It’s no shock that Donald Trump's surprising victory in the 2016 Presidential Election prompted an uptick in Americans wanting to leave the country.
I recall my friend telling me, as we sat in Dave’s Boathouse watching the election unfold with a hundred other Rollins students, “Apparently the Canadian immigration website just crashed.” I’m not going to lie, months ago when the election was heating up and I heard that one of the top Google searches in America was “how to move to Canada,” I checked it out for myself. As great as Canada seems, I lost interest after reading that becoming a citizen could take a decade or more, minimum. As the election progressed, I didn’t think much about this public desire to leave, knowing that most people would not put in that effort. “Time to move to Canada,” has already been spouted for years by liberals and conservatives alike whenever something drastic changes in America.
It was the day after the election, though, that I started to dwell on this public desire to leave. Upon waking up, I logged into Facebook and saw that the hashtag “Calexit” was trending on social media. A quick investigation and I found that once again, California was threatening, or at least seriously contemplating, secession from the US to become its own country, in response to Trump’s win. For those unfamiliar, this is not the first time California has called for this action; one such time was back in 2014, when an immigration reform that would have given illegal immigrants a path to citizenship failed. YesCalifornia, a website promoting California’s secession from the Union in favor of the influence it would have as an independent country, has seen an uptick in interest following the election.
Oregon, too, is now pushing for secession. Both states strongly voted blue in the 2016 election. In response to Trump's victory, two ballot proposals have been submitted for the “Oregon Secession Act,” which, like that of California, will be voted on in 2018. State secession, Voa News states, would be an uphill battle — how to do so is not directly mentioned in the Constitution, and the 1869 case, Texas v. White, ruled that a state cannot secede without approval from all the other states.
While I understand the sentiment behind not wanting to be a part of something you strongly oppose, I feel that these calls for secession and the desire to move to another country are not the way to proceed or think about the situation. America is broken — we’ve always been a nation divided as much as a nation united, and it's become blatantly clear following the election. But that’s because America has such a diverse population, and everyone brings their own varying opinions to the table on what’s best for the country. America has some major problems, but it’s done a lot of good too, and rough patches do not last forever.
To jump ship and leave because you don’t like how things are going is childish — you don’t abandon your family because you disagree with something they did; you help them see things from your side, strive to understand theirs, and use that information to come to a compromise.
Our country is very young compared to most of the Western world — it’s still in that awkward stage where it only vaguely knows what it stands for but not how to achieve it. If you love America and believe it was in the wrong for electing Trump, why are you leaving to let it rot in its mistake? America is powerful; if all of you are not around to stand up for LGBTQ+ individuals, environment protection, and other frequently challenged but urgent topics, everyone is going to suffer, not just American citizens. It’s each individual’s responsibility to stand up for what he or she thinks is right, and help to make that happen. That’s the only way to influence the world.
Don’t give up on America. We need your voice now more than ever.