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01/28/2007 Archived Entry: "On not leaving the country"

SEVERAL TIMES A WEEK, SOME PIECE OF SCARY news makes me wonder if I should flee police-state America while it's still possible to get out without government permission. Then I'm reminded of how complex a decision that really is.

Last night I attended a fundraiser for a local woman who lost her home and her beloved dog in a fire. The hall was packed to the walls with people who'd paid $10 apiece to get a plate of spaghetti. The walls themselves were lined with auction donations from local businesses and individuals. As is usual around here, the cream of the community turned out. Old friends bid fiercely against each other, driving up the prices on live-auction items. My vet (with whom I attended the event) had donated a gift certificate for services. I went over to place my silent-auction bid on it -- vet services being something always needed in the Wolfe-dog household. But I discovered that the very first bid was for $50 -- the full price of the certificate. People are like that around here.

In one corner, there was a special table with a donation jar and four animal-related gift packages. Despite her own dire needs, the woman for whom the benefit was being held insisted that all proceeds from that table go not to her but to our animal-rescue group, in memory of her lost dog. People are like that around here, too. Even ones who are suffering and struggling still think about helping others.

So many things can bind us to a place. Family. Work. Inertia. Fear. History. Money is a big factor, considering leaving the country. But the ties can be so intricate, so multi-layered, so difficult to convey to anyone who isn't walking that mile in one's own moccasins. Being part of a community like this one -- where people help each other so freely and with such enthusiasm -- is a little miracle (especially for people like me who grew up rootless and unattached to the places we lived and the people who lived there). So I speculate often about getting out of this going-to-hell country. Then I think I'd have to be mad to leave a place like this, a place that embodies the essence of real, old-fashioned community, a place that is what America was at its best and ought to be again.

This is the America worth loyalty. So different from the pseudo-American miasma oozing out of Washington, DC. This is worth taking a stand for. This is worth defending against a million Busheviks, Clintonistas, and their spawn -- defending not so much by fighting as simply by living by these values. Living here amid such decency, it's hard even to believe that the evil emanating from DC is a real threat.

And I get an inkling of the complex reasons so many Jews stayed in Nazi Germany, right up to the very bitter end.

Posted by Claire @ 10:58 AM CST

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