Let's imagine the prime minister went for it. Let's imagine he called Trump a fascist and urged U.S. Republicans to disown him, to shut down the circus. The story would make a much bigger splash than that photo of Trudeau striking a yoga pose on a desk shot in 2011 and inexplicably inescapable this week.
In many countries, there is a debate over how much power we give to corporations. And it is boosting populist right-wing parties and left-wing parties that are against trade. In Europe, many of the right-wing parties are opposing free trade agreements. At the same time, from the left of the spectrum, voices such as Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn are also targeting free trade.
I see you. I see you lurking in the periphery of my Facebook feed, posting pro-Trump rhetoric and awful hate speech. I mean, you aren't saying the things presidential candidate Donald Trump is, but you are sharing them. You are siding with him. I could have blocked you. I could have hidden your posts from my view, or I could have just defriended you. But I didn't, and I won't.
Building progress and trust, as the U.S. did, takes a long time to accomplish far more than constructing a building. But Trump will help destroy such progress if he is elected as the president of the United States. All the respect and admiration the world used to have towards this great country will vanish into thin air.
What can we expect Trudeau to say about Trump in Washington? Nothing. What can we expect him to say about diversity? And inclusiveness? And building bridges? A lot! In fact, it's hard to imagine Trudeau passing an hour without talking about those favourite topics of his. And in the current president, he is likely to find a receptive audience.
The responses of individuals and countries to the Syrian Refugee Crisis has been a bit of an informal test on the level of humanity within individuals and nations. Even though outwardly Canada seems to have embraced the incoming refugees, I think some people have forgotten the compassion and despair that was felt when the image of Alan Kurdi's lifeless body, was seared into our collective unconscious.
Canada continues to make important strides toward more equality. But there are storm clouds on the horizon that endanger the continuing pursuit of true equality. What started as a legitimate change to bring about equality and transformation of how we viewed, treated and spoke about each other has now ossified into a rarely breached wall of silence, a silence reinforced by the onset of the West's indifference to its own good, bad or ugly -- but distinct -- societies, their values and norms. Call it white man's burden or guilt, a guilt for the sins of the past now manifesting itself in the white man's fear.
Suddenly, I became aware that this comment thread had opened a window for me into the American ideal of freedom and how virulently many Americans support the First Amendment without any consideration of the violence that hate speech causes. I realized that the concepts of inclusivity, diversity and multiculturalism that I had studied were not the first things on these people's minds. I began to think that these concepts didn't figure into their equation at all.
As the media vigorously tries to answer the root causes of radicalism, I wish they would do the same about the outrageous Republican candidate that is Mr. Trump. What, or who, radicalized him? His actions mirror the fanatics and extremists who seek to divide us and create mistrust and hate between neighbours.
Before I talk about the wretched Muslims ruining America, I'm going to admit I'm not American. I am Canadian, which I realize is pretty unfortunate. To make up for this deficiency, I've always pretended to be American. I pretend because it is feels great to be "exceptional" and more civilized than the rest of the world. I pretend because it makes me feel safer to fear others who are different. I pretend because American Republican politicians aren't afraid to demonstrate their overt bigotry by generalizing an entire group of people. Now, it's time to finally stop pretending and fulfill my true destiny.