Thursday, November 17, 2016

America is Dead to Me

I have been meaning to write this post since before the American election, before I ever would have believed that Donald Trump could ever win the presidency.

Words failed me. Words still fail me, but I'll struggle through. Please bear with me.

My daughters asked me what I would do if the Republican candidate won over Hillary Clinton, the only person in that election who had any credentials for the office. They had asked me a similar question, more than a year ago, when Canadians were in the midst of our own election.

The campaigns had similar issues: tougher immigration laws, steeped in racial profiling.

During our election, I told my girls that if the Conservative Party won another majority, we would leave the country, maybe move to Scotland or Ireland. My daughters were excited at the prospect: I was terrified.

Luckily, it never came to pass. Canadians spoke out against the incumbent political party with an overwhelming voice, and that party of hate and division was shown the door.

It doesn't mean the prejudice and intolerance went away: it just wasn't allowed to lead the country.

So, my daughters asked me what I would do if Donald Trump became President of the United States. "I would never set foot in that country again," I said, "but it won't come to that."

And, as the election day drew near, and as the polls were showing that Hillary Clinton would easily win the Oval Office, I started to think: did I really want to visit a country that was that polarized? Where hate and intolerance was that pronounced?

No, my inner voice told me. I can't, in good conscience, go to a country that is that messed up, is that dysfunctional. Even under a Democrat leader, the United States has shown itself to be full of more racist, uneducated, and violent people than I ever imagined. My American friends and family are in a minority, are a rare example of what can be great for that country. But if I were to ever see them again, be with them in the same room, they would have to come to Canada or we would have to meet in another country.

I will never return to the United States. Never. Ever.

And then, the seemingly impossible became reality. Trump actually won the election.

I felt like Charlton Heston, as George Taylor in Planet of the Apes, when he came across the broken Statue of Liberty. “You blew it up!" I cried. "Ah, damn you! God damn you all to hell!” 

America is dead to me.

And as the hatred in that country is given legitimacy, as the new administration is assembled like the orcs in Lord of the Rings, I turn my back, as I do with North Korea, with any other country led by an unstable dictator.

To sum up my major reason for turning my back on our neighbouring country to the south, I will let the late, great George Carlin speak for me:

America is lost. I grieve for my friends who remain in the fallout.

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