Well, now it is official: In two months time, I will be leaving the United States to go to school and live in Canada. I will be a student in the Asian & Pacific Studies program at the University of Victoria. I don’t intend on ever returning to America, except to work for a year or more to work within the confines of the Student Loan Forgiveness Program.
I didn’t anticipate that this would be happening so soon. I had originally planned to stay here until spring of 2012. But the political and financial circumstances here have forced me out of my country, essentially.
But I am glad. In the immortal words of Leonard Cohen, “I love the country, but I can’t stand the scene.” I have lived here all of my life, 21 years, a meagre amount in the grand scheme of things, but a lot has happened during that time. I feel that things have become truly unstable here for me in America, as a disabled person, as a woman, as a non-Christian, and as a queer person of Jewish ancestry.
I never before would have advocated flying away with my tail between my legs. I am by nature a fighter, and I would, if I could, be willing to buckle down and show the world that I still believe in fighting for what’s right in my home country. But I also have to think about my own education and my own safety. I also have to consider in the long run how much good I can do in the world. I feel that I will have the greater power to fulfil my dreams and aspirations in Canada. I will have a social safety net to depend on, a culture which is not rapidly flushing in a downward spiral of willful ignorance and cruel disregard for the vulnerable, and my beautiful girlfriend to aid me all the while. It is in this environment that I can flourish and engage in my academic future and legal future.
My talents and ambitions were not considered worth funding in America. Montanan students were collectively thrown under the bus with the slashing to upper education funding. We were considered a liability by the Montana legislature, because we were educated, passionate, and willing to challenge the dominant paradigm. So, they can pat themselves on the back for forcing me to leave, but the joke is on them. My exile will strengthen my resolve to make this world a better place for all people. From Canada, I will become unstoppable in my resolve to bring about justice, freedom, equality, and safety for all, and these lessons won’t stop at the border.
I believe in Canada. It’s not a perfect country either, far from it. But I know it will give me a chance to find my way as an advocate of all I believe in, as a student, and as an aspiring lawyer.