In late 1985, as what seems now to have been a very young man, I had a corner office in the Time & Life Building at Rockefeller Center, overlooking Radio City Music Hall on my left, and 50th St and the NBC Building on my right. I had an amazing budget, a staff of about a dozen, including half a dozen programmers, an intern who was acting as a personal assistant (now the CEO of a very successful company), and a business manager. I was responsible for the editorial software of Time Inc magazines.
I was secretly suffering from Impostor Syndrome (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impostor_syndrome
). I was seeing a Jungian psychologist for it, who took it quite seriously. I think of it now as sort of the opposite of whatever is troubling us (certainly not him) about our esteemed President-elect. I fled from my final appointment with the Jungian, something I still regret. I still suffer from the Syndrome.
That, along with an extreme aversion to the policies of President Reagan, and, later, his successor, Bush 41, led my wife at the time (we had been married in '79) and I to turn our backs on the USA. I needed to escape. We sold our home (for a handsome profit), gave away most of our belongings, and sort of jumped without a parachute to a suburb of Frankfurt/Main, (West) Germany.
Though my German sucked (and still does), I soon (quite easily) found work with a company that was the main vendor of editorial systems to Time, and worked for two happy years as an Applications and Pre-Sales Specialist, calling on companies all over German-speaking Europe. Loved the commuting-by-train.
Eventually I was head-hunted to work as a Systems Analyst at The Independent
in London, which relocated us there. I worked with them for about two years, and then moved back to the vendor side for Hyphen, Inc, a company that had offices in both the UK and in Massachusetts.
When my UK residence visa was due for renewal, it coincided with the campaign of Bill Clinton and Al Gore for President, which inspired us. We moved back to Massachusetts, and I switched from Hyphen UK to Hyphen USA. After that, I moved into Internet engineering, and have never looked back.
So I'm no stranger to living overseas, to fleeing one's homeland for reasons of political disgust, to learning a new language, to making one's way in a new culture.
I've considered doing so again, but things are different now. I am 30 years older and as such, without substantial assets to bring, I doubt any foreign country would consider my application favorably. I have two wonderful kids, whose relationship with their mom I treasure as they do, and don't want to change the very close living situation we have with her and her husband. I have two beloved partners who are extremely important to me, each of whom could likely find work in the countries we've considered (Canada, the Netherlands, or Germany again), but they have obligations here.
More to the point, as one of those partners pointed out the other day, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” Or to move away.
So I'm staying. But gosh, I sure did seriously mull over the alternative. That means I need to Do Something.
Though I missed the Kent State massacre in 1970, I was an activist there beginning in 1973, first for the United Farm Workers as a boycott organizer. Very impressed by Igal Roodenko, I became an organizer for the War Resisters League, and, for a fraught couple of years, a staff member on the weekly Workshop in Nonviolence (WIN) Magazine (to which I am extremely grateful, as they taught me typography, which was very lucrative for me), which is how I ended up working in Manhattan.
But if truth be told, I was always incredibly reluctant. I am lazy. When the verdict in the trial of the National Guardsmen involved in the Kent State shootings was delivered (all not guilty), in the middle of the summer, I hoped for someone else
to lead the necessary demonstration on the campus at KSU, because I was enjoying my summer, and my friends. But nobody stepped up, so I felt I had to, and I reluctantly put together an impromptu candlelight vigil that was occurring when the national press went to the site of the shooting, and I got my 15 minutes of fame on all the networks.
My closest friends from that period saw through me, and called me on it. Most of them are still very active, and have sacrificed heavily for their ethics, to be activists. Me? I like my creature comforts now, and I always have. I like my paychecks. I like my nice cars and my extensive travel. I like to sleep and make love. I like to dine out. And I would rather flee, which I did in '85.
This time, I am staying. I have been giving quite a lot of money to organizations that oppose the kinds of things that our President-elect stands for, and now I have more than doubled those contributions, to the point where it's pretty Inconvenient. I am trying to find other things to do. I am searching. I am trying to stay positive. I am trying to re-commit to the right things, to put my energy where those who are in danger already can benefit from it.
I am trying to do the right thing. I understand that I will not be perfect in doing so, that I will still be reluctant, that I will make mistakes, and that I might get hurt, that it is likely to cost something of my loved ones. And I know that fleeing is not the right thing. But I sure am tempted.#f