If You Don’t Like It’ Leave

When I was read-ing a recent article in the Vermont Cynic, I came upon a popular tiresome sound bite made by mostly politi-cal conservatives to-ward the real enemies of America (Alec Baldwin, Martin Sheen, and me). “Why don’t you leave America if you hate it so much.” This argument (and I use the term loosely) serves two major points for the speaker. It first operates as a red herring, push-ing the objected debater to now confirm why or why not they should be forced to move to pack their bags ergo ending the conversation on whatever political issue has occurred. Secondly, it calls into question the loy-alty of the speaker to America (the best country because it was the soil that most of us call home). Conservatives, in most senses of the word, means an adherence and respect for tradition. In this context, one needs to ask what is the tradition of America? This was a country founded on change, not stasis. Our founding fathers did not believe that if one disagrees with a country you should leave, they believed in rebellion (maybe that’s what conser-vatives want, a revolution?). Our entire country is founded on democratic prin-ciples, just as voting and elections that were put in place in order for change to be expressed rather then repressed. That is maybe one of the reasons why we don’t have slavery or have given woman the rights to vote. There is a form of gov-ernment where you are not supposed to argue with the government, but just play along, I cant remember the name of it, um auth.autho…authora (guy with a mus-tache, raised his arm frequently). The Bush Administration and political conservatives in Congress don’t respect this interpretation of America. The Bush Administration routinely deny political asylum to immigrants, have only allowed less then 500 Iraqis into the nation, and returns individuals to countries where they will be tortured and killed. The last point worth mentioning is that America no longer agrees with those in power. Bush has had the lowest ap-proval rating ever, and is right now only beat by Nixon with the longest track of marginally low approval ratings (what a benchmark to be following). If it is true that you don’t like America then you should leave, are these individuals argu-ing for a mass exodus to another coun-try? Maybe we could have a citizen ex-change program with individuals who will tolerant a bellicose leader who oper-ates illegally in multiple arenas causing the death of thousands (fans of Pinochet, welcome to your new home). If we are still living in a Democracy, then the political system is based in the power of the people. Therefore when someone says to you “if you don’t like the way America does things, why don’t you leave” my reply will be,” yeah ok, I agree…so when do you leave?”