Stop Telling People to Move and Start Supporting Them Where They Live

[Content Note: War on agency.]

On Monday, I recommended Leslie Jones' SNL segment about the abortion bans being passed in Republican-controlled state legislatures, noting: "I love [her message to the women in those states that they aren't alone] eleventy-seven times as much as telling people to 'move.' This is the message we need: WE HAVE YOUR BACK. Because reproductive choice is FREEDOM."

I appreciated that because, in the wake of this latest round of increasingly extreme abortion bans, I'm seeing "just move" all over the place, all over again.

For many years, I have been writing about my contempt for people living in places with solidly liberal governance responding to "red state" retrofuck legislation by admonishing the people who live there to "just move," without a shred of concern that not everyone has the privilege of being able to move, which is to say nothing of the fact that not everyone having the desire to move.

A few years ago, I moved to another state because of my spouse's work, and it was an absolutely incredible undertaking. It was intensely stressful, time-consuming, and costly — even with significant financial assistance from his employer.

And we didn't have children to take into consideration: Their friendships, their schools, their doctors, their involvement in extracurricular activities, proximity to grandparents or other extended family, established childcare, etc., all of which becomes exponentially important when a child has special needs.

Telling people to "just move" is ignorant of, or indifferent to, this reality. It's straight-up hostile garbage.

It's incredibly demoralizing for progressive activists who live in states with conservative governments (which, as a reminder, often are governing in direct contravention of the will of the people) to be told constantly that they should leave their homes, or that their home states are undilutedly terrible places.

And it's not even in the self-interest of the people saying it.

Because here's the thing: People who live in these states and/or pay attention to what's happening on the state level understand that Republican-controlled legislatures are the training ground for what Trump/Pence/whoever will do next on the national level.

This is why I have, over the years, routinely referred to my home state of Indiana as the "Conservative Legislation Lab." The populations of "red states" are used by Republican majorities (who often achieved said majority through subverting elections in the same way we now see on the federal level) as guinea pigs for their ever more radical plans.

They harm people on the state level as a dry-run in preparation for the unleashing of national malice.

What the fuck are the "move outta that backwards shithole state!" folks going to say when the entire country is suffering the same oppressions?

Are they going to pick up their entire lives and move out of the United States?

Or are they not likely to do that because their lives are in the United States? Because they have a job here, a home, friends, family? Because it would be difficult for them to just up and move to a different country? Because the mere suggestion makes them think fuck you, the United States is my home and I'm not going to abandon it just because a bunch of asshole Republicans are trying to ruin it, and maybe even increases their resolve to stay and fight? Because, even if they would love more than anything to move the fuck outta here to someplace better suited to their politics, they simply can't, for whatever combination of reasons?

Regardless of whether moving is an option, it's not an answer.

The only answer is supporting people where they live; supporting them in their fight against the intersecting oppressions to which they are being subjugated by the thieving, cruel, fascistic pigshits of the Republican Party; having their backs; listening to them; heeding their warnings about what the Republicans have in store for us all, given the chance.

They're coming for the whole country. If you think you're safe, think again.

And if you're telling people to "move" in response to vile, audacious attacks on their rights and very autonomy, the person who has to move is you. From your stubborn, intractable indifference. Urgently.

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