New Rule: America, Love It Or Leave It | Real Time with Bill Maher | Transcript

Bill Maher's New rule: Running for US office means wanting to live here, despite flaws. Celebs threaten to leave but stay, ignoring global issues worse than America's
New Rule: America, Love It Or Leave It | Real Time with Bill Maher

February 9, 2024

Bill Maher humorously critiques individuals, particularly politicians and celebrities, who express a desire to leave America due to its perceived flaws, yet end up staying. He highlights the irony of individuals running for office or publicly threatening to leave the country while overlooking the comparative freedoms and opportunities available in the U.S. Maher extends his commentary to a broader perspective, pointing out severe issues in other countries, such as human rights abuses and a lack of freedoms, suggesting that those disgruntled with America lack perspective on global conditions. Ultimately, he argues for recognizing America’s problems but working towards solutions rather than abandoning the country.

* * *

[Bill] And finally, new rule: If you run for office in America, you have to want to live here. I bring this up because there was a video that made the rounds recently by a woman who said she was a proud Progressive and was running for state representative in New Hampshire, and yet posted this:

“Is there a place we can move that people would be happy to have us, that we’re not gentrifying or colonizing? I don’t want to be a problem, but I need to get the fuck out of this country.”

[Bill] The fuck out of this country? The one you want to be elected to a leadership position in? What was your campaign slogan? “America: a shining shithole on a hill”? Jesus, even prostitutes have to pretend they like what they do…

Speaking of prostitutes, last August, Donald Trump… last August, he was remarking on the great sacrifice he’s made by offering himself up as our president again, by saying:

[Trump] “I could have been relaxing at Mar-a-Lago, or in the south of France, which I would prefer, being in this country, frankly.”

[Bill] Again, I’m confused by this political message. Vote for me because I hate it here? Now, does America have big problems? Yes. I’ve often cited the “America sucks” list: things like being 54th in the world in infant mortality, behind Cuba; 19th in literacy, behind Russia; 72nd in female representation in government, behind Iraq. A lot of work to do here. And is it possible for a country to lose itself so much that leaving it is justified? Yes, but we’re not there yet, not by a long shot. And we don’t need quitters; we need people who will stay and fix it.

Maybe the problem isn’t that America isn’t worth defending; maybe the problem is that lots of people today are entitled whiners who have no perspective and no idea how good they have it. 59% of self-identified liberals say there have been times when they considered leaving America for good, like after NBC canceled The West Wing. I don’t get it. You want so badly for every immigrant to come to this country and experience the good life, but somehow it’s so terrible you want to leave?

And I see conservatives in Texas are talking secession again. They have two bumper stickers in that state: “America, love it or leave it,” and “We’re leaving it.” Just like there’s a long list of liberal celebrities who swear they’ll go if a Republican is elected, and no one ever does. Miley Cyrus once said, “I am moving if Trump is my president. I don’t say things I don’t mean.” Here she is, looking miserable, having to endure America at the Grammys last Sunday. I guess she, uh, I guess she flew back from Tajikistan.

In 2016, Eddie Griffin said, “If Trump wins, I’m moving to Africa,” apparently very slowly because in Trump’s four years, he only got as far as Van Nuys. George Lopez once said that if Trump won, he won’t have to worry about immigration; we’ll all go back. George Lopez is still here, and it doesn’t look like the migrant traffic is going back.

Then there’s all the TikToks telling Americans things like:

“I think the new American dream is to leave.

I’m 18 years old, and I escaped America.”

[Bill] Yeah, yeah, you don’t have to escape America; that wall we’re always debating isn’t to keep you in.

The New Republic just ran a story about the vulnerable minorities who want to flee America, including the author, a gay man trapped in the dystopian homophobic hellscape that is New York City. I wonder if he knows that there are 66 countries where just being gay is a crime. Cute story in the news last month: Burundi’s president called on his citizens to stone gay people, and not in the good way.

Wow, suddenly the “Don’t Say Gay” law doesn’t sound all that bad. And Uganda—oh, they don’t just give you a ticket for parking in the rear; you can get the death penalty for it. In China, they have the death penalty for almost 50 crimes, and in 13 countries, atheism is punishable by death, and 61 imposed restrictions on women’s clothing, so bring a scarf.

According to Amnesty International, paramilitary groups killed the government’s critics in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela, and arbitrary detentions are widespread in Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, Nicaragua. If you’re wondering, that’s just like no cash bail. It’s not.

In Russia, just referring to the war in Ukraine as a war can get you 15 years in the fabulous prisons made famous by some of the world’s most famous novels. You think America’s evil because we didn’t nominate Margot Robbie for an Oscar? Just wait till you get thrown out the window of your very own Dreamhouse.

Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, and Sudan still cut the hands off of thieves, so if you’re coming from San Francisco, do your shoplifting at home. And you might also want to do your protesting before you go, because protesters are ruefully shot in lots of places.

Gosh, it almost seems like the world is full of suffering, intolerance, and oppression on a scale we can’t imagine. But that can’t be true because if it was, we’d be protesting it. It must only happen in Israel.

And if for your exile you do wind up in some comparatively luxurious place like Canada, Japan, or the UK—not that they want you—at best, you’ll be trading a bunch of stuff you hate about this country for a bunch of stuff you’ll soon hate about your new home. It took me only four days in Amsterdam to learn that while I admire Amsterdam, I don’t want to live there. The buildings are cramped and shaped like needles, the food is awful, the TV is in a different language, it’s wet and cold, the people are polite but cold, and they do a bunch of weird shit. The explanation, according to my friend, was, “Just remember, they are high.”

Italy always makes the list of great expat destinations because of all those stories on CNN about how you can buy a house in a quaint Italian village for a dollar, except it’s not a house in the way we think of one, as a structure with plumbing and electricity and a roof. When these places were built, the Leaning Tower of Pisa was still straight. Sure, you can spend a hundred grand to make them livable, and I’m sure it’s no problem to find reliable workmen in rural Italy, who you’ll then fall in love with, like in Under the Tuscan Sun. But now you’re living in some dinky village in Italy, with nothing to do but watch the old guys play that game with the wooden balls.

And have you ever seen the Eurovision Song Contest? They actually listen to that crap.

Look, everywhere in the world, I’m sure, seems great when you haven’t lived there. I hear people tell me Costa Rica is beautiful. I’m sure it is. You’ll also get bitten by a snake on the flight over.

The travel site Lonely Planet described Sri Lanka as “endless beaches, timeless ruins, welcoming people,” and if you love child marriage, food shortages, and the strictest abortion laws in the world, Sri Lanka could be right for you.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Read More

Weekly Magazine

Get the best articles once a week directly to your inbox!