Why is that that the American Right so often responds to criticism by saying something like, “if you don't like Bush or his policies, well then you're free to leave the country.”
As someone who did have a real choice about whether to live in the US or not, and ended up using that exit option, I have a few idealistic words to say about this.
It’s such a disingenuous thing to say- of course any American is free to leave the USA, but would they be let in anywhere else? Under international law, unless there are special circumstances, you only have the right to live in your country of nationality. You can’t demand to live in Canada, the UK or any other country for the rest of your days. You may apply and if you’re qualified or lucky they may choose to let you in, but you have no legal right. Although liberal American emigrants might sometimes feel oppressed by the political climate, this would not be enough to qualify for refugee status in other countries. Not unless things get a lot worse, and Ann Coulter's idea that Democrats are all traitors takes hold.
Even if there weren't these legal impediments for emigration, it is wrong to ask somebody to give up their home and go into exile just because they have a different political opinion. That reminds me of the gulag in Siberia.
It is no trivial thing to live in a different country - even when it concerns moving between Australia and the US, two countries with very close cultural and linguistic ties, at least when compared with other countries. Emigration still involves missing family and childhood friends and of course the land. It is wrong for people on the right to so flippantly and frequently call for such a sacrifice by their political opponents.
The real point is that American liberals has as much right to the USA as American conservatives. It is ludicrous to say that Conservative or Neoconservative values are the true American values and that everyone else are just interlopers, who live in the US only at the sufferance of the true Americans.
The answer is to challenge the implicit assumptions being made when a Conservative parrots something dumb like "America, love it or leave it." Do they really think that most important thing about the US are guns, military aggression, religious fanaticism, unbridled capitalism and wasteful SUVs? If that's what they care about, and not the democratic values expressed in the Constitution, how American can they really be?