For many Canadians, the outcome of the United States election has been a shock. Trump's campaign, as inarticulate and venal as it was, tapped into important and deeply rooted realities, realities that may contain lessons for Canada too. Does Canada need to worry about the same festering malaise that has become so dramatically evident in the U.S.?
Growing up in Montreal, Quebec during the rise of a separatist political party in the 1970s gave me a front row seat to how families can be divided because of political differences. Every Sunday, after church, this division played out in my living room. The lessons I learned then are more relevant now than ever.
We have to act "preventatively." Become active before they pass bills and laws that will affect us adversely. Once it's done, it's done. When we stay silent, when we do nothing, we send a message to our political leaders that everything is just fine and dandy. Even if we believe otherwise. That has to change.
We can't be complacent. We can't let fear and despair stop us from working to make the world a better place for everyone, regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, physical appearance or limitations, country of origin, political leanings, education or social circumstance. And let's face it, the planet isn't in trouble, humanity is.
This is what happens when you stubbornly vote for a third party candidate -- but your country has a two-party system. This is what happens when you spitefully write in your preferred candidate's name on the ballot (even though he lost the primary). This is what happens. You don't win. You lose. And you lose big.
Donald, you tapped into the anger of a declining middle class that is sick and tired of establishment economics, establishment politics and the establishment media. But you also opened the Pandora box of hatred xenophobia and bigotry. Your campaign slogan "Make America Great Again" feels a lot like "Make America White Again" these days.
Late into Tuesday evening, Jake Tapper of CNN said that if Trump wins the election, "it's going to put the polling industry out of business." Well, Trump won the election, and not surprisingly, many have said my industry is in crisis. That's understandable. A Clinton victory seem like a sure thing. But was it?
It is widely believed that Donald Trump will not win a second term as president. In fact, some outspoken Americans have opined that he will not even finish his initial four-year term. If we assume that Donald Trump would not serve a second term, permanent resident status in Canada is clearly not required. There are several options available that would permit a U.S. citizen to temporarily reside in Canada for the next four years.
For people who are still wondering "how did this happen," do not waste precious time trying to figure out the voters. Look no further than your TV and at your local newspaper. There was news to be reported, but the media was more interested in a soap opera. They were the real drivers of the "clown car" this year.
A Trump presidency fills many with dread, largely because of the competing forces of his egregious claims and his status as a complete unknown with no policy track record. But in the interests of our mental health, I would like to put forward a brief argument for... optimism. The Trump presidency is going to be a reality. We who opposed him need to accept it. Here's how I'm getting through it.
In the few days since Donald Trump was elected all I hear from some of the media, from some of his surrogates, from some of his pals is, "he only said those disgusting and outrageous things to get elected." They keep saying we'll see a "different Donald Trump, a kinder, gentler Donald Trump in the Oval Office." WTF?
Why do we laugh at a comedian's misogynist joke? Why do we vote for a man who brags about grabbing women by their genitalia? Why would we try to seduce a man who abused us? I don't know whether it's a fear of being disliked or an inferiority complex or a survival instinct or a tainted childhood or a history of women who speak up for themselves being trashed (Trump's relentless "she's a fat, ugly lesbian" attack on Rosie O'Donnell always comes to mind), trying to put an end to misogyny is not for the faint of heart.
I know that being the president of the United States has been hard for you. Although you gave it your best shot, not everyone is happy with what you've done in the past eight years. But despite this, there are some people who still think that you're pretty neat. I'm one of them. And I'm not the only one who is really going to miss you.
Donald Trump was elected to do what he says he'll do. You and I may think it's wrong, but the voters said he's right. Here's a difficult truth you don't want to hear: You and I are not smarter than them. We're not. They know what they want and they elected a president to do it. If you disagree with the agenda, too bad. You lost. Get over it. Try again in four years.