As most of you probably know, I moved to the UK last summer. Over that time, I’ve become much more aware of issues regarding immigration, since it suddenly affected me a lot more directly. Things that I used to just go “gah people are awful” at and forget about really upset me now. Go read this for the sort of thing that makes me rage and cry now. This post is about a milder irritation, namely, the tendency of people to say “Oh, I’ll just move to [x] because politics/if this person wins.”
Come on, it sounded silly before, and now it’s just irritating.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for immigration. I want open borders. But seriously, the government does shitty things everywhere. The only reason you’re not aware of what Canada or wherever is dealing with is because you don’t live there. It doesn’t directly affect you. And you know how you stop governments from doing things you don’t agree with? How you minimise the damage a politician can do whilst in office? You stick around and get politically involved. Don’t fucking run away and let people you don’t agree with have free rein over the country. Fight!
And if you do move, move for a solid reason, not an idealised view of another country’s government. I already went into how hard it is in the piece I linked to above. If you move just to get away from where you are, you’re going to be miserable. That’s the other part of this tendency that bothers me so much. The very idea of “Oh, all I have to do is decide to move when something upsets me” undervalues the effort it takes to emigrate. I can’t help but think that this contributes to the idea of immigrants as lazy people who are taking advantage of the system. It’s an incredibly hard thing that takes a lot of money, resilience, and luck to succeed at. And really, if your only reason for saying you want to move is the politician you don’t like won, why not put that towards some political activism instead?