Monday, 14 November 2016

Buckle Up

Hi everyone! It's JeninCanada and I wrote something I felt I just had to say out loud. It's been quite a week, hasn't it? Leonard Cohen died, I'm being transferred (by my request) to a new branch, my mom and sister in law were in town this weekend for a visit and Donald Trump is president elect of the United States. Enjoy the text wall, or watch the video below. Sorry for the weird sound quality.

There's a lot I could write that's already been said by others, and probably more cohesively and with greater eloquence, about that garbage nightmare Trump's win. Election night, like many of you, I said watching the results roll in; first with elation, then with trepidation. I went to bed sometime near midnight after a couple of rum and cokes and cried my heart out. I prayed to Ma'at and Athena for justice, for civilization and basically for the future. It was for naught. I woke in the morning, got the kids out the door to school, and went back to bed for another two hours and cried some more. Hillary Clinton, despite being one of, if not THE most qualified candidates in history, would not become the next president of the United States.

Despite being Canadian, I feel like someone has died. Election night, as Kat was getting ready for bed and the dream was still strong, I told her: When you get  up in the morning, a woman like me and you is going to be in charge of the most powerful country in the world." Florida made me a liar. Goddamn you Florida, can't you ever get it right? Seriously though, I am in mourning as so many other women and men are. We needed Hillary to win. We needed to see that the world would continue onwards and upwards, hope and change, spinning forward into a better, brighter tomorrow. But it didn't. It's four years of backsliding into 1942 and how quickly and ugly it is is breathtaking.

My heart breaks for all of the people who are now, more than ever, living in fear for their safety and security, and even their lives. It breaks for the children being told by their peers they're going to be 'sent home' to a country they've never even been too, or that their parents are going to be taken away from them. It breaks for the people of faith, Muslims and Hindus (because who can tell them apart, amirite? They all wear that thing on their heads! Send 'em all home!) who are going to be further targeted for hatred and violence. The suicide prevention lines for LGBTQ people have been jammed and trans suicides spiked. What hope is there for them when Mike Pence, Mr. Gay Shock Therapy, is the Vice President?

What hope is there for our land and water when you have a climate change denier in a top post? What kind of world will my grandchidren grow up in? What hope is there for education when Trump's gone and put a creationist in charge of education? SARAH PALIN IS HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR. Drill baby drill! She can't see Russia from her house any more but she can see dollar signs in Yosemite park.

It's a frightening time to be alive for Americans. For the rest of us, we're thankful to not be, but as I share the longest undefended border in the world with them, and our economies and yes, even culture, is so interwoven, it didn't take long for the hate to bubble up here too. Like the faint gassy smell of Toronto's downtown, racism and white supremacy has always been a thing in Canada but now those folks, the Soldiers of Odin and the Conservative Party of Canada, look south and say "See! SEE! If they can do it, we can do it!" An Ottawa elementary school had a swastika spray painted on it over the weekend, with a KKK beside that for good measure. One of the candidates for the leadership of the Conservatives actually, and with out irony, praised Trump's win and said we need to bring his kind of anti-elitist politics here.

Over my dead body.

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders aren't giving up. The Democrats are an absolute mess right now but I believe that they'll sort themselves out, learn from this embarrassing and disasterous defeat, and address their failings in time for the 2018 elections. When I told Gabe that Hillary didn't win, and asked him what we were going to do, he said "Move to the United States and help out so things aren't too bad there?" I was so proud of him. Then I said "No way in hell. But we ARE going to do everything we can to make sure that a person like Trump NEVER gets close to running Canada."

I hope the Liberals and the NDP take note as well; white, rural Americans voted overwhelmingly for Trump for a variety of reasons; Prejudice has always clung to the edges of the map-cities are the great melting pots of a country. If you've spent your whole life in Small Town USA and never interacted with a Muslim or an African American or a lesbian except what you saw on TV, heard on talk radio or learned from your Small Town Parents, then you're going to believe Trump when he says Mexican are rapists, Blacks are thugs, and Muslims are terrorists. Being a rural American also means having watched as your government bowed to the will of massive multinational corporations for generations and shipped all the 'good jobs' overseas, destroyed the unions that made your grandfather's quality of life possible, and ruined the environment. These awful changes affected the cities as well, and it should go without saying but it still needs saying anyway, and affected women and minorities worse than anyone else, but did those groups vote for Trump? NO they did not. They voted overwhelmingly for Hillary.

The difference is women and minorities don't have a convenient scapegoat; they ARE the scapegoat. They get thrown under the bus of white male anger and Trump becomes president elect. And the same types of problems exist in Canada-rural Canada is very Conservative. They like their rifles and their atvs and their small town living and they don't like anyone who's different. They like the good old days when jobs were plentiful and paid well and the world at large wasn't so damn scary and messed up. The Baby Boomers ruined the economy and now they've voted in some more of the same to try and fix it? That's the definition of insanity.

Just to be clear; a vote for Trump because a person thought that he'd fix the economy was also very much a vote for racism, sexism, xenophobia and homophobia. A vote for Trump was a vote for letting big business and white supremacists into the White House. It was a vote for setting back the clock to 1942. The next four years are going to be a VERY bumpy ride. Buckle up, folks.



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