It’s September of another presidential year, which means it’s time for celebrities to announce they’ll leave the country if the Republican is elected.
This might actually affect the vote (in which direction is unclear), except that none of them has carried out previous such threats.
Beyond the question of partisanship — I certainly am not endorsing Trump — shouldn’t public figures be held to answer for promises they make in the public arena and then later don’t keep, especially if they are trying to sway an election?
The lone exception to the rule in 2000 was former John F. Kennedy press secretary Pierre Salinger, who threatened to leave if George W. Bush was elected. He did, moving to France and living there until his death in 2004.
Singer Barbara Streisand, an outspoken supporter of Hillary Clinton, recently told an Australian television station she might move to Australia or to Canada in the event of a Trump victory.
Streisand’s alleged threats have been hard to pin down in the past. Some said she threatened to leave if Bush won in 2000, but apparently she actually said at a White House dinner that she just wouldn’t be “around here,” meaning the White House.
This time, the threat is a bit easier to pin down, as this video makes clear:
The fact-check site snopes.com reported on the pledges made in 2000. Some of the celebrities, such as Alec Baldwin, backtracked or claimed they were misquoted.
When asked about his promise, film director Robert Altman, still in the United States, told the London Times, “Isn’t this all getting a little silly?”
Maybe, but passionate political activism means little without the will to follow through on promises, even if doing so would require sacrifices.