When people find out that I’m American, I am usually asked two questions. The first is, reasonably enough, “What state are you from?” The second inevitably has something to do with Donald Trump.
In a way, perhaps it’s fitting. I’m from a country whose major historical contribution consists of getting overinvolved in everyone else’s business and making absolutely everything about itself. You could say Trump is merely condensed essence of America in the body of a malevolent cheeto.
Really, is it so bizarre that everyone’s favourite talking hairball with the personality to match has a serious shot at becoming president?
Needless to say, the U of M faculty strike is not the only political event occupying my attention at the moment.
By the end of Tuesday, Nov. 8, voters will have decided the course of my country for the next four years. On one hand, there’s a candidate with some skeletons in her closet whom many people disagree with vehemently, but who has decades of experience at the highest levels of global politics. On the other, there’s a man who has zero political experience, who consistently shows a fundamental misunderstanding of how the U.S. government works, who brags about getting around the laws he is campaigning to uphold, who refuses to agree to honour a peaceful transfer of power – perhaps the most basic tenet of a successful democracy – and that’s just a few of his political deficiencies!
There are real reasons to dislike Hillary Clinton. But when her opponent is a man who unabashedly brags about assaulting women and speaks about them like they’re nothing but objects for his pleasure, on top of him appearing to be gleefully racist and Islamophobic, this election should have been over the moment Trump accepted the Republican nomination.
And yet I find myself checking every new poll with manic desperation, because Donald Trump has a serious shot at winning and I have never been so scared in my life.
I’m a disabled female student working for minimum wage. The issues in this election will affect my life in a very tangible way. That there is even the slightest chance that someone as violently opposed to my very existence as Donald Trump could be my president is genuinely terrifying, and I’m not even a member of any of the major demographics he treats as his favourite punching bags.
What’s even worse is that there is a hardcore base of rabid fans who stand ready to vote for him. Millions of people see nothing wrong with his destructive policies and support his bigoted views. Trump counts among his supporters the former leader of the Klu Klux Klan and the chairman of the American Nazi Party. “Make America Great Again” keyboard warriors infest comment sections everywhere, giving us such gems as “I hope Hillary wins. I’ve never seen a presidential assassination before!” with over 200 likes.
Millions more look between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump – a man who’s so small, orange, and petty that he might as well be an Oompa Loompa – and honest-to-goodness think they’re equally dubious. Which, to be frank, boggles my brain even more than the Trump fans. How can people possibly be neutral in this election? How can people who recognize that a Trump presidency would be like playing Russian roulette with a fully loaded gun think that Clinton would somehow be just as bad?
This is the society I live in. These are the people I get to call compatriots. Even if Clinton wins, the people who hold these opinions still make up a significant part of the population, and the aftermath is going to be tense, to say the least.
In other words, Canadians, take this time to be grateful that the leader of your country is best known for being good-looking. At this point, Justin Trudeau’s smile is brighter than America’s future.