention, by Greg E, an American, copied here with his permission.
I am an American who has lived with his Japanese wife in Tokyo for near nine years. Two years ago, we decided we wanted to raise our children in the West, and started looking at my homeland, as well as Canada, England, Australia and New Zealand. Of course, proximity to family was a powerful factor.Nice, eh? And sad.
However, Canada has other strengths that those other countries don't. It has the second largest quantity of fresh water beside Russia, some of the largest forest and timber resources in the world, global warming is making its climate more livable rather than more hostile (bad overall, but it can be a benefit to most of Canada), its water tables are not falling as quickly as the States, and many more factors I could name that will bolster its resource power and ability to leverage them.
I am one of those Americans who loves my country. When I read or listen to a biography of a Founding Father, and George Washington in particular, I get that lump in my throat, when I hear the Constitution quoted, I get that shiver of awe in my spine. Jefferson fires my Freethought spirit, Franklin makes me proud of the ingenuity and work ethic of America, Roosevelt of the nobleness of serving the least of Americans and guiding the nation in the darkest of hours, and so on. Even if my children grow up Canadian, I will always be American.
But an American of an America that has vanished under the sea like an Atlantis. I go to Canada for my children. I go so that they will have a safety net, so that they can marry if they turn out to be gay, that they will not have to take a job they hate JUST to get decent insurance (though maybe to feed a family, hehe); so that they will not have to turn into animals in competition as water becomes the next scarce resource as the UN estimates, and so forth. Canadian patriots and politicians in the past have said it regarding the 90s (inaccurately), but my research shows that Canada has its best chance of rising to the ascendancy in the 21st century than it ever has, if it takes that torch and run with it. At least it will stand a fighting chance against the environmental hardships the U.S. will increasingly experience in the next century.
I have already filed my immigration application, and have mailed out my graduate school applications to Canadian schools. I will get in one way or the other. I have read much on what is right and wrong with Canada and have no fuzzy misconceptions about some frozen utopia.
I know I can always go home. But having moved internationally once (and back to North America soon to Canada), we want our children to live in one place and know a stable home. So in all likelihood, this will be our last move.
How do other Americans feel about moving to Canada? I feel both relieved for my family, but sad that I cannot stay and fight in America to try to save it from running off the tracks. I am normally not one to run from a fight. I at least look forward to making friends and a community in Canada and give something back to the country in return for taking us in and/or educating me.
Greg's feelings about the US aren't as foreign to me as you might think. There was a time on my own political journey when I shared his point of view. I also thought of America as a place of great promise and ideals, one that had fallen so far from the beautiful words of its founding, but that was always being pushed - by its best citizenry, with struggle and at their own peril - towards its potential. I was patriotic in the sense of the word I had learned from my parents, believing that true patriotism is wanting your country to live up to its ideals, to be the most democratic, the most egalitarian, nation it could be.
During the last 20 or 25 years, that all got knocked out of me. I came to view those beautiful words a sham, a smokescreen for a more practical, often brutal, agenda. I don't have any patriotism anymore; I have loyalty to ideas. With patriotism, you love your country no matter what. I'd rather love democracy, wherever it is found.
I say this with no disrespect for what Greg E has written. He's a braver person than I, choosing to leave a country he loves because he sees it with open eyes. It was easier for me and Allan; we couldn't stand it anymore, we just wanted out. Perhaps it's easier to sustain that patriotism from afar. Maybe living in Japan, Greg E can more readily connect with the ideal of America. Living there, the reality pressed on us every day. I don't know, I'm just wondering.
In an email, Greg said he'd like to hear how other American ex-pats feel about the US. These days most wmtc readers are Canadian, but not all. Many of the Americans who read this blog are working on their applications to emigrate, or waiting to hear from the CIC. Maybe some of them will share their thoughts.