I Might Be Canadian, But I Am Grieving For America

Just a few short days ago I forced my eyes open until 3am – impatiently waiting for the heart-wrenching confirmation: “Donald Trump will be the next President of the United States of America”.

I began live-blogging the election at 6pm that evening, chronicling every major announcement, as well as my own reactions – as a Hillary supporter.

When Donald won the first two states, I told myself, relax, it’s early. CNN also pretty blatantly told me this… over and over again.

However, as the hours went on, my fear and anxiety, with each CNN announcement, intensified… as did the looks on many of the TV correspondents faces.

They were shocked.

I was shocked.

The world was in shock.

But I had not yet lost hope… I was waiting on Florida… waiting on Pennsylvania.

At 9:45pm I listened as CNN confirmed that the Republicans had won the house – which meant that there was no longer a path in sight for the Democrats to take back control of the house.

And this frightened me.

If Donald Trump’s Republican party were to win the house, the senate, and the Presidency… he would be even more powerful than if he were to just be President…

I again got very scared at 10:04pm – when breaking news hit that the dow futures were down nearly 500 points… the stock market suffering each time Trump’s poll rates gained momentum.

This told me that the market was nervous… that people were scared… that a strong consensus believed that a government under the leadership of Donald Trump – created an unstable and unpredictable economy.

It also told me that people were already losing hope.

At 10:25pm, CNN announced that Trump had won the key state of Ohio – and claimed that no President had ever won without winning the state of Ohio.

At this point, I began to panic.

At 10:57pm – after a lengthly, up and down count – Trump won Florida.

At 12:21am – CNN discussed a complex idea… concerning the “Hidden Trump Vote”. This discussion became relevant as newscasters fought to make sense of the incoming results…. results they themselves had not seen coming… that the world had not assumed would ever truly come.

The idea behind the ‘Hidden Trump Vote’ is that many America’s felt afraid or shamed to admit their allegiance to Trump, and therefore claimed themselves undecided, or didn’t respond to polls – creating a lack in credible evidence towards the true support Trump was receiving from voters behind closed doors.

The Hidden Trump Vote – led to the world to believe Donald Trump didn’t have a chance – because the data (gained from people willing to take a honest and outspoken stance) told us he didn’t…

At 1:45am – CNN announced that Trump had won Alaska and Pennsylvania, and in this moment, I knew it was over.

More votes continued to file in, and although Hillary’s campaign manager took the stage to encourage people to go home to sleep while the rest of the result came in… they knew it was already over too.

I was stunned, nauseous, shaken, hurt, upset, scared, and numb… all at the same time.

I also honestly didn’t really believe it – how could I? It seemed so absurd!

I figured if I went to bed, I’d wake up the next morning and CNN would be all like “Ok, so they recounted and Hillary wins – obviously!”

But when I woke up the next day, I was teary, I wanted to bawl my eyes out… but I couldn’t… because there were other people out there that needed more support than I did – people that need a shoulder, that need literature to help explain what happened, to explain why their is so much permissible hate in the world

….There were people out there who didn’t want to leave their houses… that were asking if they should move their families out of country…. there were women who were being warned by their families to not go out in their hijab… in fear of their own safety.

I may not be American, and yes – I am a privileged heterosexual white woman – but my heart still breaks. My heart breaks for you, and it breaks for us.

I am writing this article for those people… the people who feel they have lost hope… that the goodness in people is gone.

Because I too feel this pain, I feel this sense of loss, and I am grieving with you – and in support of you.

2016 Election Clinton
A woman weeps as election results are announced during Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s election night rally in the Jacob Javits Center glass enclosed lobby in New York, Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

In order to work through this grief, I asked my Facebook friends to comment on their feelings following Trump’s elect….

My friend Danny made this very important point – that I feel, above all, desperately needs to be discussed:

“Please share with your readers what a smack in the face it was to the democratic process, by all those that avoided voting for Clinton OR Trump. Over 6 million people chose to vote for a tertiary party, and OVER 100 MILLION eligible voters opted NOT to vote at all. At the end of the day, people can be upset that someone like Trump is to be the president, but as a society, well over the majority sat back and watched it happen.”

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I couldn’t have said it better myself. Danny and I also continued to discuss the blatant ignorance behind the “Harambe” vote.

Over 11,000 chose to void their vote by voting for a dead gorilla… as a joke.

And to those people we ask: ARE YOU LAUGHING NOW?!

