Dear America:  It’s Time to Decide Who You Want to Be

Dear America,

We need to talk.

Your 2016 election day is quickly approaching and we want you to know that no one is watching more closely from outside your borders than us Canadians. Most of us feel like we have a real stake in the outcome of this election. And that’s because we do. The economic well being of our two countries is inextricably linked. I’m no expert but I know that Canada relies heavily on our unique trade deals and the Maritimes, in particular, where I’m from, relies heavily on American tourism dollars.

But it’s not just about the money. We care about what happens to you. America is kind of like Canada’s mischievous brother, always getting into trouble wherever he goes and grabbing all the attention. Canada is like the good sibling: The one that causes no trouble, and sometimes feels overshadowed.

But we are family, none-the-less. With every tragedy that strikes within your borders, we grieve alongside you. Every mass shooting; every terrorist attack. We’ve watched, horrified, as the recent string of police shootings and their chaotic aftermath unfolded. Unable to look away but wanting to understand. Many of us feel frustrated, as we know you do too, because we know there is a better way.

But never have we been so confused as we have watching the events of this Presidential election unfold. How a dangerous, narcissistic asshat like Donald Trump even became the Republican nominee is incomprehensible to many of us. The epitome of negativity and chaos, Trump’s rhetoric is frighteningly close to that of another historical leader – you know who –  the one who started a World War and tried to exterminate an entire population of people.

no-joke

Don’t get us wrong. Canadians have had our share of troubles with elections that turn nasty.  Our last federal election had its share of moments. We had to choose between some very opposing views.  One anti-immigration and borderline racist, the other bright, sunny and all-inclusive.  We had to decide what kind of country we wanted to be: One that reached out its hand to fellow global citizens in need, or pushed them away to protect ourselves from our own irrational fears.

But even Stephen Harper can’t hold a candle to Trump. His racist and sexist statements, his lack of respect for President Obama and the other candidates, and his complete inability to admit when he’s wrong, has been well documented and doesn’t even bear repeating. But perhaps his most frightening strategy of all is his attempt to instill distrust in the electoral system. The system is rigged he says, and he hasn’t decided whether he will indeed concede defeat, if (and hopefully when) that time comes. This is dangerous territory, indeed.

The only way to show the world what kind of country you truly want to be is to go to the polls on Tuesday and send a message that Trump’s kind of thinking will not be tolerated, and to do so in such a resounding way that even Trump will be forced to accept the results.

We believe that you will do what needs to be done.

We are your neighbours, friends and family. And if Trump wins, we’ll be here to welcome you, but we hope it doesn’t come to that. Your country is already great, and it could be even greater, but Trump is not the one to take you there.

make-america-migrate

We’ll be watching closely on Tuesday, and we’ll be sending all our love and positive vibes from the Great White North. So please, Make America Great Again, and send Trump packing.  For all of our sakes.

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There’s Nothing New Under the Sun (Except Absolutely Everything)

Earlier today I posted this photo and caption on Instagram:

It got me thinking about this concept.  If there really is nothing new under the sun and we’re all destined to repeat the same tedious and mind-numbing cycles over and over again, why do we even bother?

Why do we get up in the morning?  Why even step outside the door?

Why do we bother to travel and explore the world, if it’s all been seen before?

And that got me thinking about that Barenaked Ladies song, “It’s All Been Done”.  Here it is, because I know you’re all singing it in your heads now:

I understand it can be frustrating, when you’re trying to be original and create something truly unique, only to find that it’s been done already.  So, what’s a gal to do?

I say, do it anyway.

Whatever it is, it hasn’t been done by you.  That story hasn’t been told by you.  And so really, it hasn’t been told at all.

This is not permission to plagiarize someone else’s work, please do not misunderstand me.  But we have to give ourselves permission to be creative, even in this exceedingly ‘it’s all been done’ time we live in.

Elizabeth Gilbert wrote a great book about living a creative life, called Big Magic.  In it, she discusses the difference between originality and authenticity.  She says, “These days, I’m far more moved by authenticity.  Attempts at originality can often feel forced and precious, but authenticity has quiet resonance that never fails to stir me.  Just say what you want to say, then, and say it will all your heart.  Share whatever you are driven to share.  If it’s authentic enough, believe me – it will feel original“.  Smart lady.

The same concept applies when exploring the world.  If it’s the first time you’ve been somewhere, explore it like you’re the first to set foot there.  Because, to you, it is the first time and it feels the same anyway.  I can tell you that the sense of wonder I feel when I hike a new forest path or visit a new-to-me place is not in the least diminished by the knowledge that thousands of people have been there before me.

So, let’s take the sage advice of the folks at The North Face and Never Stop Exploring.  

never stop exploring

Because yes, there is nothing new under the sun.

Except absolutely everything.