It has been a week and a half (or probably even longer by the time I get around to posting this) since the A-bomb dropped, leaving the entire world standing frozen to the ground, mouths gaping open, disbelief filling our hearts, swirling our minds into a complete and utter state of shock.
Obviously, I am not referring to an actual atomic bomb landing on America, although from the fallout, it certainly feels like the USA (and a large chunk of the rest of the world) is in mourning over the devastating turn of events. I’m talking, of course, about the recent US election, most notably, the puzzling election of Donald Trump as president. Regardless of whether you are a Republican or a Democrat, I think it is safe to say Trump winning the election came as a surprise.
I, like many, have been trying to process the fact that someone as unqualified, racist, sexist, misogynistic, and extreme as Donald Trump could have possibly been elected by a majority of voters. Along with that new, mind-boggling reality, I’ve been silently asking myself why, as a Canadian (and living in Canada) am I so upset, and feel so deeply affected about the US election results? On the surface, some might say well the US and Canada need to have like-minded officials in charge, given the historical close ties and trade agreements which exist. Sure, that is a valid statement I guess but I think there is more to it than that.
The uneasiness and anxiety that I personally feel reflecting upon the events of the past couple weeks has really nothing to do with my feelings towards international business relations and really much more with my feelings towards humanity as a whole.
I know I am not alone in my feelings about this, yet I still find myself wondering ‘Why am I so upset?’.Yes, OK, I am a female and I am Caucasian, and I live a middle-class life, so I am not Trump’s ultimate target of hate and verbal abuse. Although, he has done and said more than enough offensive things towards women (and society) in general for me to be concerned (and I am).
However, I don’t think that isn’t the reason that I, along with so many others, feared and mourned his victory. As plenty of others around the world did too I’m sure, I walked around in a cloud of sadness and bewilderment for a number of days after hearing and seeing the shocking election results.
Then, as I was walking down the street on my lunch break about a week ago, it hit me. I finally began to understand why the news of Trump’s .electoral victory, despite not affecting me, or my fellow Canadians directly, was so very unsettling; We all would like to believe that people are basically good human beings. No matter how exciting the drama is, or how entertaining it maybe to watch others suffer, at the end of the day, we like (need, want, wish) to believe that there is good inside everyone.
Learning and accepting that Trump and his hate-filled campaign had succeeded meant that there was a significant amount of people [well, at least Americans anyway] that agreed with his racist, demeaning, small minded, stance. More importantly, they did not just agree with him, they wanted to see, hear, spread more of it, and allowed (read: enabled) him to fill the most powerful role in the whole country to do so.
The majority of Americans were in favour of hate, racism, intolerant, closed-mindedness. How could this be? More than half the country voted to go back in time and hand power over to someone who not only had no practical experience whatsoever but also clearly loudly and proudly expressed such a strong hate towards basically anyone who is not white, mail and privileged; what had happened? Where did we as humanity fail so badly?
It is this concept, rather than the specifics of the person in charge, that I think is so upsetting and unsettling to most. In the year 2016, opinions and prejudices are reverting back to the small-minded, uninformed, uneducated, intolerant voices of 50+ years past. How can this be viewed as moving forward and building not only a strong US, but a strong, cohesive world for humanity? I have no answer. I am, to this day, still completely baffled.
So, with no answer or logical reasoning for me to understand how something so crazy has transpired, there is nothing else to do but accept the new reality. While the general principle of believing that people were born good may be somewhat broken, I think the only way to move on from the devastation is to accept that the voters exercised their votes the way they did, and continue to fight for and believe that kindness and love are greater than fear mongering and hate.
Hug your little ones extra tight and use the terrifying reality that Trump is going to be in charge of a country as big and powerful as America for the next four years as fuel and motivation to raise our children as forward-thinking, kind, tolerant and empathetic as possible. Now more than ever we need to believe and instill in our kids the concept that love us far greater than hate. ❤