Avoiding conferences in the USA for now

This is an administrative note, with a side order of politics.

Although I am not personally affected to any large degree (I’m a US citizen, and while there are theoretically things that could cause me problems, in practice I think by the time they come for me you’ll care more about how to join the violent resistance than any particular effect of this post), the situation with Trump in the US and his rather dangerously slapdash approach to things like immigration and the basic rule of law are making me extremely unhappy, and I don’t really feel comfortable attending US conferences while this is going on.

I was probably going to be going to PyCon US (and had submitted a tutorial proposal which I’ve now withdrawn), and was quite happy that PyCon UK and Strange Loop did not clash this year, as I keep wanting to give a talk about Hypothesis implementation at the latter (which might or might not have been accepted of course, but I’d have at least tried), so amidst the rather larger and more important political horror this is also personally quite annoying. Oh well. Bigger things to worry about.

Naturally I hold neither of these conferences accountable for Trump’s actions, which are almost entirely beyond their control, and I wish them all the best. I just don’t feel comfortable attending myself.

I won’t entirely be avoiding travel to the US (I have family over there), but I will be doing my best to minimise it, and will probably not do so for work purposes unless it’s something really important.

I don’t know how long I intend to keep this policy up, but it’s almost certainly going to be for the next four years unless something very surprising happens.

Lest this seem like there’s an awful lot of glass in this house I’m throwing stones from, I’d probably recommend you do the same to the UK. The best I can claim right now is that we’re not yet as bad as Trump, but we already have a history of really awful border control so that’s probably not very reassuring. That being said, I live here, so I won’t make any such attempt to avoid local conferences.

Apologies to everyone who I won’t be able to see and/or meet for the first time in person at PyCon US and Strange Loop. Maybe we can find a great conference somewhere in the EU to both attend?

Assuming they still let Brits in after this debacle we’ve made of things.

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