I've lost faith in my country.
Even if Bush ends up losing - the fact that it still came down to this, to provisional ballots and recounts and lawsuits, that fully half the country has a mindset so alien to my own that I cannot even find enough common ground to debate them on - there's nothing of America left.
Many are saying to stand and fight, make your voice heard. Well, I've been watching the fight happen, and have added my own voice to the clamor over the last ten years. And it hasn't made a damn lick of difference. If anything, the divide is wider, the frustration more bitter.
This country has made it clear the direction it wants to go. And that direction is not in line with my will, nor is it in line with my will to try to force the country around to my way of thinking. Which means tomorrow I start looking elsewhere.
So there have been several classes of reaction to the election on LIveJournal today. One class, into which I firmly fall, is heartbroken and angry, and is thinking seriously of leaving the country.
The second class says "what? Don't tell me you were surprised?"
To them I say no, I wasn't surprised. I've been very unhappy with the direction this country is going pretty much since I was capable of analyzing it. This election was my one last hope, that those who believe as I do would rise up and take the country back. I only hoped - but even only hopes can be dashed into shards of broken glass.
The third class is as angry and upset as the first, but they say to stand and fight, and rain bitter words on those of us who want to run away.
You know what? I wish I had the heart to keep fighting. And I cheer on those who do. But I'm done. I've got my own life to live. In the end, I put my trust in myself - not in my god, not in my country, not even in my fellow men. In myself. And I have to do what's best for myself first. This means getting myself to an environment where I can accomplish my will without anyone taking it away from me. And if you don't like those priorities - fuck you very much.
Oh, and I'm sure there are also those of you who are scoffing at the notion that there's anything to be afraid of. And to them I point out that I am a bisexual, polyamorous, Libertarian, ceremonial sex magician. I'm planning on having children soon. In the last four years people have had their children taken away from them for being pagan, for being poly, for living any form of 'alternate lifestyle' you can name. And they've been arrested, kept in jail without a lawyer, harassed and monitored. Women's reproductive rights have been set back twenty years. The country as a whole has become polarized to the extreme, and rubber bands stretched too far don't just come bouncing back. They break. And hurt people in the process.
I've listened and read and talked to conservatives in recent years, leading all the way up to this election. I've tried to understand their point of view, at least get some idea where they're coming from. And I have failed at every turn. I don't see any way to even have a debate with them, and trying simply makes me angry and frustrated to the point where if I keep it up, I will destroy myself.
Keep in mind that I'd be happy to just disagree with them if they were willing to let me live my life in peace. But I don't believe they are. And rather than standing my ground to let the bully smash his fist in my face again and again, yes, I will run away. If I have anything to contribute to this fight, it's in the words and images I create. And those I will create, but from a safe distance, so I can be reasonably sure that I can keep on creating them.
Finally, a practical note. I realize it's difficult to emigrate, and a long, expensive process. It may not be possible for me to leave for a few years, and in that time it's possible, just barely, that the country will turn around and prove me wrong. I pray fervently that I am proved wrong.
So. If you still think poorly of me for having those priorities, that's your call. But I humbly point out that you have bigger battles to fight than to pick on those who essentially agree with you.
And in the meantime, I have a life to live.