To the many of my fellow USAmerican Boomers who talk about retiring to other countries to escape from whatever seems too horribly bad to endure (book-banning governors, backward environmental policies, atrocious sickcare system, or what have you):
Please stick around. We need to stick around and help change things. We can’t escape creeping fascism and other badness by fleeing to other countries. That might have worked for (some) people back around WWI and WWII but it won’t work anymore.
We Boomers, and I’m particularly talking to fellow white Boomers here, are THE MOST RESOURCED demographic in the entire history of the planet. If we can’t use our voices and our spending power to set things right, who can and who will?
I would also add that we owe it to our kids, grandkids, future generations. We have had it easy. No matter how hard some of us might think we’ve had it, we’ve had it easier than anyone else in history. We have an obligation now.
Along the same lines, we owe it to the rest of the world. For example, our neighbor, Mexico. It’s weird that lots of comfortably-off gringos can talk about retiring to Mexico at the same time as thousands of actual Mexicans are living in such dire straits that they risk their lives to try to come here! Other countries too, same. Many, or even most, of the dire conditions experienced by everyday people in Mexico and many other countries can be traced back to the policies and culture of the USA, so there’s more than a bit of sick irony here.
I have heard of cases of USA American people, even people who consider themselves permies, being able to buy land because some poor farmer sold their land, their HOME, to try to buy themselves passage to the USA. What are we thinking??? How do we not notice this is problematic??
For those of us who are out of practice at using our voices if it means risking loss of social capital or power-adjacency, I suggest a gradient approach. Start by standing up to HOAs and lawn-fanatic neighbors. Then ramp right up to challenging institutionalized racism and other big evils.
I know it’s tempting to think about leaving. (For me, the evil that sets me off is leafblowers and other violent landscaping machinery & practices. I’m here for all the rest of that stuff, but DAMN, those things especially when wielded with our tax dollars sometimes make me truly yearn for saner, scruffier shores. I mainly daydream about fictional English villages where power-washers haven’t reached yet.)
But, please everyone stick around! We have beaucoup work to do.
One thing that will help is to build community. This aspect of countering evil is often overlooked. In capitalist/colonizer culture we’re not very good at building community, staying in community. So we have to consciously cultivate community skills. As my friend and colleague Laura Oldanie (Rich & Resilient Living) says in her most recent e-newsletter:
“The more we the people can come together to meet our needs outside our destructive economy, the more confident and ready we’ll be to to stand up together against the climate, social, environmental, and political injustices we are seeing more and more of.”
Two community activities Laura cites as examples are time-banks, and Offers And Needs Markets (OANMS): “Participation in my local time bank has brought me new connections and friendships as well as much more joy in my life to say nothing of the money it’s saved me. I suspect OANMs provide similar outcomes for people and communities.”
By the way, Laura is offering an interactive online workshop in March titled “Free Your Mind from Capitalism.” Go here to get more details and sign up. Sounds like it’ll be a goodie!
• “How to fight with dictators in a villager style.” (From Jon Jander “Life is Easy” series on YouTube.) (This recco is from Laura’s latest newsletter too.)