Fleeing Abroad (Or Loudly Claiming You Will)

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Clauda Tanios has turned one up again:

Screen capture of Twitter.
Screen capture of Twitter.

My initial reaction: have any of them actually checked with Canada?

We seem to go through this ritual now with every U.S. presidential election. I first recall reading of this “leaving the country” stuff in 2000 – during Bush v. Gore. Okay, perhaps I’m not the best one to have an opinion about this considering I don’t live in the U.S. full time, but from the outside looking in I’ve had non-Americans tell me such talk from Americans sounds decidedly self-absorbed and even weird.

Indeed to those who’ve actually fled for their lives from truly horrific so-called governments (many of whom would also love to get into the United States and cannot), such declarations must sound more than a bit silly. What we as Americans tend to take for granted. Moreover as Clauda quite rightly also pointed out to me:

Screen capture of Twitter.
Screen capture of Twitter.

Clauda’s a Lebanese journalist now working for Sky News Arabia in Abu Dhabi. Lebanon has been without a president since mid-2014. I don’t pretend to understand the “full story,” and even an abbreviated version is too complicated to try to begin to go into here. (If you are interested in one effort to explain why, here’s a link.)

During the George W. Bush presidency, I recall reading of some Americans looking to “escape” here to Britain. At least one applied for political asylum on landing. I don’t remember it reported if he got it, but I’d have to seriously doubt he did. (A soldier not wanting to return to Iraq applied for asylum in Germany, and the German government has thus far rejected his application.)

I’ve entered the U.K. more times than I can remember. I even had a book chat with a border agent. I’m not saying it’s impossible, but, frankly, an American would have a really tough time proving a need for asylum here.

I’m trying to picture a border agent’s reaction to an asylum request from an American just off, say, a flight from JFK. Yes, I’m sure proper legal procedure would automatically kick in: “You understand, sir, that this application is a complicated process. Let me get my supervisor. Please wait here.” However, I suspect the officer would also be struggling to suppress laughter while trying also to avoid replying, “Okay, sure mate, but don’t hold your breath. I just got back from Florida with my kids and it didn’t look anything like Syria to me.”

The Washington Monument viewed from the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool in Washington, DC. [Public domain.]
The Washington Monument viewed from the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool in Washington, DC. [Public domain.]

If you think about it, fleeing abroad because one dislikes a constitutionally chosen U.S. president? What would George Washington say? I suspect the Father of Our Country wouldn’t be too impressed with that attitude.

4 comments

  1. It’s just as big a joke to us Americans when people, usually celebrity entertainers, threaten to move if the “wrong person” gets elected. Most of us know presidents can’t really dictate wide changes in law. The wrong president might get our forces involved in needless military adventures, but there’s no draft, so there’s no obligation to participate. If one presides over a stagnating economy (which they also can’t individually control), they don’t get re-elected.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re quite right. Mostly it’s just posturing celebs. And we all also have to put up with things in life we simply can’t control.

      We all also have to “endure” those we don’t much like being elected occasionally. Not being a “sore loser,” or for that matter an overly triumphalist “winner,” is actually important in our system. We all will “win” and we all will “lose.”

      Liked by 1 person

      1. We certainly haven’t had to face the corruption of a U.S. Grant, the rabid racism of Woodrow Wilson or the indecisiveness of a Zachary Taylor in our lifetimes. There must be better back-up systems in place to reboot the country now. Our recent Congress has been gridlocked and unhelpful, yet the economy improved and stabilized despite problems in other areas of concern.

        Liked by 1 person

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