Why Trump Matters
For months I’ve uttered the words “…he won’t win”. Yesterday, I sat and watched the results roll in, went to bed around 1 am, still confidently uttering “…he won’t win”, despite what I was watching with my own two eyes.
Then, I woke up this morning and he had won.
I went upstairs and found my husband who looked completely depressed. He had taken it much more seriously than I did for much of the election campaign. I went onto social media where devastation poured in from one side and arrogant/excited ‘I told you so’s came from the other. A few laughed, many cried, and many more were down right scared for the future.
Each reaction is just as valid as another. But there is one reaction that bothers me deeply. The people saying dismissive things. The ones just making jokes or wishing it would all just get off their feed or saying “why do you care, you’re Canadian” (or some version of this, this is the most annoying one).
With this annoyance in mind I took my daughter for a walk and explained to her (yes, she’s 7 months and doesn’t understand but she’s my #1 fan who thinks everything I say is fucking gold so I yammer away 24/7 to her) why Trump winning is so. fucking. important.
I told her that the West (Canada, US, Europe) is founded on liberal ideologies such as multiculturalism, individualism, cosmopolitanism – these are the things that give us really good stuff like science to understand the environment, women’s ability to control decisions over their own bodies, gays the right to marry and folic freely, and immigrants to have a better future or refugees to escape pain and suffering.
Donald trump undermines all of this… and it impacts Canada because we are their neighbour, because we trade over $400 billion a year with them and, most importantly, because we have a moral obligation to give a shit about other people…this is a basic ‘be a good person’ lesson to a child. One of the most powerful and important countries in the world is going backwards. That should matter to anyone who gives a shit about the future of society. The very least we can do, as good people, is show solidarity for (or at least give a shit about…) the millions about to lose their rights in various ways.
Through tears I told her that today we cry for the young girls who will not have access to safe abortion clinics. We cry for the children, like my daughter, who will be bullied because they are not white. We cry for the indigenous peoples fighting for Standing Rock because their chances of success have just plummeted. We cry for the families who have a mother, father, or grandmother with a health crisis (breast cancer, diabetes, or in need of a liver transfer…like my family has been in the past) who will be unable to afford to save the lives of their loved ones. We cry for the LGBTQ community that has fought so fucking hard the past few years – just to see a lot of their hard work demolished. We cry for little boys and girls excited about space exploration, if we thought funding was piss poor before? Wait until Trump’s got a-hold of it.
My daughter is (1) a girl; (2) loves to be outside (and relies on the environment for life and well-being) and; (3) is half born from an immigrant parent. To see a country that we so closely align with in language, culture, and traditions vote in a way that is harmful to all three of those core aspects of my child is very frightening.
What we as Canadians should be doing now is thinking about what this means for us in the future. It could happen here. Sure, it might not be as radical as Trump, but just as devastating to the culture of our country. We are SO lucky to live in a country like Canada — we can learn from what’s happening around the world and react so as to be a pillar of hope for the future.
As hard as it may have been for Trudeau to make the statement he did, he’s on the right track. We (liberals, I guess) need to recognize that multiculturalism and an inclusive space/country includes everyone – including the white, nuclear family folks. They’re the ones that voted for Trump (and Harper…) because they feel threatened (in various ways) by multiculturalism, progressive economics, and changing societies. We need to show as many of these folks as possible that we can go forward together without all the vile hatred… that there is room in this world for difference, caring for others, and social justice. There is a large group of people that has been neglected and hurt by the past 20 years of change and progress. Small towns across Ontario have been amalgamated losing a lot of their identity and right to make decisions about what happens to their buildings, infrastructure, taxes, and people. The people living in these towns may not have the education that people in Toronto do, but they are smart, capable, and loving people — they include a lot of my family and friends-since-birth. It would do us a lot of good to find out what they want to see in the future of Canada so we don’t fall down a path similar to the one America just has.