I'm Having a Kid
Due this fall. My wife and I are excited, though we have an extra challenge typical of musician families: namely, a complicated living situation with home bases in multiple locations. As you may imagine, our impending parenthood has re-raised the obvious questions about life and geography we've been having since we've been together. But it also got me wondering something I never thought I'd think: Is there a single decent reason I should raise my kid in America?
I mean, what straight-face argument could I use to convince my Canadian wife to bring our daughter south of the border? Freedom? Free children don't cower under desks. Opportunity? Dead kids don't have any.
I get that in the grand scheme of things school shootings are mercifully rare. [As an aside, that's why politicians can afford to do absolutely nothing about them: It's probably going to be somebody else's kid who dies, especially if their own are in some expensive gated private school somewhere. Meanwhile, meaningful action demands things like money and effort and unpopularity. So instead, they throw out platitudes and talking points and bet that voters won't punish them for their complete and perpetual incompetence on the issue. So far, that bet has paid off.]
But I still have to play the odds, right? As best I can tell, we've been fortunate in Great Falls, where the school shootings have "only" involved suicide attempts and property damage, but at this point there's no reason to attribute that to anything but blind luck. (Our schools even have multiple doors!) Am I really just supposed to ignore the fact that my kid is significantly less likely to get gunned down in a Canadian school than an American one?
And that's not the only consideration. Virtually every source shows Canada as a better place to raise a family than the US. (Canada's no Iceland, but we don't really have a means of settling in Iceland at the moment.) And God forbid my daughter ever, say, play sports in the state of Ohio, where, as of June 2022, any rando can force her to verify her "internal and external reproductive anatomy" in order to participate.
[Seriously, have you seen this thing? All of the protections are for the accuser instead of the accused. There's no restriction on who gets to request a sex check, and no requirement that the request to be made in good faith. Some girl's rival's mother could extort her with the threat of an invasive genital examination if she's upset with a disparity in playing time. Nor is there any requirement for discretion when "a participant's sex is disputed" - brilliant use of passive voice there - so the accusation may well be made in a public forum, whereupon the accused, regardless of the result of the exam, will enjoy the famously compassionate and understanding treatment of her adolescent peers. Perhaps there are other policy documents that address these issues, but as it stands, this bill is horrifying. But hey, at least a trans girl won't occasionally beat a cis girl in sports.]
To be clear, after spending a large chunk of my last five years in Canada, I know that Canada is not the Shangri-La that some on the American left imagine it to be. And probabilities are not guarantees: children die tragic deaths in every country on Earth, and there are plenty of thriving, healthy American children. Who knows - life circumstances may indeed bring our family to the US some day, and hopefully we'll be delighted with the move, if that's what ends up happening. But it's tremendously discouraging to know that such a decision will be made in spite of the greater risk to the well-being of our child.