My friend Jane responded to my post by sending me a link about Canadian Conservative MP Kellie Leitch’s comments following Trumps elect: http://www.theglobeandmail.com//news/politics/trump-message-needs-to-come-to-canada-leitch-says-in-tory-leadership-bid/article32760294/?click=sf_globefb.

This article, written by Laura Stone of The Globe and Mail states: “Conservative leadership candidate Kellie Leitch is praising American voters for throwing out “the elites” to elect billionaire Donald Trump to the U.S. presidency and says that same message needs to come to Canada”.

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A scary thought.

Leitch has since been attacked on Twitter over these comments, to which Jane shared with me, “I think Canada has progressed further than the USA…and I don’t think [our nation] will accept this kind of statement – we are very different from the states… thankfully”.

And I agree with her –  I feel that Canada wouldn’t allow this level of hatred… I truly don’t think Donald Trump would have even made it to the ballot here…. Our current Prime Minister is a VOCAL FEMINIST!

And I therefore have to wonder… what will a discussion between Trump and Trudeau look like… will a partnership even be POSSIBLE?

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A writing mentor of mine, Benjamin, had this to say: “DON’T FORGET THE GUY DENIES CLIMATE CHANGE”.

Another very good point.

Women’s rights aside, Trudeau and Trump also don’t agree on the environment.

Let’s discuss this for a second – Donald Trump denies climate change. If we can, for a second, put aside Donald’s racism, sexism, etc. and focus just on this – these claims, on their own, are extremely damaging.

How will America survive with a President who ignores scientific proof?

When the world nations come together to create new plans to ensure the environment is protected, will one of the most powerful nations in the world – America – just say “Yeah we’re gonna pass on this whole save the planet thing”??!

I guess we will see….

One of my contributors, Katie, had this to say:
“Ok let’s assume he’s not going to do all the bad things we think he will. He’s infused so much hatred, fear, and insecurity into the people of America. This is a population of people that already doesn’t trust their governments. It doesn’t matter what happens now, half the population isn’t for him, a percentage of people who DID vote for him only voted for him because they didn’t like Clinton. Terrifying that the most powerful person in the nation was elected because “we don’t like Clinton more than we don’t like trump.”

Another very good point, Katie is right – and this is what scares me most – the extreme hatred. How will people react?

Donald Trump is a man endorsed by the KKK. Yes – the KKK.

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Barrack Obama, the first ever black President of the United States of America, will have to hand over the Presidency to a man endorsed by the KKK…. and there are still people that don’t think this election has been ruled by hate?!

Here’s what my good friend Alexie had to say:
“I truly can’t comprehend the results of last night’s election. I feel like we’ve gone back in time 100 years. I’m devastated. I’m devastated for women in America who will live in a country run by a man who has blatant disregard and disrespect for their rights, bodies, and values. I’m devastated for the LGBTQ+ community who will now live in fear that their right to marriage and right to not be discriminated against, which only recently became a reality, may be torn away so soon after it was granted. I’m devastated for Muslim Americans who are scared to leave their homes in fear of nearly half the country’s population. I’m devastated for people of colour, who had made such progress when America FINALLY elected someone who was NOT white, who will live in a country run by a man who’s endorsed by the KKK. I’m devastated for immigrants who moved to America to create a better life for themselves, and all they moved for may now be in jeopardy.”

So -how can we even being to tackle this?

I have had many conversations in the past few days concerning what parents plan to tell their children about Trump.

I know personally over the last year, my Dad and Step-mom have told my younger brother and sister (when they have asked questions) – that Trump is not a nice man, that he says bad things about women and minorities, and that he is not someone they should look up to as a role model.

In response to my post, here’s a quote from my very own dad:

“As a parent of two young kids, how do I explain to them that saying such rude and ignorant things seems to be OK with the majority of Americans? For my older kids, how do I express my disgust without supporting freedom of speech? Would I want my daughters spoken to or treated like he has in the recent past?

It’s hard to explain to young people how much we really count on the US and that life as we know it could drastically change while Trump is in power.   The world has come a long way, but after last nights vote, you wonder if we all took a giant step back.”

And I don’t think my father is alone in this fear – especially when it comes to harming young women and their perception of their own worth and potential opportunity…

Katie continued her post to me by claiming:
“How many times have you not got a job or an interview or whatever because you’re a woman. You’re better prepared, you’re eloquent, you have all the experience you could possibly need, but you don’t have a penis. While it’s not the core issue here, there is a large portion of the vote that went to trump because she was simply a woman. The smear campaigns targeting Clinton made my blood boil”.

