What if Biden wins?

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We’ve been legitimately touched by everyone who has reached out to wish us well and ask questions about our plans to sell our house and move to Mexico. The one prerequisite for this move to happen is being able to sell our house for an amount that we think is fair. Our asking price is fair (we believe), so that doesn’t seem to be a stumbling block, but the most common question we’ve gotten is — will your plans change if Joe Biden is elected president in November?

We’re going to do everything in our power for the next eight weeks to make sure that happens, but obviously it’s out of our control.

This piece by Jonathan Chait in New York Magazine does a good job of explaining that the election of Joe Biden is not a cure-all for what ails the body politic in the United States. Nor is that going to be the case for society at large.

Yes, we are moving because of the implications of what a second term in office for Donald Trump will bring, but the well is already poisoned regardless of the election outcome. There are millions of Americans who legitimately believe that the Democratic Party is a front for human trafficking and pedophilia. Those beliefs are only going to be validated further by a Biden victory, no matter how legitimate and convincing it may be.

The United States of America has become a nasty, brutish place. Tens of millions have gotten a taste for fascism and aren’t going to fall in line under a Biden presidency. Those people own a lot of guns and they’re itching to use them.

Are we physically in danger regardless of either outcome in November? Probably not. We’re white, middle class, live in a diverse working-class neighborhood in a solidly liberal city. But that misses the point. I don’t like what this country has become and a single election isn’t going to change that.

When Tanya and I visited Thailand in July 2018, the sensation of being thousands of miles away from the United States was a literal physical relief. I no longer felt the weight or dread of daily life. Even a quick glance at the news from the United States evinced nothing in response. I couldn’t even tell you what happened here those two weeks. We visited Puerto Vallarta in January to look at several neighborhoods in anticipation of this move and the sensation was the same.

To be sure, the news will be less of a daily torture under a Biden administration, but the problem isn’t the news. If it were that easy, I’d just ignore it (to the extent that is possible, which is not very if you’re an engaged citizen). The problem isn’t the news, it’s the people.

Sorry if that’s a little depressing. The mission of this blog isn’t going to be to traffic in political hand-wringing or to score easy points on pathetic QAnon-ers, but mostly to describe what it’s like to separate yourself from your homeland. That said, a little political hand-wringing is going to be hard to avoid in the next eight weeks and while we’re still living in the United States. But no matter what happens in eight weeks, if we sell our house, we’re out of here.

Goodbye Facebook, Hello Mexico

This story really starts on November 8, 2016, but for immediate purposes it begins on my birthday, September 10.

My wife, Tanya, and I have told our immediate family and close friends of our decision to emigrate from the United States of America and begin a new life in Mexico because we no longer feel safe or welcome in Donald Trump’s America.

I’ll get into a lot more of those specific feelings over time, but for now it’s important to note this was a decision not made in haste. We had been discussing trying to retire early — perhaps as soon as my 50th birthday (I turned 47 on Sept. 10, 2020) — and moving to another country with a less-expensive standard of living, where we could live more simply and spend our remaining years doing what we want to do instead of being just two more consumer cogs in the American economy. (We’re in the process of organizing our belongings to get our house ready to sell and I can assure you that if America is a consumer economy, we’re good Americans — we have lots of stuff, most of which we don’t need and a lot of which we’ve never used.)

So the desire to live more simply somewhere else pre-dated Donald Trump’s election, but November 8, 2016 changed everything for a lot of people. That thought creeped into my head probably for the first time in that fitful night of sleep — “we might have to leave sooner”.

On the evening of November 9, 2016 we celebrated the birthday of Darrin, a lifelong friend now living in North Carolina. Darrin married an immigrant from Poland, Patrycia, and that evening many of the people in his house were also immigrants, friends of Darrin’s and Patrycia’s from work.

We drank shot after shot of Polish vodka, toasting Darrin’s birthday but also toasting America, a land of opportunity I no longer recognized. We didn’t discuss the election too much that evening so as not to harsh the buzz of Darrin’s celebration, but it hung over the evening like a pall, especially as we basked in the love those Polish emigres have for the United States and western North Carolina. I think about that night a lot, especially when Donald Trump attacks immigrants from Latin America.

So that’s where this story really begins — in a sleepless night in a casino hotel in North Carolina. We watched the election results with Darrin and Patrycia, unbelieving and unsteady. We eventually left them around 1 a.m. to drive back to the hotel, parked in the massive casino parking lot to see Trump supporters carrying Trump flags through the casino and parking lot yelling “Fuck you, Hillary!”

I didn’t think things could get any worse. Boy, was I wrong.

Final Post on Facebook, Sept. 10, 2020
First off, thanks to everyone for the birthday wishes.

Second, this is probably going to be my last post on Facebook for awhile, possibly forever. I won’t bother to get too deeply into the reasons for that, but they are numerous and mostly involve Facebook being complicit and willing in spreading fascist propaganda to a misinformed, deluded and frightened nation.

Speaking of which, third of all I’ve told this news to all of the people who needed to hear it in person, so it’s probably safe to share publicly that we’ve decided it’s time to leave the United States once and for all. 

We believe it is no longer safe to remain here for the long term so we are putting our house on the market and moving to Mexico as soon as possible, hoping to preserve as much of our assets as possible before the turmoil that is to come, regardless of the result of the election in November.

There’s a lot that has to be done logistically to make this happen, not the least of which is going through a lifetime of accumulated stuff that needs to be sold, discarded and otherwise dealt with.

We’ll have a lot of news to share about how that’s going so either Tanya will share it on Facebook or perhaps I’ll start a blog (how very 2005!) and discuss it there. 

I’m planning on keeping a diary with the thought that I might publish a book about our experience of being exiled from our home country because half of the damn country has literally lost its goddamned minds.

Hopefully, we’ll see you all in Mexico one day and hopefully the United States of America will somehow endure this crisis. If it does, we’ll be sitting it out on the sidelines, praying for the best and drinking margaritas.

May whatever deity you believe in bless and save the United States of America. Take care of yourselves, all.