I am having a very hard time with the election results.
I feel like I’ve been having a near-constant anxiety attack since Wednesday morning.
Part of it, I know, is that P’s nighttime sleep is particularly terrible at the moment, and lack of sleep is a major trigger for my anxiety. I am sure I would not be feeling quite as awful as I am if I had been facing a Trump presidency well-rested.
I would still have been feeling awful.
Maybe I shouldn’t be as sad and frightened as I am. After all, I am Canadian, not American. I couldn’t vote in the election. He’s not going to be my president. And I’m white, middle-class, heterosexual, and of Christian heritage (if an agnostic now). I could argue that I’m not one of his major targets for intolerance, insult, and hate.
Except, I am, of course, because I’m a woman. And as Trump made it abundantly clear during his campaign, he doesn’t care about women. He doesn’t respect women or their bodies (and don’t get me started on women’s autonomy over their own bodies). He bragged about sexually assaulting women and then normalized the assault by claiming it was “locker-room talk”, as though it is just something men do, gosh darn it, can’t help themselves.
I think he is vile.
And while he may not be my president, his presidency is going to affect and shape my country.
Not just because he claims he wants to rethink NAFTA.
If he pulls the USA hard to the right, Canada will have our hands tied on so many issues.
His poisonous platform that relies on inciting fear of the “other” could creep up north of the border.
In our last federal election, one of the defining moments was when the Conservative party (then in government with a majority) revealed their plan for a “barbaric cultural practices” hotline in which you would be encouraged to dob in your neighbour for doing strange and frightening things (translation: not taking the kids to hockey and stopping at Tim Horton’s on the way back home).
It was revolting.
It was disgraceful.
And it was decisively rejected by the Canadian electorate.
The Conservatives relied heavily in their campaign on fear and intolerance and Canadians all across the country stood up and said (politely, because after all, we are Canadians), “No, thank you. That’s not who we are.”
We gave Justin Trudeau and his Liberals a majority government, something which the polls had not suggested was within striking distance.
THE DAY AFTER Trump won, the same Conservative MP who had been the face behind the barbaric cultural practices hotline, and who is now a contender for the leadership of that party, went on the record saying that Trump’s win was “an exciting message” that was needed in Canada.
I hope registered Conservatives reject her embrace of intolerance just as decisively as the general voting public did in October 2015.
I hope we do not follow the same path as Brexit, as Trump, as the rise of right-wing parties in Europe. I hope we continue to champion freedom and equality.
But even if we do, it seems like we’re going to be the lone voice crying out in the wilderness, and there’s only so much one country can do.
I am so sad for Hillary Clinton.
I so sad for women everywhere.
I am so angry that competence and intelligence and experience could be twisted into something negative, reasons to vote against a candidate rather than for her.
I am so afraid of the damage that can be done in four years.
It is a measure of my anxiety that one of the first thoughts I had on Wednesday, when I realized Trump would be president was this:
“I better get Q. to hurry up and get P.’s Australian citizenship sorted so we can get her a passport. Then at least he’d be able to take both kids and get out of the country if it came to that.”
I said this to Q. a few days later. I was trying to reassure myself, to make it into a bit of a joke.
It turns out Q. had thought the exact same thing.
Our current prime minister’s father, when he was prime minister, famously once compared Canada’s relationship with the U.S. to be like sleeping next to an elephant. He said, “No matter how friendly and even-tempered is the beast, one is affected by every twitch and grunt.”
What happens when the elephant throws a giant temper tantrum in bed?
Friday was Remembrance Day. I bought E. a poppy and he wore it all week. We had lots of questions from him about the symbolism of the poppy. I told him over and over how lucky we were to live in a safe country, to enjoy freedom and prosperity. E. said he didn’t like thinking about the reason we wear the poppy. I agreed with him, but said it was important to spend at least one day every year remembering those who fought and died so that we could be free and safe. I told him it was a reminder of how terrible the world wars were and a promise that there would never be another one.
I have always, always believed that.
Now, I’m not so sure.