Don’t move to Canada if Trump wins election

By Maral Margossian

Michael Vadon/Flickr
(Michael Vadon/Flickr)

I’m sure by now we have all met someone who has said that if Donald Trump (or insert despised candidate’s name here) gets elected president, they’ll move to Canada. Though oftentimes this remark is made in jest and in passing, the comment sits in the air and shrouds our minds in serious contemplation.

This threat is not unique to this particular moment in history. After the Super Tuesday elections, when Trump defeated Ted Cruz, Google experienced a record level spike in searches related to “move to Canada.” The last time similar searches hit a peak was in 2004, when Bush won re-election. But as mortifying as the prospect of a Trump presidency is (with a vice president whose VP role model is Dick Cheney), we cannot up and leave America for Canada.

Trump winning the election in November is not reason to leave; on the contrary, it is the very reason we need to stay. To get to where he is today, the Republican nominee for president of the United States of America, Trump appealed to less educated, blue-collar workers living in racially isolated areas, who feel that their voices are not being heard. To do so, he played on a fear that immigrants take American jobs, a fear that terrorism will spill into American borders and the general fear that America is no longer what it used to be. As a result, he amplified xenophobic, Islamaphobic, homophobic and other “othering” sentiments.

Consequently, Trump winning the election is not the main issue. Whether or not he wins the presidential election, his followers will remain, and so will the toxic sentiments that he brought to the surface. As these tensions rise, it becomes ever more important to combat injustice and fight for the rights of underrepresented groups.

That being said, the comments Trump has made throughout his campaign do pose potentially dangerous futures for minorities that Trump is targeting. Based on Trump’s proposed policies regarding Muslims and immigrants, America very well may become a dangerous place to live for those groups of people.

According to a poll by Vox/Morning Consult, 53 percent of Hispanic people, 38 percent of African Americans and 43 percent of “other nonwhite” people who participated in the poll answered that they were “very likely” or “somewhat likely” to “consider moving to another country, such as Canada.”

When the governing institutions of the country that you live in begin to target you and jeopardize your ability to live peacefully and comfortably, one should be able to seek that better, safer life where they will not be persecuted.

However, for the white voters who just can’t stand the idea of a Trump presidency, running away to Canada will not solve any of the issues that face America. Fleeing to Canada because one refuses to be part of a country condoning racism and bigotry counterproductively makes that individual complicit in the racism and bigotry they are trying to condemn. These supposedly “liberal-minded” individuals threatening to move to Canada fail to recognize the dense undertones of privilege within that statement: that they can up and move their lives simply when the going gets tough. This is the same sort of privilege that they criticize Trump supporters for having and refusing to give up.

If a mass exodus of Trump critics fled America for Canada, then Trump would really “win.”  He would have his great white America with policies that oppress and exclude. Those without the means to leave would suffer the most. We may make our grand political statement, but leave behind a responsibility greater than our moral high ground.

In “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald, narrator Nick Carraway reflects on Tom and Daisy that, “They were careless people…they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made.” Whether Fitzgerald realized it or not, he made a greater commentary on what it means to be privileged.

We are the Toms and Daisys leaving behind an America we helped disfigure, for others to deal with the consequences. We need to take responsibility and play an active role in resolving the racial tensions that we see rising. We may not feel complicit in the bigotry that Trump magnifies, but washing our hands clean of him by threatening to move renders us as part of the problem.

Maral Margossian is the Opinion & Editorial Editor and can be reached at [email protected].