Canada has enjoyed a peaceful and friendly relationship with the United States for many years, except for one little spat – the war of 1812 – which Canada, then a colony of Britain, won. The two countries share, and have been proud of having the world’s longest undefended border (in the military sense as civilian border controls are in place), some 8,891 kilometers. We have always gotten along well as we are two democratic countries with similar values and customs.
Canadians shared the shock and hurt after the attack on the Twin Towers. We, in North America, lost our security blanket and felt vulnerable. If it could happen in the US, it could happen to us too. Then along came “The Donald.” A threat much broader and deeper than the one-time attack of 9-11.
We knew Trump as a reality show host, a program we mostly ignored. We heard about his marriages, his divorces, his bankruptcies. In the early days of the election process, which goes on much too long, we watched and laughed. He couldn’t possibly become the Republican candidate, but he did.
As the campaign progressed, we scoffed when he said the US should never have given Canada its independence—news flash, you never owned Canada, when he slammed our health care system, when he called us “Snow Mexicans,” and when he threatened to build a wall to keep Canadians in Canada where we belong. Frankly, Trump, we have no interest in visiting or invading a US with you as the president.
In the last few weeks before Election Day, we succumbed to an uncontrollable obsession with the candidates and the debates. We read every report on Trump, thinking all the while that if the media stopped talking about him, he would fade into the woodwork. Surely no one would vote for a racist, a cheat, a liar, a man who bragged about his sexual assaults.
On election night, we watched in shock and mounting horror as the results came in. The Canadian immigration website crashed at about 10:30 pm that night due to a traffic surge and calls to immigration lawyers spiked. “Stay home,” we said. “Fix the mess you made.”
Reports of the racist attacks in the US the very next day confirmed our worst fears. Trump had opened Pandora’s Box, unleashed the monster that threatens to destroy the western world. The whole world?
Is it really that bad?
The people he is gathering around him, the white supremacists, the Nazis (let’s not resort to euphemisms) serve to exacerbate tensions and fear. We’ve entered a second age of Hitler, a rewind to the 30s.
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Given the choices Trump has made in assembling his team, would they allow him to put a stop to the direction that he has taken in his “make America Great Again” movement which is not an expression of the whole Republican Party. Note, that’s assuming Trump would want to. Or is the snowball already too big for any one person to stop?
Add Trump’s flip-flopping on key issues and you have a leader who cannot be trusted on any issues.
Can Trump be stopped by the press?
Not with the current “wait and see policy.” The monster has come out from under the bed and is hovering over us, claws bared. The desperate need for media heroes grows daily. Instead, studio executives and reporters pander to Trump. “Welcome to the evening news. We’ll tell you what to think.” This is the current stance of the major networks.
Action is imperative. The protests we’ve seen to date are not enough. Democrats get your heads out of the sand and step up to save your country. This call also goes out to Republicans who see Trump for what he truly is.
Why are we scared and worried here in the safety of our quiet little country?
Because the hate is already bleeding into Canada. Racist threats, swastikas, posters calling for whites to join the alt-right movement…. Of course the seeds of racism were already there, both in the US and in Canada, but Trump gave people permission to spew their hatred freely, societal controls and norms be damned.
And this appeared in my news feed this morning, a message to counter conservative hopeful Kelly Leitch “As white supremacists march across America, Kellie Leitch, a leadership contender for the Conservatives wants to bring Trump’s hate-filled politics north of the border. Her former staff have already spoken out against her xenophobic campaign. And if we overwhelmingly reject her poisonous politics we can show Conservatives that they’ll never win a general election with her at the helm.”
We’re also afraid for the world.
THEN: One man whipped a populace into a frenzy and we got World War II.
NOW: One man whipped a populace into a frenzy and we’ll get _____?
The blank can be filled in with any number of possibilities. After all, Trump will have access to the nuclear codes.
Remember, in 1932 people thought Hitler could be stopped. In 2016 some Americans are already openly channeling Nazi sentiment—Heil Trump: And what are we doing? Posting on social media, spreading the word, supporting Americans as best we can, and, most importantly, treating each other kindly and hoping that will be enough to counter the threat to our liberties. Our diversity is beautiful—it’s what makes us great and it’s now what is threatened.
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