Katie also touched on some more very important points: Bill Clinton and double standards.

“Bill clintons affair(s) while in office should have little to no implication on Hillary’s efficiency as a president – but holy hell did we ever hear about how awful she was for standing by her husband. Her choice to stand by her husband is none of our business. Whether she did it as a way for her to ride his coat tails into office herself (don’t blame her, look at the times they were in) or if she actually took her vows seriously and stayed for better or for worse. Not our business. We never really talked about how Trumps kids are by different women. How all his wives were met while he was married to his previous wife… that HE is a cheater (not his wife). The mans facing bloody child rape charges, but were more concerned about emails that had ALREADY been cleared by the FBI.”

Ahhhhh the emails – thanks for the perfect Segway Katie!

All I want to say about this – is this: I would rather have a President that was cleared by the FBI concerning an investigation into confidential emails, than be sexually assaulted by a world leader who forcefully grabbed me by the pussy – just because he felt, as a celebrity, that it was his RIGHT to touch me.

Done.

Let’s next discuss the implications of racism in this election. My friend Ace posted this very powerful message on Facebook:

“I remember being a 13 year old little black girl and feeling so proud to witness world progression- a black man as president, something I was always told would be impossible. But together, we took steps forward as a nation to bring forth love, acceptance and equality to make the impossible a reality. Today, that 13 year old black girl weeps. She is terrified of the world we live in. Literal tears streamed down my face as I woke to the reality that such a man could be president. I am woke to the reality that hatred, racism, sexism, xenophobia, war, fear, all of those things are real and we have made no progress in teaching each other to love one another despite our indifferences.”

Admittedly, I was in tears after reading this post. Ace is one of the most genuine, warm, and beautiful people I have ever had the privilege of meeting… and to hear the pain she feels due to Trump’s elect, breaks my heart.

But I am not a black woman, and I therefore cannot speak fully on this topic, nor can I try to begin to understand her pain – but I encourage every reader of this article to stand up and stand by your friends – especially those who have been targeted/mistreated/mocked/ridiculed/ and terrorized by Trump – prove you will fight by their side and not let them feel silenced – refuse to let them lose hope, refuse to let them give up fighting the good cause.

Let us not be victims – let us be survivors and supporters – let us listen and work to be understood – let us protest until we are heard.

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For the sake of my journalistic integrity, I think it is important that although my bias here is clear, we also discuss America’s new reality – people voted for Trump, so they must believe in him… there must be something good… so what is it?

Katie said this: “I’ve read a lot going both ways on the racism. I don’t know where I stand here. His actions and his words contradict him every other day and I think that’s scary. He’s blatantly racist and isn’t afraid to say it, but look at the people he has hired. There’s an abundance of coloured people and women in positions of power. Ivanka is leading the ‪#womenwhowork, and I think that this is something to watch very carefully. His actions to date give me a sliver of hope, but his words and his thoughts smash that hope very very quickly”.

Could it be? A glimmer of light? We can only hope…

But I think the biggest problem with Trump’s racism and sexism is that his idea of inclusivity – of “all people” is not the same as Hillary’s, nor the same as the educated feminist.

An educated feminist knows that inclusivity truly means equality for all – those of difference racial backgrounds, various sexual preferences, disabilities, and beyond…

However, Trump’s idea of inclusivity, in my opinion, is hiring a hand-full of black people, or partnering with wealthy black celebrities, that he can say he’s friends with – for the cameras.

Don’t forget – above all – Trump is a publicity man – a reality TV star!

His idea of inclusivity is essentially saying – “I met a Mexican once and I thought he was a good guy….BOOM = this must mean I support equality!”

No – it doesn’t work like that.

Reader Lyssa wrote to me and said:
“If youd like to quote my Nonna, an immigrant to Canada in 1953 because of the war… “When I went to school in Italy we were under the rule of Mussolini. At the time everyone thought he was so good, and so great. When I see Trump I just see the face of Mussolini and I feel sick.” – Anna Di Guglielmo, 86”

This quote struck me. A wise woman of 86 years old is having genuine anxiety due to Trump… a man who reminds her of Mussolini – the leader of the National Fascist Party.

