Tuesday, September 02, 2008


Cowards?

I watched the speeches of the Democratic National Convention. All were quite moving in some way. Hillary and Barack both made gratuitous mention of GLBT issues. As Barack spoke, I knew that whether he is the perfect choice for President or not, he is the only choice for a chance for the US to take some power back from the Decider and his regime. McCain seems like a foot soldier for the same government that has been in power for the last 8 years.

I have read the criticism that US to Canada immigrants are cowards. In moments of self doubt, it occurs to me that maybe I was a coward. It didn’t feel very cowardly at the time. We left the best jobs we have ever had to move to a new country with no means of employment and the expectation that when we did find employment it would be at about half the amount we had been paid in the States. We left the friends and connections one makes after 50 plus years of life. That is perhaps the hardest thing. We left our comfort zone. We left everything we knew to be true for the complete unknown. Cowardice?

Every person who knew us and our plans as we were in the process of leaving the States to move to Canada remarked on what a brave a thing it was to do. I didn’t feel brave, I felt like it was the only reasonable thing we could do. We are in our fifties. We didn’t feel like fighting for the rest of our lives to be recognized as equal citizens. We wanted a quality of life that we could only have by leaving. We wanted to know for sure that if either of us was in the hospital we could make decisions together or for one another. We wanted to know for sure that if either of us died it would not leave the one remaining destitute. Some of our family members are not supportive, nice people. We didn’t want to leave each other an unwinnable legal war in the event of one of ours demise. It didn’t feel cowardly or brave. It felt like the only reasonable alternative we had.

As I watched the speeches and felt my twinges of cowardice, I knew that we did the only reasonable thing we could. We stepped out on the precipice and jumped into the void. Depending on your motivation I guess that could be interpreted as either bravery or cowardice.

To totally change the subject –

Last Christmas Diane and I gave each other a gift of a donation to the Pacific Northwest Raptors. I have an irrational fear of birds, even a sparrow (thanks Alfred Hitchcock?). We went to visit the centre in Duncan BC and were able to go out on a hawk walk with a Harris Hawk named Annikin. I’m including some pictures because for me this was the ultimate bravery.

4 comments:

Vancouver Isle Doug said...

Good post and very well put. Maybe I have not talked to enough family and friends, or prodded them into telling me what they thought of our move, but we have not heard the cowardice routine. Maybe we have our heads stuck in the East Sooke Rocks. I agree with you 100% - we did not want to spend what years we have left fighting for something that is slowly being voted out of our hands - state by state. We wanted quality of life and 100% acceptance. I think we came pretty damn close on the acceptance (you'll never find 100%) and I KNOW the quality of not only our lives but our two girls also has jumped to a level we never thought possible back in the US. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

West End Bound said...

Cowards?

No "f'in" way, Ladies!

We prefer to think of it as being realistic.

Being in our 50's as you, there is no way in hell that the US is going to come anywhere close to where Canada already is in respect to LGBT relationships in our lifetimes. End of story.

Plus - Is not the summer weather head and shoulders better on "The Island" than on "The Strip" ? ! ? !

MSEH said...

What a great post - both pieces. Re "cowardice," I think that's a theme I'll have to address in my writing. Thanks for the reminder. As for birds - I, too, have a fear of birds (and wonder how much of that to attribute to Mr. Hitchcock!) , but last year I stopped traffic - literally - to rescue a hawk. 7YO and P *love* raptors. Great photos!

Kim_in_TO said...

I enjoy visiting your blog periodically. Somehow I missed this post. Coincidentally, I posted about this issue (from a Canadian's perspective) at almost the same time: http://mcij.blogspot.com/2008/08/my-canada-includes-americans.html

Cheers!