The End of America…and What You Should Do About It
I was born on Jan. 27, 1966. In a few weeks, I’ll be 55. I’ve seen firsthand a lot of the events that defined the U.S. over those intervening years. But Jan. 6, 2021…that’s the day America as I know it ended.
Let’s call it Insurrection Day.
Understand that what I am about to write is not me taking political sides. It’s just a sober, if angry, analysis of one of the darkest days for democracy in my lifetime. It’s the story of what you should probably be doing now…
I sat in front my TV here in Prague on Wednesday night, flipping back and forth between news channels, watching the mindless fury in D.C. As armed rioters broke Capitol windows, threw American flags to the ground, invaded Congressional chambers, and in at least one instance planted an improvised explosive device, I was already writing this column in my head: Not to rail against the futility of a particular corner of American society, but to address those who were watching Insurrection Day unfold and thinking to themselves, “It’s time to leave.”
Yes…it probably is.
It’s time to initiate or begin formulating a Plan B that includes finding a place to live overseas.
I woke up Thursday to emails from readers asking me about the process of living and working in Europe. One told me, “I love my country but it’s getting really nuts now…I’m sad beyond words.” Over at International Living, my colleagues tell me that searches for “how to get a residency visa” to live in Portugal, Mexico, France, Colombia, and Malaysia spiked by huge amounts. Searches for “how to move out of the U.S.” more than quadrupled.
I suspect those who are searching these terms increasingly realize, as I do, that the invasion of the U.S. Capitol Building was not the end of the affair. It was the beginning of something more troubling: The end of America.
That might sound like an overly dramatic assertion, but Insurrection Day exists on a much larger tableau. It erased all doubt that a certain, anti-progressive way of thinking about the U.S. and her place in the world is fundamental group-think among a large body of Americans. They will never accept Joe Biden as president. They will never see a Democrat’s point of view, and they will tilt increasingly hard and, likely, violently against the upcoming moves of a Democratic president and a Democrat-controlled Congress.
By the same measure, anti-conservatives at this point will absolutely never again respect the base of voters who supported the move against the U.S. government and an outgoing president who fueled the violence.
And therein lies the real crux of the problem for those who have emailed me: They don’t see how the U.S. can ever return to the stable, moderate nation it was for more than 200 years when one side sees itself as patriots and its opponents as enemies of the state…while the other side sees itself as progressives trying to lift up all Americans, and its opponents as seditious traitors. They each harbor fundamentally different views of society, government, religion, education, and science.
Those positions are not only increasingly polarized, they’re diametrically opposed. How does a nation find its way forward—a middle path—when neither faction shares a core set of common values and when they each want the country to go in totally opposite directions?
At some point, both sides are going to ask, “Why should I remain tethered to those losers when I don’t respect what they want my country to be?” A shared love of football and turkey at Thanksgiving isn’t enough to keep the binds from fraying. People tell me there are too many common institutions and too much shared infrastructure to make a split feasible. To which I always say: Tell that to every other nation that split apart in the last 30 years.
All those searches at International Living tell me that vastly more Americans are now coming around to the view that the next many years are going to see the U.S. (and the U.S. dollar, by the way) degrade markedly.
They want out, and they are now earnestly beginning their pursuit of a new country to call home.
I can’t tell you where to go since that’s obviously a highly personal decision. But I can tell you where I’d be looking, based on lifestyle and years necessary to obtain permanent residency and a passport: Portugal, France, Czech Republic, Poland, and Malta within Europe. In Latin America, I’d focus on Mexico, Panama, Colombia, Argentina, and especially Uruguay (where I expect to begin the residency visa process later this spring). In Asia-Pacific, look at Thailand, New Zealand, Vietnam, and (for the adventurous) Cambodia. Canada’s also a potentially good option.
Insurrection Day was the warning shot that all is much worse beneath the surface of the U.S. than the last four years hinted at. The rot goes far deeper than one presidential administration. And it’s a rot that’s pervasive—a cancer that has weakened the core of the system.
This is not going to end well.
By Jeff D. Opdyke