Host Garrison Keillor answers your questions about life, love, writing, authors, and of course, A Prairie Home Companion.
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October 10, 2006 |
Dear Mr. Keillor,
I was wondering if you had any insights about rules of thumb people could use when they consider emigrating. I realize that our current situation here in the U.S. may not be as bad as, say, Germany in 1937, but I can't stop thinking about the frog-and-boiling-water analogy. When is "bad" really bad enough? After 3 suspicious presidential elections (instead of 2)? After one's friends or family start disappearing without a trace? More invasions we can't finish? Sometimes I think the main reasons I stay is because Thomas Jefferson believed this American experiment thing to be a good idea, and because it's easier for me to tell jokes in (American) English. The ketchup's not working; not sure how much to up the dose to get more courage, or fewer doubts.
I'm all in favor of foreign experiences, Jeanine, but do it for fun and not out of despair. I have friends who moved to Vancouver for the reasons you mention, and I suppose that's not so hard, but don't rush anything. The antidote to despair is to take a vacation from TV and radio and newspapers and rediscover your country and your people at the grass roots. You will find this bracing and inspiring. You're wearing yourself out and you need a break, and I recommend that you start reading diaries and journals and memoirs and letters of ordinary American people. The fear of relatives disappearing is paranoid. The elections of 2000 and 2004, whatever their complications, are over and done. Give yourself a vacation, kid. October is a great month in Austin for sitting outdoors and watching the sun go down. Do that and put thoughts of emigration out of your head. It's a hard road and you should only do it out as an adventure, not out of depression.