When I woke up this morning my girlfriend asked me, ‘Did you sleep good?’ I said ‘No, I made a few mistakes.’ —Steven Wright
The day hasn’t really even started yet and already I’m depressed. When I turned off my alarm this morning, the first thing I saw were last night’s primary election results. I didn’t want to see that. I didn’t need to see that. I made the mistake of leaving Facebook up all night, though, and politics are the hot trending topic of the moment. This is not a positive way to start the day. I’m depressed now and may have difficulty making it to my minimum word count, which I usually exceed three-fold or more. I’m worried.
I’m worried about things over which I have no control and the fact that I have no control is what worries me. More than ever, I get the feeling that it is the primaries that are the more important elections this year. By the time we get to the general election in November we’ll be once more faced with a decision of choosing the lesser of two evils. When in politics, the good guy never wins. Why? Because people are stupid and vote against their own best interest every time.
So, as I’m looking for something, anything, to cheer me, or, at least, jar me from this doom and gloom morning, I run across an article from Business Insider: “5 Countries Where It’s Relatively Easy For Americans To Become Expats.” My first thought was, “Geez, someone flunked the headline writing course.” My second thought was, “Better bookmark this; it might come in handy later.
I’ve never really been one of those people who threaten to move if my candidate doesn’t win. That tactic has never worked for anyone. No one cares if you leave the country. In fact, I rather expect that for most people making those threats, especially alleged celebrities, there would be a reasonably lengthy line of people more than willing to help them pack. If you’re just moving across town, you’re on your own, but leaving the country as a martyred political dissident? You’ll have to turn the help away. No one likes a bad sport, even in politics.
Still, regardless of how this year’s elections turn out, I’m finding it difficult to put a positive spin on any of the possible outcomes. Faced with a partisan Congress that has its collective head stuck up its collective ass too far to do anything, President Obama seems reluctant to do anything that can’t be achieved by executive order. The economy, while currently okay, shows signs of fracturing in China and Europe, which could doom us all through no fault of our own. North Korea seems to be itching to start another war. Middle Eastern terrorists are pissed that they’re not making headlines in American newspapers as often. These are all things that November’s elections can’t fix, despite all the claims those loudmouths are making. All they can do is make a bad situation worse, which is probably what will happen.
So, okay, maybe leaving the country isn’t such a bad idea. Canada and Mexico both top the list. They actually have rather relaxed immigration laws, especially when it comes to Americans. They are much more accepting of us than we are of them. We could probably learn a lesson or two from them, but we’re too stupid, collectively, to be paying attention to that. The problem with either of those countries is that, A) they’re likely to become flooded with immigration requests at the end of the year, forcing them to be a little picky about who they accept, and B) having a member of a drug cartel as a neighbor is a bit too similar to where we live now.
A little country by the name of Svalbard is on the list. Don’t worry, I had to look it up, too. It’s a tiny place just North of the Arctic Circle. I can see why they’d have a wide-open immigration policy. I’m rather surprised they have enough people to even have a country. I would be worried that a place where the population is so small that everyone has to hold a political office of some kind just to cover all the necessary bases. I don’t want to be a politician, nor do I care to freeze my ass off year-round. I’ll pass, thank you.
Sweden’s on the list, which doesn’t surprise me. Sweden’s a nice place with a lot of amenities that help you forget you’re being taxed out the wazoo. They have a huge expat population and are very good at helping newcomers feel welcome. The recent wave of Syrian immigrants has taken a toll, however, and they’re part of the European Union, which certainly looks to be on the verge of economic crisis. Moving to Sweden at this particular moment might prove to be a case of trading a bad situation for a worse one.
New Zealand is the fifth country on this list and it just might be the better option. They seem to be having a rather serious skills shortage, so if you know how to do something, pretty much anything, they’ll happily hand over a permanent work visa. Granted, their seasons are exactly the opposite of ours, which means one can likely spend Christmas on the beach, butI think we can probably adjust to that. It’s technically not illegal to be naked anywhere in New Zealand, either, which may be an issue for those of certain points of view. That doesn’t mean everyone walks around topless, mind you, just that you’re less likely to get into trouble on those stressful days where you forget to wear pants.
The biggest challenge I see to moving to New Zeland is the cost of shipping your stuff so very far away. This isn’t a mere 10-hour flight from JFK. It’s a minimum 12 hours from LAX, and from anywhere else, such as Indy, just plan on losing 24 hours. Shipping costs are expensive, so you’d have to buy all new furniture and stuff when you get there. Ya’ might want to start saving now.
I still don’t see leaving the country as the optimal choice if for no other reason than not really wanting the US to become a nation of complete imbeciles, which is what happens if all the smart people like you and I leave. I’m not ready to pack my bags and leave my extended family members stranded. I would like to think there are other options.
But then, I look at the morning headlines again and see nothing but doom and gloom. Maybe if ya’ll would start voting more intelligently we could have a better day. This morning is just getting started. Maybe a presidential candidate will slip and fall and make us all laugh. That would make for a good morning.