By GREG WALCHER
Election aftermaths are euphoric for some, depressing for others, and a relief that it’s over for many. Some friends are ecstatic that they finally got rid of President Trump. Others are upset about that, some insisting that it isn’t over, pending the fraud investigations. Still others are so angry at the outcome that they are considering moving away — leaving the U.S.A. in search of some freer place, saying they do not wish to live under the socialist rule they are sure is coming.
It reminds me of something that happens before every election. Someone always threatens to leave if so-and-so is elected. After Trump’s 2016 election, author Audrey Edwards was quoted saying, “I did not want to be in America ruled by Donald Trump.” She moved to Paris for a short time, but then returned home. Before that election, comedian Jon Stewart and actor Samuel L. Jackson said they would move to Canada if Trump was elected. So did Mylie Cyrus, Snoop Dog, George Lopez, Lena Dunham, and Barbra Streisand. They weren’t the first. Robert Altman threatened to move if Bush was elected in 2000. Stephen Baldwin said he’d move away if Obama was elected in 2008. Tina Fey and Susan Sarandon were going to leave if Romney won in 2012. Rush Limbaugh said he’d move to Costa Rica if Obamacare passed. This year, rockers Bruce Springsteen and Tommy Lee both said they were leaving if Trump was re-elected. Whew — we dodged a bullet there.
They all ignored a key point. Americans are citizens, not subjects. America was never “ruled” by Donald Trump, Barack Obama, or anyone else. As Alexander Hamilton explained, “Here, sir, the people govern.”
Anyway, where would the malcontents go? To the frustration of socialized medicine in Canada or Europe? Year-round winter in Sweden? New Zealand, where people earn 35 percent less, and have no Home Depot? Hong Kong or Havana, where political opponents disappear in the night? Mexico, with third-world criminal cartels and unsafe drinking water? These were all mentioned by celebrities making the threat, but none of them moved.
In a classic Marty Robbins tune, he sings, “Just like all the other times you leave, leaving me alone here to grieve…” It’s about a lover’s quarrel, not politics. But it seems apt, because Americans are having a bitter lover’s quarrel. It has become angry, as divisive as anyone can remember, though not the worst in history. In the song, it is unclear whether the angry spouse threatens to leave but never does, or leaves but keeps coming back. Either way, it is a relationship that will continue. So will the American republic.
I have been involved in 11 major campaigns, mostly on the winning side, except the one when I was the candidate. That night in 2004, nothing made sense anymore. But something truly bizarre happened the next morning, and it happened again the morning after the 2020 election.
The sun came up, just like every other day. Everything in God’s creation kept moving along like before, and life went on. There are plenty of reasons to be unhappy now, even gravely worried about the future of the country. But the opposition cannot leave. America cannot run with one party — it needs the loyal opposition to function.
With respect to vital western Colorado issues of public lands, energy, and the environment, we know exactly what to expect from a Biden administration. The water grab known as WOTUS will be back, along with the “clean power plan” to destroy the coal industry. The U.S. will rejoin the Paris climate treaty, again without Senate ratification. Subsidies for wind and solar power will increase, along with necessary taxes, and the long-overdue reforms in the Endangered Species Act will be cancelled. Utah’s national monuments will be re-expanded, and more created. BLM’s headquarters will be returned to Washington. That is the bad news. The good news is that we know it’s coming, and what we must do. We’re used to it, in fact.
Voters do not support such over-reaching initiatives, though they often vote for candidates who do. That’s why American elections swing like a pendulum. So, advice for the happy Biden supporters (who will ignore it): be careful about overstepping. That is what got Trump elected. For those who are unhappy, soldier on. America’s future depends on it.
Those who still feel the need to move away, we’ll miss you. As the song said, “Life will be so empty from now on — just like all the other times you’ve gone.”
Greg Walcher is president of the Natural Resources Group and author of “Smoking Them Out: The Theft of the Environment and How to Take it Back.” He is a Western Slope native.