When Are Our Actions Morally Praiseworthy?
Common Sense Ethics

The Role of Responsible Citizenship During the Trump Administration

What Should We Make of Americans Looking to Emigrate from the U.S.?

People who are seriously considering leaving the U.S. in the wake of the election seem to me to be acting like petulant children who didn’t get their way and now act out to express their displeasure with the election results. Aren’t these the same people who reviled when Donald Trump said he might not accept the results? How should we react to it? Should we ignore their outburst or send them to their rooms and turn off all electronic devices?

In the aftermath of Donald Trump’s victory, thousands of Americans have contacted immigration agencies in Canada and New Zealand. Distraught over the election results, these folks are considering jumping ship rather than staying and working within the system in the U.S. to express their discontent and become involved in the process of making things better. I say if you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.

You may recall that the prospect of a Trump presidency led to some prominent Americans – including Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg – to say she would move to New Zealand. Billy Crystal had the same idea. “I might consider finding a nice little ranch in New Zealand,” he told Australian media earlier this year. Good riddance, I say. Perhaps they can star in a new version of ‘The Odd Couple’ after they relocate.

The Immigration New Zealand website usually gets 2,300 visits from U.S. Internet addresses each day. In the 24 hours after Trump’s victory, it had received 56,300 visits from the U.S. Why New Zealand you may ask. New Zealand is a seemingly idyllic island in the southwestern Pacific Ocean and remote enough from the U.S. -- 9,104 miles from New York City – to keep the Trump supporters out. 

Many Americans are seriously considering emigrating to our northern neighbors. Canada’s main immigration website remained down the day after the election. A spokeswoman for Canada’s immigration department said the website crashed because of a significant increase in the volume of traffic.

It occurs to me that no one seems to be considering emigrating south of the border to Mexico. Why not, you may ask. It seems to me ironic that many who chastised Trump for his comments about Mexicans crossing the border are seemingly indifferent about going to that country. Do they perceive Mexico has some of the problems that Trump pointed out and would choose not to live there?

There is much to be done now that the election is over. Responsible citizenship means becoming involved in civic programs and making the U.S. a better place to live. We have a civic duty to improve our country for the next generation. 

One thing is for sure. Trump’s going to have to moderate his positions to effectively govern. Even though the Republicans are in control of both houses of Congress, there are many who will not go along with building a wall no less getting Mexico to pay for it. He can’t just wave a magic wand and kill trade deals. He may want to discourage American companies from going overseas by taxing their imports, but that requires Congressional approval.

We need to come together as a nation. I hope the next four years are not like most of the eight years of the Obama administration where Republicans openly tried to make life difficult for Obama and fought him tooth and nail on programs the GOP did not like, regardless of whether they were in the public interest and were needed in order to stop kicking the can down the road on our perpetual problems.

We have a constitutional government with checks and balances that have served us well for 240 years. The key is for the obstructionists in Congress to put aside their petty differences and act in the national interest, not their own self-interest.

It has been said that the times make the president; the president does not make the times. The reason Trump was elected is Americans are sick and tired of a dysfunctional government. This is a universal message that all Americans have heard. It's up to us to help steer the ship of government in the right course. That can’t be done from 9,000 miles away. 

Blog posted by Steven Mintz, aka Ethics Sage, on November 15, 2016. Dr. Mintz is Professor Emeritus from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. He also blogs at: www.workplaceethicsadvice.com.