Googling ‘Moving to Canada’? Your Privilege is Showing

Canadian flag


Okay. Donald Trump is channeling fascism, Ted Cruz wants to destroy government, and Marco Rubio is, well, Marco Rubio.  So, on the one hand, it is not surprising that Google searches for “how to move to Canada” have surged 2,450 percent since Trump won more primary elections on Tuesday, as Google told the Huffington Post.

But enough already with the Googling Canada, okay? When Muslims are being threatened with detention camps, the Ku Klux Klan is again politically significant, and the explicit male dominance of ‘whose is bigger’ takes over a GOP Debate, how will we have solidarity in the struggle against it if you walk away?

I am using Kimberly Crenshaw’s insightful work on “intersectionality” in the “Violence and Nonviolence Seminar” I am teaching this spring.  In an interview, Crenshaw has this excellent diagnostic that she uses in regard to debates with white feminists on ‘who has the power to walk away?’

“At the end of the day, it really is a question of power: who has the power to end the debate? To walk away? To say, “I’m done talking about it, and I can go on with my rhetoric in a ‘business as usual’ kind of response?”” If you wonder if you have privilege in a context, ask yourself “Can I walk away?” And if you can, you have privilege.

Ask yourself if Googling ‘moving to Canada’ isn’t an exercise in the same kind of privilege in regard to current struggles in the U.S.

This is not the first ghastly prospect we in the U.S. have ever had, politically speaking.  In my own lifetime, I struggled against Nixon, against Reagan, against W, and even sometimes against Clinton in so-called welfare reform. I’ve pushed back against Obama on drone war as well as other issues with which I disagree.

Thousands and thousands of Americans died in Vietnam before we got rid of Nixon and that war. Gains of the Civil Rights movement were systematically rolled back, and that continued with Reagan. Reagan gutted social programs, expanded the military, engaged in the covert Iran/Contra scandal, and blew racial dog whistles all the time. Our “Incarceration Nation” started growing. “W” attacked a country that had not attacked us, and his administration was complicit in war crimes.

Who paid the price for these terrible political choices? Those who couldn’t get a draft deferment like Dick Cheney or Mitt Romney. African Americans in loss of rights, jobs and personal freedom.  Poor women whose job training programs were cut and who were thrown off welfare without adequate child care to help them. Other nations around the world whom we attacked.

Instead of thinking about moving to Canada, try this instead: stand and work as hard as you can and never ‘walk away’ from the people hardest hit by authoritarian, sexist, racist, classist thugs.

Never. At least, that’s my plan.  I’ve done it before.

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