On Nov. 9, Will You Fight, or Flee?

While it may be too risky to ask a stranger which candidate he or she supports for president, there is another way to find out. Try asking instead, "What will you do if your candidate loses?"

You can bet that anyone who makes a motion like they are cocking a gun, or mutters "Revolution," is in the Trump camp. Anyone who hums "O Canada! O Canada!" - however badly - is voting for Hillary.

In fact, the vast majority of Trump supporters won't take up arms against the government if Hillary wins, just as the vast majority of Hillary supporters won’t be leaving for Canada or - as Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg injudiciously suggested - New Zealand. Generally, it's a lot of nervous bluster.

But at a time when our nation appears as deeply divided as it has ever been, how we talk about Nov. 9 may be as revealing as how we plan to vote on Nov. 8. Will your first instinct be to buy another weapon, or start scouring the Internet for "Foreign Countries Most Welcoming to Americans"?

"Hopefully we won't have to leave the country this year!" was how one couple close to me ended their birthday greeting last month. It's a common sentiment in my circle of friends, and among relatives I can talk politics with.

When a reporter for MSNBC recently asked a Scranton, PA, woman how she felt about the proliferation of Trump signs in her neighborhood, she said, "I think I'll move." She may have been thinking about Philadelphia, not Montreal. But either way, her first instinct was to get out of Dodge.

In contrast, we all saw the footage of an Iowa woman who told Trump's VP pick Mike Pence that if Hillary wins, she's ready to start a revolution. And we all assumed - didn't we? - that she has real guns in her arsenal.

But beyond the obvious stereotypes (conservatives stockpile guns; liberals stockpile air miles), what does it all mean on a deeper level?

Perhaps it simply means that Hillary supporters in general are more open to moving, whether around the globe or within this country, while Trump supporters are inclined to dig in. Roots vs. wings: we need them both. But this year they are locked in a titanic, dangerous struggle.

Hillary is welcoming to immigrants, so it would seem to follow that her supporters might be more open to emigrating themselves. In her ideological orbit, sometimes the bravest thing you can do is start over somewhere else.

Trump is decidedly cold to immigrants, having stated, for example, that brutalized Syrians should just stay put and fight. It's not surprising, then, that his supporters would talk only of fighting, not fleeing, a Hillary administration.

No one on either side, at least for the time being, is talking about adapting. And if, like me, you're in the "Where shall we go if HE wins?" camp, the easiest, most obvious route is north to our cordial, English speaking neighbor.

Back in April, when it seemed utterly implausible that Donald Trump could actually be elected president of the United States, humorist Calvin Trillin playfully suggested that the Canadians might not actually want us:

Of course I didn’t believe him, and neither did you. Canada has a long history of welcoming immigrants from far and near. On Oct. 19, however, a warning appeared in a New York Times op-ed by Martin Patriquin.

Patriquin reported that Kellie Leitch, a member of the Canadian parliament and a candidate to lead Canada's Conservative Party, has proposed screening immigrants for "anti-Canadian values."

Oh, my! Would I qualify?

To my relief, Leitch only wants to bar those opposed to hard work, generosity, and tolerance. And while some have likened Leitch's litmus test to Trump's own plans to curb immigration, the generosity and tolerance requirements indicate that Trump himself wouldn’t be welcome in Canada.

While a Trump presidency is horrifying enough to make me seriously wonder how I could live out the next four years here without going mad, at least I would have a lot of kindred spirits in my state of Connecticut.

Besides, I too love my country and have a fighting spirit - just no guns. Speaking of a fight, my husband has an interesting proposal. If Trump wins, he says, rather than move out of the country, why don't we move to Florida?

That way, if we can make it to 2020, we'll live in a state that has some clout.

Bethe Dufresne, a frequent contributor, is a freelance writer living in Old Mystic, Connecticut.

Also by this author
The Cisco Kid

Please email comments to [email protected] and join the conversation on our Facebook page.

Must Reads