It’s been kind of a crazy week. To put it mildly.
In my last post, I implored the American people to kick Trump and his hateful rhetoric to the curb. So sure was I, that they would do the right thing, and do it decisively that I never even bothered to think what would happen if I was wrong.
And I was sooo wrong. I watched stunned, as so many across North America did, as Donald Trump became President of the United States. President. Of the United States.
Now, some Americans might wonder why Canadians care so much about the outcome of their election. It’s simple for all the reasons I stated in my previous post. What happens in the U.S. almost certainly will have impacts on the lives of Canadians, in direct and indirect ways.
Some people are calling Trump’s win Whitelash, or white supremacy’s last stand in America. And when I see how women and minorities are being targeted and assaulted post election, it’s hard to disagree with that. It’s like every hateful thought anyone has ever had has been validated and normalized. I’m afraid these behaviours will seep across our border, into our neck of the woods. We’ve fought so hard to become a more accepting and inclusive society, we must not step backwards. My Canada includes all races and cultures. My Canada is kind. My Canada supports all its citizens.
Sometimes it feels like Canada is an island of hope in a sea of hate and ignorance. Not that we don’t have racism and discrimination in this country, we most certainly do. But we decided during our last federal election what kind of country we wanted to be; one in which the persecuted of the world could escape to and be safe. We must be vigilant in protecting these ideals.
Experts say that white America feels threatened, like they are losing their country. And I’m sure there are people who feel that way here. But where did this idea come from? A place cannot be owned by any one group of people. It can’t be owned by anyone.
We belong to this place, this place doesn’t belong to us.
We are its stewards; its caretakers only. Canada doesn’t belong to us, and it never did.
As if Trump’s win this week wasn’t enough to send you over the edge, Leonard Cohen passed away, at the age of 82. The Canadian singer/songwriter/poet extraordinaire, who gave us such iconic classics as the much-covered Hallelujah, among so many others.
It’s a melancholy song that perfectly matches many of our feelings this past week. So much so, that SNL decided to have Kate MacKinnon open with it, in character as Hillary Clinton. It was a powerful and cathartic moment.
We can take some comfort from the last verse of the song, with its themes of resilience and hope for the future:
I did my best, it wasn’t much
I couldn’t feel, so I tried to touch
I’ve told the truth, I didn’t come to fool you
And even though
It all went wrong
I’ll stand before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah