Offshoring one's self for the wrong reason

This U.S. election map by county is interesting, but most of my friends and family are neither blue nor red, they embrace a blend of the best democrat and republican ideas along with ideas expressed by neither party. The political duopoly squeezes 300 million diverse ideas into a binary bottleneck.

The divisiveness of this bottleneck was so intense during the campaign that blue-leaning and red-leaning friends have said that if the wrong candidate were elected, they might leave the country. I only hoped they were joking. Don't get me wrong, there are excellent reasons why I would encourage anyone to travel or live abroad. Emigration for necessity, security, economics, a better life, more freedom, a better work-family balance, to follow an outsourced job... all make perfect sense. But these reasons alone can't account for the 7 million U.S. citizens living abroad. Most would have more wealth, security and freedom if they remained in the U.S. One friend who was considering emigration expressed concern that the U.S. President might try to remove a civil right. I reminded her that this particular right has never existed over here. The yanks still get a few basics right. The government in power doesn't decide whether or when to hold an election, it doesn't own the primary media news sources, nor any of the major newspapers. People can say or print nearly anything, true or false about elected officials without fear of lawsuits or other punishment. Children are born full citizens regardless of their parentage or ethnicity. The government doesn't decide which religious symbols are acceptable attire, and where. Citizens can leave the country for medical or other reasons.

My suggestion for anyone considering leaving the U.S. is to thoroughly investigate the laws, culture, lifestyle and weather of the nation you are considering. You might learn that you didn't appreciate how good you have it. The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, isn't it? And as Tim Bray notes, the weather in most of Canada sucks. Ditto for Ireland.

So what is my favorite reason for living abroad? A 19th century American author expressed it this way:

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts.  Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime”
-- Mark Twain.

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