On the age old question — Should I stay or should I go?

It’s one of life’s oldest, ahem, questions — should I stay or should I go now? If you stay, there will be trouble. But, if you go it will be double. For some this question isn’t just a catchy song, but a serious question. Before every election, there’s always a round of “I’m leaving the country if X wins!” This year even overloaded the Canadian Immigration site and drove piles of traffic to Cape Breton if Trump Wins. But it’s a serious question, one that applies at many levels.

For those Americans who could never have imagined themselves living in a Trump America, the question is real — do we leave and find a better life somewhere else, somewhere where the politics align more closely to our values? Or, is that giving up, backing down — should you stay and fight for a better country? After all, if everyone of one opinion or another leaves, then there will be no one left to fight for what you claim so staunchly to believe in that you’re willing to relocate to a whole new life. It’s a paradox of sorts and one without an easy answer.

It can be a hyper-local question, too, like someone trying to leave an abusive spouse, or a dead-end job. Both choices have clear downsides. Personally I’m waging this battle with regards to my place of residence, too. Our province has a high tax rate and our population is aging —examined through a selfish lens, we’re basically paying to subsidize old people. Ultimately everyone must make a personal choice, but the trend seems to be towards young people leaving the province to live and work elsewhere. Should we stay and keep supporting the communities where we grow up? Or should we cut our loses and move with the herd?

Ultimately, for now, we should choose to stay — there are upsides too, like a cheap housing market compared to Toronto and Montreal, not to mention donairs and garlic fingers. But more importantly than that a place is shaped by the people who remain, and we deserve to have a stake someday — and it won’t just be handed over to us unless we fight for it. If we think our ideas are strong we should put them into play where we live. If we think our dreams are worth pursuing, we should follow them regardless of our geography.

So what if every novelist, screenwriter, actor, director, rock star lives in New York or London or Toyko or LA? We live in a world that’s more interconnected than ever before. Nothing is stopping us from achieving our vision, even our geography — there’s no shame in being the first one from your tiny town or obscure city. You could be the hometown hero. People used to tell me “think global, act local” and I always took it the wrong way around — as if the grand ideas needed to solve the worlds problems would be of any use to our comparatively tiny problems. Now I see that it’s just the opposite — from here, we can reach anywhere; we start acting here and we end up thinking and helping everyone.

So think about staying — even if it means trouble. It might be worth fighting for in the end.

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