Today on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol, sometime around noon, president-elect Donald Trump will take the Oath of Office.
It's a day that, like many other people, I didn't see coming. In June 2015, on the heels of Trump's official entrance into the presidential race, I wrote a brief -- admittedly feeble -- 350-word post on what I believed to be an unlikely Trump presidency.
"Donald Trump doesn't understand the American Dream," I wrote. "Fortunately for Americans, rankings aren't in Trump's favour. Although he'll likely appear in future televised debates (Twitter, get ready!), the chances of his winning the election are slim to none."
I imagine I wrote those lines with a coy smile on my face, inwardly laughing and outwardly shaking my head at the absurdity of the whole thing. Refusing to believe that anyone could ever put their lives (literally) in the hands of a man like Donald Trump, I, like so many around the world, dismissed his candidacy as nothing more than a publicity stunt.
But fast-forward nearly two years, and there is no longer a coy smile or even an inward laugh. Though there is still a shake of my head -- no longer just at the absurdity of the whole situation but now, also in disgust and disbelief -- I no longer have the luxury of being able to dismiss Donald Trump.
The 45th president of the United States of America is here.
President-elect Donald Trump at a rally in Sept. 2016. (Photo: Bastiaan Slabbers/Getty)
In looking back on the political disaster of a U.S. election, I still find myself asking, "How did we get here?" It's a topic that has been written about at length since the night of November 8 when together, hatred, fear, racism and bigotry, won the American presidency. And still, despite the countless political analyses, panel discussions and expert interviews, I continuously find myself searching for suitable answers. Unsuccessfully.
In their absence, I find myself grasping at fragments, attempting to piece them together and somehow make sense of a situation that likely has no sensible explanation. By all accounts, Donald Trump should have never won the election. He was the most unqualified, misguided and ostentatious candidate of them all. His political resume, no longer than this blog post, paled in comparison to that of his opponent, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
He was vulgar and unapologetic, refusing to atone for any of his many political and personal improprieties. But with each of his wrongdoings, Trump supporters became more determined to see him win, some even resorting to violence to silence those who wanted otherwise. The faith they had put in a man who time and again showed no respect for anyone or anything, could not be shaken. Not even a crude admonition of sexual assault could hurt his campaign or deter his supporters.
If the next four years are to be anything like what we witnessed in the days immediately following election night, it's difficult to feel anything other than uncertainty and fear.
"For the countless minorities, immigrants and refugees who will likely bear the greatest burden of a Trump presidency, today there is no joy or reason to celebrate."
Just 10 days after Trump's stunning victory over Clinton, there were nearly 900 reports of hate crimes, racial intimidation and harassment across the U.S., often committed in public places like schools and in the streets.
Although racism is nothing new in the U.S., many say the attacks' brazen nature was at a level unseen in decades.
North of border, Canadians haven't been immune to such incidents. Just one week after the election, there were three reported incidents of racial intimidation in three separate cities across the country.
While some say it's mere coincidence, accusing media of antagonizing an already bitter racial climate, I beg to differ.
Blame it on the Trump Effect, I say.
As Donald Trump prepares for his presidential debut, around the world, many wait in fearful anticipation of what's to come next. For the countless minorities, immigrants and refugees who will likely bear the greatest burden of a Trump presidency, today there is no joy or reason to celebrate. There are only feelings of dread, dismay and despair.
And of course, there are questions; How did we get here? What will happen next? Who will America be made great for?
Countless questions without any answers.
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