I am heartbroken.

Our anxieties are being riled up – because we know, deep in our souls, that something is very, very, wrong, and we fear how much worse it could get…

That brings me to my next point: “WOMEN WHO SUPPORT TRUMP”… you’ve seen the signs.

But I truly do not understand how any self-respecting woman could justify to herself why Trump was deserving of her vote – I will not ever, ever, ever, understand… and believe me – I have TRIED… I have done my research, I have read both media biases, I have examined history; I have educated myself on the American electoral process…

And still – I know Trump, undoubtedly, to be a complete and utter bigot.

The problem is – I think Trump truly believes that he supports women – because of examples (used by him) like through his daughter Ivanka – being a business powerhouse!

But MR. TRUMP, PLEASE DO NOT FORGET – Ivanka is a beautiful, thin, blonde, rich, white woman and is not part of the “average” demographic in America. Ivanka has yes, likely worked hard in her field, but she was also raised with some of the highest level of privilege…. advanced schooling, tutors, money, opportunity through family connections…

THIS CANNOT BE IGNORED.

THIS HAS CONDITIONED HER TO HAVE THE SUCCESS SHE HAS FOSTERED.

AVERAGE WOMEN DO NOT HAVE THESE SAME OPPORTUNITIES – THEY HAVE TO FIGHT MUCH HARDER AND YOU MUST WORK TO AID THEM WITH OPPORTUNITY.

Let us also reflect on Trumps idea of what a woman should be and should not be.

SHOULD BE: Not smarter than him, not richer than him, beautiful, “a hot piece of ass”, skinny, devoted, easily swayed, sexually submissive.

SHOULD NOT BE: pregnant in the work force – a waste of a worker, an aborter – who needs to be punished, “fat” – anyone who isn’t a stick figure, “a pig” – basically someone who eats, “ugly” – anyone who is not a model, “a dog” – someone with a opinion, “a slob” – someone who does not meet his level of standard, and oh yeah “A NASTY WOMAN” … someone with a voice and a brain.

Do you think he’s hiring anyone who falls under the latter category?

I don’t think so.

Let’s reflect some more.

In 1990, while married to then-wife Ivana Trump, Trump told Vanity Fair,

“I would never buy Ivana any decent jewels or pictures. Why give her negotiable assets?”

In 1991, Trump, in reference to the media, told Esquire,

“You know, it doesn’t really matter what [they] write as long as you’ve got a young and beautiful piece of ass.”

In 1992, Trump called Olympic skater Katarina Witt

“Wonderful looking while on the ice but up close and personal, she could only be described as attractive if you like a woman with a bad complexion who is built like a linebacker”.

This same year he claimed, in New York Magazine, that – ‘You have to treat ’em like s—-‘ in reference to women.

Here are a few more quotes – just for good measure.

1994

“I think that putting a wife to work is a very dangerous thing,” said Trump. “Unfortunately, after they’re a star, the fun is over for me. It’s like a creation process. It’s almost like creating a building. It’s pretty sad.” (To ABC News)

“I have days where, if I come home — and I don’t want to sound too much like a chauvinist… but when I come home and dinner’s not ready, I go through the roof.”

1997

“There are basically three types of women and reactions. One is the good woman who very much loves her future husband, solely for himself, but refuses to sign the agreement on principle. I fully understand this, but the man should take a pass anyway and find someone else. [In “Trump: The Art of the Comeback”]

To Howard Stern: “They said, ‘How are you going to change the pageant?’ I said ‘I’m going to get the bathing suits to be smaller and the heels to be higher’.”

1999

“I have a deal with her. She’s 17 and doing great ― Ivanka. She made me promise, swear to her that I would never date a girl younger than her,” Trump said. “So as she grows older, the field is getting very limited.” [To the New York Daily News]

And that’s not even anything close to what he’s said while on the campaign trail….

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Oh, and in 2000, he rated the women he wanted to sleep with. In case you’re curious, here’s his list.

Melania Knauss (then his girlfriend, now wife)
Ivana Trump (his first wife)
Princess Diana
Michelle Pfeiffer
Cameron Diaz
Julia Roberts
Cindy Crawford
Mariah Carey
Gwyneth Paltrow
Diane Sawyer

So – this is your President America.
This is who 59,400,000 American’s voted for.

If you’re wondering just how this all happened, like so many of us, here’s what’s being identified through voter data…

Who voted for Trump?
– White men and white women.
– White men and women with degrees, and without.
– White men and women with more than $50,000.

