Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Donald Trump - How the Same Thing is Going to Go Down in Canada

You've probably heard the remarks and rumours of Democrat-Americans coming to take refuge in Canada post-election, fleeing from the anarchy that will imminently ensue. Maybe this has made you cringe for your friends to the south or maybe you inwardly giggle or feel a little proud to be from a country that in so many ways stands for freedom, compassion, and equality. But from where I sit, I think those Americans might want to think twice about where they are fleeing to. And where do I sit, you ask...Well, I would like to sit somewhere where political discussion is vibrant, progressive, and productive. I would like sit somewhere where people can see through left and right ideologies to the common goals they hold—security, family, economy, and justice. But instead I find I am sitting smack dab in the middle of an ever-expanding no-mans-land between the political left and right in this country. The left is blind to the indignation of those around them and self-righteous to the point that they freely sling hateful comments like racist, bigot, and misogynist at every hint of disagreement, and the right feels taken advantage of, abused, unheard, and under-represented and eventually lashes out.

Wait a minute! Aren't these the exact same conditions that led to the rise of an (IMO) extremist for president?

When the dust settled after the recent American election and the votes were all counted, what became clear was that the divide between Republican and Democrat voters largely came down to one divide—rural and urban. And in this case, I'm going to surmise that rural Americans were tired of being left out of the political equation, they were angry at a leftist media that both misrepresented and under-represented them (those results sure did come as a surprise!), their social and economic situations were increasingly stressed, they favoured a less-talk-more-action approach, so to speak, and they wanted to be heard.

Canada, is this ringing any bells?

Trump didn't happen overnight, not even close. And he didn't happen because the people who voted for him were all racist, hater, hill-billies and, if you that’s what you think, you'd best take a careful look at your own biases. No. He happened because good people were not heard and cared for by the institution for many years, and people felt abused, and others felt righteous and wouldn't listen. Then both sides got angry and the political divide grew until conversation stopped and the divide was so great that only a revolution would change the situation. From that was born Donald Trump. The left in America bears as much responsibility for the unfortunate goings-on of this election as the right. And if we Canadians think we are in some way immune to this, we'd better wake up and smell the Tim Horton’s, because here's a few things happening right here at home...

Conservative voters and even the former prime minister endure all manners of hateful comments-- racist, hater, bigot, etc.--during the 2015 election campaign. The right feels abused.

Conversations regarding legislation, immigration, foreign policy, and military intervention degrade quickly to accusations of fear-mongering and racism. The right feels misunderstood.

The West resents years of crippling, liberal-dictated economic policies that see profits shipped eastwards while receiving little in return. The right feels taken advantage of.

The West feels angry when, finally in their hour of need, the once again left-dominated institution responds with a slap-in-the-face carbon tax tempered by a petulant pat on the head of meager assistance provided to their crippled economy. The West feels abandoned and further disenfranchised.

The leftist media... Well, where does one even start with that? Our major political parties completely at odds with it for obvious reasons, a shameless eastern and liberal bias that the west and conservatives are forced to not only endure but pay for. The left doesn't even see it. The right feel misrepresented.

The electoral system is set to perform at Ontario's whim time and time again while the rest of the country just hopes for the best. People feel powerless and voiceless.

Our newly elected prime minister touts his victory as 'hope' triumphing over 'fear'. Canadians applaud at this grossly over-simplified statement which glorifies political extremes and shames conservative voters in the process. The divide grows.

The right, tired of being on the wrong end of insults, policy, and government lashes out. The right moves further right. The left feels offended, righteous and sees this as further justification of their position and efforts. The left moves further left.

One might argue that these are just perceptions, biases, pieces of the picture—of course they are--but these feelings of resentment and righteousness are real and they are an ever-growing source of political polarity and discourse in this country.  This divisive reality persists and grows, little different from what happened in the United States. Canada’s disgruntled right feels angry and voiceless, and our left feels righteous. Conversation stops. Our own revolution is imminent. Wake up, Canada.

Here in Canada we have two choices, we  can either learn from the events that have transpired in the US or we can imminently repeat history. We can drop the insults, the regional discrimination, the political extremism on both sides, we can consider the follies of our electoral system and revise them, we can address the biases of our media, or we can damn well swallow whatever form of a bitter pill our own revolution will take because it will be no one's fault but our own. We can sling insults back and forth over the political fence while we nurse wounded egos and hurt feelings or we can have a damn conversation. 

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