From Gene Weingarten’s chat at washingtonpost.com, “Chatological Humor,” August 23, 2005:

Gainesville, Va.: Regarding your comments about Canada being hipper than the U.S. last week, I often wonder why more American liberals like yourself (and the vast majority of your readers) don't move there.
I'm not asking this to be flip or snide (unlike the Alex [sic] Baldwins of the world who routinely make such "threats" whenever Republicans win the White House, then never seem to follow up) -- I'm genuinely curious about why more of you don't migrate to a place that seems to be much more in line with your values, views and lifestyle choices than is the case here in the U.S. Conservatives don't really have that option -- there's no place that comes as close to their "ideal" as the U.S., even when the Dems are in charge -- but liberals do. A place like Toronto would seem to offer everything you would want -- national health care, multiculturalism, gay marriage, pro baseball, public transit, proximity to family in the eastern U.S., higher and more progressive taxes, cheaper pharmaceuticals, strong opposition to the Bush foreign policy, and now the right to use the F-word in print. All this, for just a few extra days of snow and cold each year. Other than the usual reasons that we all have for living in our less-than-favorite place (such as a specific job we enjoy), what's keeping you all south of the St. Lawrence?
Gene Weingarten: This is a good question, and it's one I've thought about as the United States seems to be moving toward a conservative theocracy. And I really like Toronto. And Montreal. But: 1. One doesn't lightly jettison one's citizenship, particularly citizenship in this great country. Moreover, politics are cyclical. I believe in Americans; I believe we are on the verge of a backlash to this nonsense. 2. For a humor writer, the United States, right now, is a goldmine. Hypocrisy is funny. I suspect I would not find myself with as much to say in Canada. I'm not sure what I would do if this president, for example, instituted a draft to support this war. And my kids were in jeopardy. They are adults, but I might well move to Canada in support of their decision. Dunno. Don't think it will happen.”

This pisses me off, and I figured out why. It’s not just the condescending, snide tone (despite the assurance that it isn’t) – it’s the basic premise that us liberals don’t value this country, and further, that in an important way it’s not even ours to value. Which is nonsense. All citizens of our great country – and it is a great country, and also awful and mighty and powerful and myopic and a thousand other things – have equal claim on the country, on its history, its present, its future.

I think of this country, sometimes, like other people think of their favorite sports team. I relaize that these are wholly inaccurate equivalencies but still...

You celebrate the history, replaying ad nauseum the glory days. But you also remember the stupid moves (trading Babe Ruth, Central American foreign policy), horrible losses (The Drive, RFK assasination) and generally expect the team/nation to improve so that the future looks more like the greatest hits and less like the blooper reel. I don't think people assume that Packers' fans who call up sports talk radio and bitch about the lack of deep threats for Favre are any more un-Pack-triotic than someone who says that theocracy is wrong has rescinded their patriotic card.
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