Right off the bat, let me clarify: this is not the outcome I’m wishing for (like most sane human beings) but the one I think will take place. It may be argued that we as Canadians may not be directly affected by whatever happens in this U.S. election. But let me remind you we’re talking about the United States. And in this hemisphere, EVERYTHING that happens to our big brother to the south affects us all. It affects the world, really. It is, after all, the world’s most powerful nation. So yes, of course all eyes will be watching the outcome of this election— probably “the” most important election in recent history.
At the beginning of the year I wrote an editorial about why I thought Trump was giving a voice to those people who felt they were losing the hold on something that had been theirs for so long. Like Archie Bunker, whose character was created as somewhat of a joke, Trump was saying all the things that were in the minds of those people reluctant to change and progress. In losing something to the modern world, they were also losing power. And like with Archie Bunker, the joke stopped being funny the minute those voices became louder.I would argue that some of those voices are still silent and will only speak on the day of the election…with their vote. I suspect there will be a lot of voices— a lot of unsuspected voices— clamouring for a reversal to a status quo that will strip our sister nation of the advances that have taken so much time, efforts and sacrifice to achieve. Like Archie Bunker, Donald Trump went from being a joke to becoming the most feared man in the world. I saw it in the desperation of Bill Maher on his last “Real Time” show. I’m hearing it in the despair and anguish of President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama and all those Hilary and to some degree Bernie supporters asking everyone who’ll hear to go out and vote. I even hear it in Canadian media (those of us watching this whole mess unfold as mere observers): how did it get to this? Are Americans really going to let this happen?
At the root of it all is Donald Trump, who’s really not a politician. This election is not about ideology. This election is about opportunity; a realm that this man knows all too well. The greatest opportunity right now is that the world has been at peace for way too long. War is profitable. The opportunity is even more ripe for the picking because both Republicans and Democrats have failed to connect with the American people for so long. As a business man, Trump saw this opportunity and the void and he just took it and ran with it. Like any lessons learned (and history is inundated with so many examples), he told the people whatever they wanted to hear in order to get the prize. He knows what buttons to push, he’s a master at getting people riled up and up in arms. This is what he does for a living. I will agree with him that some talents and gifts are innate. You’re born with them. But just by virtue of having those talents and born-with gifts doesn’t mean they’re going to be used for good and not evil. When they come paired with the twisted mind and fascist ideas of a dictator in the making, filled with racism, gender bias and even the unapologetic behaviour of a sexual predator, well, there is just too many variables for the outcome to be a good one for the country and for the world. Nothing good can come of this and history is proof of that.
He also knows that at the root of conservatism is the idea that “the past always looks better than the present”. The dark side of that statement— and one that Trump has capitalized on from the very beginnings of his campaign— is the idea (and the terror it incites) that the changes the US is slowly and painstakingly building in social development— things like women gradually earning the same wages as men, equal rights, health for all, visible minorities having the same opportunities as their white counterparts, gender equality, just to name a few— will in turn take the power away from those who have had it for so long. Trump, who in my humble opinion is a very smart and savvy business man (in spite all the losses he’s had in his business dealings…after all, isn’t that at the core of business? To be a risk-taker?), saw the terror it elicited in those who were about to lose power. That terror, paired with the now unsurmountable void the two main political parties had gradually created due to their disconnect with regular people, and voila, the rise of Trumpism was born. Dictatorship 101. Really, not unlike many other fascist dictatorships of the past.
This is only one more example of history repeating itself. And it is so much more scary because every single one of us is watching it happen (literally) right before our eyes (something generations past didn’t have a chance to do) on social media and all other mediums. There is no doubt in my mind that future generations will look at this moment in history and think, “What the fuck were these people thinking? Did they not see this coming?” And like any other period of history, there will really not be a logical explanation for it. Plus who are we kidding? The winning side will tell (and teach) their version of what transpired. And the losing side…well, God help us all.
Like I said at the beginning of the year, I really, really, really hope I’m wrong about this. For the sake of the world, I hope the American people choose right. Well, somewhat right because I also do believe that Hilary is only the lesser of two evils. But, sadly, it doesn’t look good. Time will tell.