The Case of the Leftie Who Actually Left 

We’re used to the dreary quadrennial spectacle of various lefties declaring they will leave the country if this or that conservative wins the White House (even the compassionate variety of conservative puts them off, as we saw in 2000). But, as we’re also used to, the bums never do it. Never follow through. Never live up to their word. They continue to hang on in what they consider to be the hateful US of A because they can’t be as privileged, as plain fat, dumb, and happy, anywhere else. They know it; we do too. They’ll never leave, even when there are folks trying to help them, as illustrated here.

The list of frauds who threatened to leave this year if the Donald made it to 1600 is as long as ever I’ve seen, and includes various repeat offenders. To name just a few, there are the reliable: Barbra Streisand, Cher, and Whoopi Goldberg. There’s Alec Baldwin, who has raised our hopes before. There is some new “talent” on the list, lesser known to those who are not heavy consumers of popular entertainment culture. There’s Miley Cyrus, who is apparently famous for waving her assets about on stage. There’s Lena Dunham, the “brains” behind Girls. And there’s Amy Schumer, who I’m told is a comedian, though I’ve not heard her say anything funny. (Something about becoming political that makes one unfunny. He’s still described as a comedian, but does anyone alive remember the last time Dick Gregory said something funny?) And the squalid picture wouldn’t be complete without race hustler Al Sharpton.

Samuel L. “What’s In Your Wallet?” Jackson was probably the most colorful in his promise (which, like the other humbugs, he has no intention of honoring). On Jimmy Kimmel’s late night show he said Trump had run a “hateful” campaign and, “If that m—– f—– becomes president, I’m moving my black ass to South Africa.” Charming. I wonder if the folks at Capital One find this amusing.

Jon Stewart made the most far-reaching promise. The former Daily Show master of condescension said he would get on a rocket and go to another planet if Trump were elected. There are those who consider that Stewart has been on his own planet for years now. But let it pass.

Even a U.S. Supreme Court Justice got in on the act. Ruth Bader Ginsburg suggested to the New York Times last summer that Trump’s election might be an occasion to leave the U.S. for New Zealand, though she seemed to hedge a bit, passing some of the blame off on her late husband. Here’s her curious quote:

“I can’t imagine what this place would be — I can’t imagine what the country would be — with Donald Trump as our president. For the country, it could be four years. For the court, it could be — I don’t even want to contemplate that.”

After this quaint demonstration of judicial temperament, she added, that her husband, the late Martin D. Ginsburg, would likely have said, “Now it’s time for us to move to New Zealand.”

All of this is unedifying and disappointing. Mainly because the gang’s still here. We never get it in writing. Their promises are less reliable than “I’ll respect you in the morning.” So the usual suspects linger on here. Barbra, Whoopi, and Cher are still around. Stewart is still Earthbound, though his feet are planted elsewhere. Jackson is still the thuggish loudmouth you trip over when you turn on your TV. And Justice Ginsburg, at the same old stand, has time now to contemplate President Trump.

But while the news on this front is mostly bad, there is this small item of uplift. At least one leftie, convinced of the Trump horror to come, has actually made good on his promise to leave the country. The Daily Caller and other news outlets are reporting that Wole Soyinka, winner of the 1986 Nobel Prize for literature, has, as he promised, torn up his green card and returned to his native Nigeria. “The moment they announce his (Trump’s) victory, I will cut my green card myself and start packing up,” he said just days before the election.

As we have learned, this is so easy to say. And most know those who say it are kidding, just striking poses. But by God, Soyinka actually did it. It must have been hard, as the 82-year-old poet was coming off of a soft touch as “scholar in residence” at New York University. (At most universities, being a scholar in residence means being paid a lot of money for doing next to nothing.)

OK, Soyinka is hardly a household name, compared to some of the irritants named earlier. I’m sure many TAS readers would far rather have wished Bon voyage to Alec or Barbra or Whoopi. But we take what we can get.

Before reading of Soyinka’s kept promise I had not heard of him, let alone read his poems. Not surprising, as the folks who award the Nobel Prize for literature seem to specialize in obscure writers. I’ve since sampled a few of his poems and found them incomprehensible. But then in poetry, sadly, very little since Frost and Auden has been comprehensible to me. So I’m no judge of his talent.

While I’ve nothing to add on the subject of Soyinka the poet, and I’ve no idea what it was about Trump that so put Soyinka off as to make him think he had to bugger off, I do appreciate his honesty in keeping his promise to leave. Godspeed and a tip of the hat to you, Wole. You’re a true gent. Best wishes in your new life back home. And if you could find a place there for Barbra, Cher, and Whoopi… Oh, never mind. They’d never go, and you’re way better off without them.

Larry Thornberry
Larry Thornberry
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Larry Thornberry is a writer in Tampa.
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