Bob Driver is a former columnist and editorial page editor for the Clearwater Sun. Send Driver an email at email@example.com.
With Election Day less than two weeks from now, many Americans are planning to abandon the USA forever, in case their favored candidate loses the presidential race.
Today if you throw 20 rocks into a crowd, 10 of them will strike people who believe another four years of Barack Obama will bankrupt America, turn it into a socialist hell, and hand the country over to illegal immigrants. The other ten stones will land on voters who would rather die than live in an America ruled by a fascist dictator, Mitt Romney, who would send poor people (anyone worth less than $25 million) into poverty camps to starve, die of untreated health problems and be tortured for having received any kind of government aid.
Iím exaggerating, of course, so please donít email me that Iíve overstated things. Iím only making fun of anyone who believes the sky will fall if the wrong guy wins the White House on Nov. 6. It wonít. Life will go on, and will often be a pain in the neck, the way it always has been.
However, if you are serious about finding a new life in a foreign country, youíd better start planning right away, before the Kenyans or the Mormons take full control of our nation next Jan. 20, after which all will be lost.
You should first go on the Web and research the best countries to live in. Iíve tried that, but itís not much help. Youíll find several lists of the ten best countries, and they all vary. The lists are followed by the widely varying comments of people who have lived overseas; most of these folks sound like mental patients, as you will quickly learn when you read their opinions.
So where does that leave you? Confused, to say the least. The picture gets further muddled when you realize that a 30-year-old with lots of money may not want to emigrate to the same place as a 50-year-old with four teenagers and $300 to his name. Other factors to be considered include these: Do you smoke a lot of marijuana? (Hollandís the place for that.) What foreign languages do you speak? Do you require lots of fresh vegetables and salads? If so, stay away from Latvia and Lithuania, whose favorite food is pork sausage, or so Iíve read. Do you enjoy the change of seasons? If thatís the case, scratch Siberia off your list; Siberia is always cold.
If by chance you love to be surrounded by falling-down drunks, put Russia at the top of your rankings. Surveys suggest that Russians drink more vodka than water. Many infants are born with a 0.12 blood alcohol level. If street riots bother you youíd better avoid Spain, Greece and a few other members of the European Union that are now experiencing hard times.
If I had to choose another country to live in, Iíd lean toward New Zealand. I donít know why. I look at a world map and New Zealand seems to be tucked snugly down there, a thousand miles from anywhere, safe from all the troublesome goings-on the world is heir to. The people speak English, although the native Maoris tend to lapse into Maori after a few beers.
Are you a dog-lover? Then the United Kingdom may be a good home. The English canít stand each other, so they worship dogs. Thatís a quote I stole from somewhere. I have visited England a few times, and I like the way the Brits are reserved. They are the opposite of Facebook, where everyone wants to be your friend and tell you about their bowel movements. In England, firemen wonít rescue someone from a burning building until proper introductions are made.
Many years ago I lived for several months in Italy, and enjoyed it. I was drinking then, and exulted in sitting for hours in a trattoria scarfing pasta and swilling wine. The more I drank the better I spoke Italian, especially if I was with people from Naples or Sicily, where the natives forget to enunciate and merely gargle vowels at you like all those mobsters in ďThe Sopranos.Ē I donít think Iíd like Italy today. Iím not Catholic, but I always felt reassured by the eternal solidity of the Papacy. But today we read that the Popeís secretary has been telling tales out of school, and pretty soon we may learn that the Sistine Chapel ceiling was painted not by Michelangelo but by some fancy faker from Florence.
To anyone planning to seek a new country after Election Day, I wish you good luck and happiness. I intend to stay here in the USA and root for all members of the next Congress, plus whoever ends up in the White House. Those poor devils will need all the support we can give them.
Bob Driver is a former columnist and editorial page editor for the Clearwater Sun. Send him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.