It has been hard to look away from U.S. politics as the candidates, the system and the voters made mistakes and made a mess.
But we should look away, and look within, and consider what the U.S. example means for Canada, because this has to be a teachable moment. It should be concerning that in our modern world, in an information age, Donald Trump was successful in becoming U.S. president-elect.
When we consider what we were reading in print media over the past year, if we round up, basically 100 per cent of newspaper and magazine articles criticized or lampooned Trump, and 100 per cent of editorial boards endorsed Hillary Clinton. None of that mattered. Of course people should make up their own minds and vote with their hearts, smarts and conscience. But at the end of the day, people should have known enough to know better.
There are countless factors that added up to the Republican candidate surpassing the threshold of 270 electoral votes. We believe that many millions voted for Trump because they cared more about celebrity than substance, but we know, too, that that’s a simplistic way of looking at it. In a nation with tens of millions of voters, there are tens of millions of lenses through which an election campaign is viewed. There was great enthusiasm for the candidates; there was great apathy for the choices.
Could it happen here in Canada? Maybe, with the right (wrong) candidate and confluence of factors. But we can be proactive. We need to continue to step forward every day toward a society where Trump-speak is further and further removed from Canadian values, rights and freedoms. That way, that sort of candidate could never hope to be more than a fringe candidate here, as he should have been in the U.S.A.
There is justifiable trepidation in America about the the way Trump’s campaign contributed to normalizing prejudice and intolerance. We in Canada must continue to reject the very idea of any of those things ever even being on the ballot.