Right now, I can’t bring myself to say his name, so I will simply call him the President Elect.
I had a doctor’s appointment first thing this morning and, en route to the bus stop (aside from worrying about how my blood pressure would be) I noticed that my usually friendly neighbours were barely looking at each other; none of the usual smiles and “Good morning’s” were on offer. Instead, this behaviour suggested something more sinister: that we were all just a bit hesitant to state our views on the results of the American election, as though we couldn’t trust that the next person we met might take our opinion the wrong way (regardless of which side you came down on).
When I got home I began reading all the various news and analyses (from a variety of media outlets in Canada, the U.S., and abroad) and discovered that Kellie Leitch had stepped into it, calling the result “an exciting message and one that needs to be delivered in Canada as well.”
What, exactly, is so exciting about electing a man who is openly proud of being a misogynist, a racist, a climate change denier, and a trade-deal-ripper-upper? This is a man who could very likely be functionally illiterate, who couldn’t tell you where Syria is on a map, who has exported American jobs, has cheated on his taxes (and his spouses), and has been accused by more than a dozen women of sexual assault. He has conflicts of interest with so many countries that I am mystified at how he will be able to do even the basics of the presidential job.
Perhaps the aptly homophoned Leitch is referring to how President Elect supporters gush over how much they adore his no-nonsense straight talk. These folks say that they admire and respect someone who “tells the truth”. Tell one of them what you really think, however, like how their President Elect is a member of the corporate elite that is primarily responsible for many of their woes, not politicians and not the media, and you might have to starting running, at high speed, in a zig-zag pattern to avoid whatever they may throw or shoot at you.
On Twitter, the hashtag #ProudToBeCanadian was trending. Many Americans took umbrage, telling Canadians that their election had nothing to do with us. As the United States’ biggest trading partner, as a provider of oil, electricity and water, I beg to differ. It has everything to do with us.
What happens next, unlike a rollicking Vegas weekend, will not stay within American borders, as we’ve already seen by the thousands of apoplectic investors snapping up gold bullion. Any American who thinks that this election is only about them is wrong. You can’t set yourself up as the hero of the free world, with the world’s largest economy, but then think and act like a banana republic. Many years ago, America opened its doors to the tired, the poor, and the huddled masses yearning to breathe free. Now, it seems as though a bad case of buyer’s remorse has set in. “United” States indeed.