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Canada or Bust?

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By Monica Hesse
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, November 4, 2008; 2:30 PM

It's a modern chestnut of election season, a tradition so time-honored that it's been spoofily preserved in those cultural museums of our times, YouTube and StuffWhitePeopleLike.com (see No. 75).

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That tradition is, threatening to move to Canada.

As Election Day arrives, this threat is bandied about with increasing urgency, and it always goes something like this:

If the country goes McCain, some people are gonna be out of here so fast, snowmobiling fiercely toward socialized medicine and marriage for all.

So they say.

And have been saying for years.

Susan Sarandon is the most famous face of the pledged exodus this election season ("It's a critical time," she told the New York Post earlier this year). But she's just following a get-outta-here tradition reportedly established by Eddie Vedder in 2000, and Robert Redford in 2004.

Canada is not the only option, though given its historical draft-dodging significance, it does have a certain je ne sais quoi (they speak French in Canada, some of them). Gov. Sarah Palin impersonator Tina Fey recently told TV Guide that a McCain administration might cause her to "leave Earth." R.E.M. frontman Michael Stipe said a Republican victory would send him to England.

England!

Ocean-hopping ups the ante. It's sort of like pledging to move to Canada, but it shows that you really mean business because you are willing to put up with accents and Marmite.

Get really indignant, and you might even threaten to move to . . .

"France," says Stacey Larson, sitting in Dupont Circle on a recent evening. "I was just pledging I would move to France."


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