The UK Independent reported that:

– 52 per cent of white women voted for Mr Trump, compared with 63 per cent of white men.

– 80 per cent of black men voted for Hillary Clinton, who also attracted the support of 93 per cent of black women.

“Much of the rhetoric before the election pointed towards Mr Trump’s support from white men, angered by the political establishment. However, exit poll data collected by Edison Research for the National Election Pool, a consortium of ABC News, the Associated Press, CBSNews, CNN, Fox News and NBC News and reported by The New York Times, gives a deeper insight into which groups his votes stemmed from”. (Independent)

And yet I STILL continue struggling to understand…

With so much at stake…. how did OVER 100 MILLION eligible voters opted NOT to vote at all.

American, your new PRESIDENT threatened women with sexual assault – documented fully in his infamous, “Grab her by the pussy” tape…. and YET just a month later, so many of you handed him a Presidency and said here – take this – you deserve it.

I truly believed that the tape mentioned above would FINALLY lead to his unraveling – that he would not be able to come back from that – that there was no way American’s would permit this behavior – that they would finally have had ENOUGH – but I was wrong.

America blind-sighted me with ignorance and hate.

I haven’t stopped trying to make sense of it all…
Is it because Hillary was a woman?
Was it because people are sick of experienced politicians?
Is Wikileaks to blame? The emails?
Is it the media’s fault?
Were the Electoral College votes rigged?
Would Bernie Sanders have beat Trump?

To these questions, contributor Alexie Evans responds –

“This is not about liking or disliking Hilary Clinton — it’s about how decades of political experience lost, because of the sex of that person. It’s about how a woman running a country is seen as a worse result than a man running a country who has no experience, preparedness, or knowledge. It’s about how the education system in America has failed so drastically. It’s about how people can brush off such hateful comments as “a joke.” It’s about how people who are in privileged positions (the rich, the white, the straight, etc.) can vote for this man because they stand in such a position to be able to think that his decisions will not affect them. It’s about how these privileged people would rather have an entertaining reality show than a country that’s actually run by someone level-headed. I am so disappointed in the American people. I truly expected more than this. That someone so hateful to SO MANY groups of people could influence, disillusion, and sway that many people to vote for him is beyond me. I don’t know how any of this man’s supporters can tell the people they know in oppressed and marginalized groups that this vote helps them in any way— Trump does not care about these groups. And apparently, neither does half the American population”.
– Alexie Evans

Damn!

But she’s right – isn’t she?!

I guess the only think to do now is to try our best to begin to move past these complex questions and start to re-organize and re-build.

This hurts, of course… but we need to put that hurt to work.

We, the Hillary supporters, and we, the anti-Trump supporters, need to continue to speak up and fight.

Millennials aged 18-25 overwhelmingly voted in favour of Hillary… THERE IS HOPE. 

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It is then up to millennials to continue to challenge Trump and his perceptions on diversity.

We can’t let his comments pass and be accepted without protest… we can’t lay back and give up – allowing hatred to grow and take over.

Another tiny bit of hope can be found in knowing Trump is actually a former Democrat… who’s values traditionally aligned with more liberal ideals within governing practices. And while he may appear radicalized to many of us… it is possible that his outbursts were politically driven – sparking the fears of super-conservative potential voters – just in order to receive votes. It is possible that he is not AS BAD as he has seemed… that this has been mostly a publicity stunt… that he will now settle down while in office… if we just give him the chance.

….and while these hopes are far fetched, and don’t excuse all that he has done to harm us, we must hold on, because at this point… we have no choice.

I may be Canadian – but I am a human, and I have a voice.

It is my biggest hope that we will break out of the depression, the grief, and the hurt this has all caused so many of us. I pray that every attacked group will not give up… I pray that suicide rates don’t rise for the LGBTQ community… that young women don’t think they’re worthless… that female reproductive rights will not be banished…. that religious leaders won’t have to warn their followers to change their spiritual apparel, just for safety…. I pray for hope, not this sense of hell.

And so, I’ll leave you all with this:

“You know, Scripture tells us: ‘Let us not grow weary in doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.’ So my friends, let us have faith in each other. Let us not grow weary, let us not loose heart. For there are more seasons to come, and there is more work to do.”

– Hillary Clinton (Presidential Concession Speech 2016)

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