Growing up in the 50s and 60s, I don't recall experiencing the anger, vitriol and nastiness that is on offer today.
All of a sudden, it was OK for America to get back into hate crimes again. Behaviour that had been previously seen as scary stories from a discarded history text book are suddenly back in the news. Here we are, a long history of "haven't we become so much better" wiped clean with story after story of bigotry, Islamophobia, and Neo-Nazi ideals rising from the ashes.
When it comes to countering radicalization, Canadian policy has a different problem. While the U.S. is pursuing a response to radicalization which actually feeds the problem it is supposed to be addressing, the Canadian response of late has been to effectively deny the reality of the conflict that we are in.
There are many paths to Trump. This is probably always true for political candidates, and truer the fewer candidates there are. However, it is particularly true when the actual nature of a candidate is so hard to pin down. What Trump will actually do remains a real mystery, and different people got to voting for him by assuming he'd do different kinds of things.
Let's face it: Trump enjoyed huge support from American rural communities. Regardless of what Canadians from rural communities think of themselves, my experience tells me that they are not much different from their American counterparts. Same music, same wheels, same worldview.
Would it be right to think that many of our southern friends don't really appreciate Mexicans and that many of them show a propensity to misogyny? We can ask ourselves the question, can't we? Thus, I dare to say (or rather propose the idea) that Americans have just elected someone who has many similarities with them, or at least the person who was the most like them.
How is anyone to believe that either candidate will deal with the deeply-rooted problems of America today: income disparities, the legal corruption of political donations, a warming globe that needs to be cooled, crony capitalism that has harmed so much of the American middle class? Add to this the ultimate problem: an uncanny tendency to deal with all these fires by repeatedly pouring oil on them.
I am almost sure that Mrs. Trump is not a robot, unlike the women in the famous novel. I say this despite her sculpted face and the generally 1950s Playboy Bunny appearance that seems to defy human aging. I am still sure that beneath the coaching and stilted speeches, she is a human being.
Like Mr. Berlusconi before him, President Trump would lead the nation as far from the doctrines of the founding fathers as one could imagine. America could quickly become characterized by introverted foreign and economic policy -- underpinned by a suspicion of the wider world.
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.