Posted on November 29, 2004
Dems plan post-election exodus
There used to be a popular bumper sticker that said, "America: Love It Or Leave It." It looks like those to whom that challenge was directed are finally making up their minds.
Since George W. Bush was re-elected, American liberals have besieged the immigration services of Australia, New Zealand and Canada with inquiries about moving to those countries. It's as if thousands of rank-and-file Democrats have bought their own party's baloney, and preemptively decided to dodge the draft.
Of course, these people are not nearly the majority of the Democratic Party, but they do exist, and their numbers are significant. New Zealand's immigration service says the number of visits to its website from the United States more than quadrupled in the days after the election, up to 10,300 hits a day. A similar site for the Canadian immigration department saw its number of daily hits from the U.S. jump from 20,000 to 115,000. This is the response we get from some members of the "how dare you question our patriotism" crowd. They've decided that if their party is no longer in power, then the American race is not worth belonging to.
Not surprisingly, this trend was set four years ago by celebrities, who are the heart and soul of the Democratic Party (though not of America, as John Kerry claimed). After the 2000 election, former ABC correspondent and Kennedy administration press secretary Pierre Salinger moved to France, as he had said he would do if Bush won. Film director Robert Altman, musician Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam, and actors Alec Baldwin, Kim Basinger, Martin Sheen and Whoopi Goldberg, among others, were reported to have "threatened" to leave the country also. (Baldwin at first denied this, but later amended that denial to say that he and Basinger never said "unequivocally" that they would leave.) This year, Robert Redford was quoted by the BBC saying that he would move to Ireland if Bush was re-elected.
This is purely a left-wing characteristic. There are not many right-wing celebrities, but those that do exist would never think of abandoning their country this way. It's impossible to imagine that, if John Kerry had won, Ben Stein and Ted Nugent would have packed their bags and fled to Belgium. Even during the darkest days of the Clinton Era, the suggestion that some other country might be preferable to the United States would have offended almost any Republican. To many Democrats, on the other hand, America's value lies in its accessibility to serve as their political laboratory. Once they have lost their power to implement policy, they might as well be living in Liechtenstein.
Some embittered Democrats have even suggested that they might leave the country without moving. A post-electoral map circulating among liberal websites combines the blue states (those whose electoral votes were won by John Kerry) with Canada, and dubs the new territory "The United States of Canada." The remaining Bush red states are labeled "Jesusland." Get it? President Bush is turning the nation into a theocracy, they whine, so they've defected to Peterjenningsland. When their party is not winning elections, the USA just isn't good enough for them.
Carter administration State Department official Bob Beckel, who managed Walter Mondale's doomed 1984 presidential campaign, has put a different spin on the idea. He is content to stay in America, but he wants those who disagree with him to leave instead. "I think now that slavery is taken care of, I'm for letting the South form its own nation," he told Fox News. "Really, I think they ought to have their own confederacy." One slight problem -- those Southerners that Beckel finds so undesirable have no motivation to leave. They like it here. Besides, they're winning.
Historically, it's been the losers who have considered the option of secession. It was the Federalists from New England, who opposed Madison's waging the War of 1812, who talked of seceding once that conflict was underway. Likewise, the Confederate States would not have seceded to protect their "peculiar institution" if the political landscape hadn't been crumbling around them. If there are those in the Democratic Party who cannot withstand political defeat, then it's no surprise that they're the ones who are musing about dissolving the Union.
During the Democratic National Convention, one speaker after another assured us that the party and its candidate were patriotic to the core. The left-wing activists who populated the delegation were notably unenthusiastic in their reaction, and for good reason, since they did not share the sentiments being expressed at the podium. That's why John Kerry got no post-convention bounce in the polls. In appealing to what there was of a TV audience, he depressed his base. The last thing those MoveOn.org and International ANSWER types wanted to see was their candidate appearing sober, statesmanlike, and worst of all, proudly American.
Kerry managed to maintain the support of both his party's American and anti-American factions by turning himself into a Rorschach test. Patriotic Democrats could justify their votes by taking the convention at face value, and focusing on Kerry's decorated service in Vietnam. "Anti-war" Democrats -- having nowhere else to turn -- would manage to stomach all the flag-waving, and console themselves with the knowledge that Kerry had thrown away his military ribbons, produced impostors to testify against the U.S. armed forces at his bogus Winter Soldier Investigation, and secretly met with the Vietcong in Paris.
Since President Bush and his party won the election, this tenuous alliance has frayed. The Kerry patriots are willing to accept the rules of a representative government, and hope that their party fares better at the polls next time. The Kerry traitors, however, cannot tolerate the unfavorable result of a fair election. Next thing you know, they're all at Barnes & Noble, trying to scrounge up copies of the English-to-Canadian dictionary.
Most people can't just pick up and move out of the country, leaving careers and families behind. For this among other reasons, not nearly as many Democrats will actually leave the country as have looked into it. This is especially true among celebrities, who need to work in this country in order to support their pretentious habits. Besides, if they moved to France, many of their favorite wines would be rendered domestic, and therefore ruined.
The question is, how many is it going to take? How many disgruntled Democrats have to flee the blue states before they turn red? Kerry won Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin with only 50 or 51 percent of the vote. Each of those states is far enough north to make inquiries about migrating to Canada sound like more than just symbolic gestures by frustrated electoral losers. It's almost inevitable that some of those people are as serious in their determination to flee as Pierre Salinger was.
For years now, the Democrats have been cultivating the anti-American vote, while at the same time holding up Canada, with its government-controlled health care system, as a model for the rest of the world. It is beginning to look as if they've been more successful in those efforts than they had hoped. What will become of their party now, if many of its most energetic supporters decide to make like maple, and leave?
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