Reg Henry: Reasons to flee U.S. don't outnumber sheep in New Zealand
March 22, 2017 12:00 AM
Evan Vucci/Associated Press
President Donald Trump moves a Marine out of the path of a vehicle carrying Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi at the White House in Washington on Monday.
By Reg Henry / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Before the election of President Donald Grump, some Americans pledged to leave the county if, by some crazy chance, he were to win the White House.
This departure of the disappointed always struck me as a bad idea. My view is that when the going gets tough, the tough should not get going to other countries. They should stay here and get pouting prior to get organizing.
But, apparently, some disillusioned Americans have decided to flee. The Associated Press recently reported that U.S. applications for New Zealand citizenship rose by 70 percent in the month after the election compared with last year, although the total increase was just 70 people. This is a small flock by New Zealand standards, where the sheep far outnumber the humans.
Before this trend grows any further and spreads to nearby Australia, which is also sometimes mentioned as a possible refuge for liberals and other malcontents, it is necessary to point out the drawbacks of such a drastic move.
As it happens, I am just the man for the job because I am from Australia originally and visited New Zealand and Australia last month, There I fielded various questions about our new president from flabbergasted locals, who had made the mistake of thinking their old ally was sensible. Basically, people said to me: What the heck is going on with Americans? Good question. Some of us here have been asking the same thing.
But that worry is no reason to flee the country. Deal with it, folks. Besides, it is the height of American arrogance to assume that people in Australia or New Zealand can’t produce their own egotistical bullies and jerks to make life irritating. Give the Aussies and Kiwis some credit, mate!
My daughter, Allison, lives in Sydney, re-creating my life in reverse, so I am not entirely against people leaving their native heath to seek a life elsewhere. I just don’t think they should do it because they despair of America, which divine providence has gifted with the ability to muddle through no matter how ridiculous the situation.
Allison never despaired. She went to high school in Australia for one semester and made lots of friends, and later in life she chose a husband who likes surfing — perfectly reasonable reasons to leave. The rest of you would encounter extreme cultural differences.
For example, you might move to Australia and find yourself having babies, which is what Allison eventually did. Every young woman in Australia seems to be pregnant. It is hard to say whether the romantic moon upon the Pacific or something in the drinking water is responsible.
What is shocking is that socialized medicine operates in Australia and Allison had her babies virtually for free, received excellent care and was given a generous stipend for her civic-minded fertility. Her children, my granddaughters, Tillie and Lucy, now 5 and 3, have repaid the government largesse by developing Aussie accents that even I find incomprehensible.
Tillie started public school when we visited, with more than 140 kids in the various kindergarten classes thanks to whatever is in the water. Every student wears a uniform and they parade military-style before classes begin. She loves it, but some Americans might consider it too orderly.
Nobody much worries about mass school shootings in Australia because a conservative prime minister led the effort to ban most guns 20 years ago. Remarkably, Australians are no less free now but attend fewer funerals. None of this is what you are used to.
After Australia, we traveled to the South Island of New Zealand. It is incredibly beautiful. They have fjords and waterfalls in abundance. O beautiful for spacious skies? They have them. Amber waves of grain? They have them, too, but only until the sheep eat them. What they really have is ample waves of lambs.
This is not somewhere you want to immigrate to. A lot of social pressure exists to eat the lambs before they overrun the county — and they are so darned cute. Moreover, TV seems to consist of mostly rugby games and commentary.
At the risk of offending very large people with cauliflower ears — and that’s just the women — rugby strategy is simpler than American football and doesn’t really require the hours of discussion devoted to it on New Zealand TV.
No, you need to stay here and chew the old lamb chop of American problems. Besides, if you left, it would be a source of joy to people who deserve to remain miserable. Can’t have that.
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