Don’t Abandon People in Red States

Let’s build an Overground Railroad instead

Douglas Rushkoff
3 min readJun 26, 2022


Photo: Gayatri Malhotra / Unsplash

I overhead a couple of high school students this morning talking about their college options.

“I don’t think I’m going to apply to Grinnel, anymore,” one said.

“Or Rice,” the other chimed in. “Screw them.”

They were looking at the map of US states that are either implementing or likely to implement bans on abortion in the wake of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v Wade. The kids were eliminating schools within imperiled states from their lists of college application candidates.

Other folks I know are looking into moving from red states to blue states, or out of the United States altogether. As one writer friend put it, “I was thinking to go to Canada when Trump won, but didn’t want to lose hope. Now, I can’t see raising my daughter here.”

I get it. It feels like America is moving backwards. Where we used to lead the world in granting human rights, we are now the sole outlier among developed nations denying a national right to an abortion. Let’s not even get into our unique and ever-worsening denial of national healthcare, or our inability to deny weapons to those who shouldn’t be carrying them.

I’m not so sure retreat is the answer — especially for those of us who have the privilege of doing so

But I’m not so sure retreat is the answer — especially for those of us who have the privilege of doing so. I got an opportunity to move to Canada the very week that Donald Trump was elected President; I turned it town because it felt unethical to have enjoyed everything America offered only to bail when things got rough.

I can see the logic in “boycotting” schools or refusing to take jobs in states banning abortion. It could put a certain pressure on legislatures not to succumb to theocratic rule by demonstrating that conducting business in the modern world depends on remaining not more than 100 years behind global human rights standards. Plus, I can see why a young people in particular may not want to spend their first years of independence without full access to reproductive healthcare.



Douglas Rushkoff

Author of Survival of the Richest, Team Human, Program or Be Programmed, and host of the Team Human podcast