Yesterday morning I woke up at about 2:45am. It doesn’t happen often, and when it does I can usually get back to sleep at least for a short while. However, in this case, I felt a kind of heaviness in the air. It was odd, as usually I only hear quiet of the house. I reached for my phone kind of curious what’s happening, and it’s in this moment I realized what the heaviness is. Yes, of course, I’m talking about President Elect Donald Trump.
I’m not one to talk about my political views, nor am I about to try predicting the future (there’s enough of that on CNN if you were hoping for it). So this post is not really about my opinion about Trump, Clinton or anything specific to the election. What I will say, is regardless of how the US got here, the democratic system spoke, and Trump is going to be the next President. First I want to offer my congratulations to my US friends at it appears you still live in a democracy. No joke, no sarcasm, democracy means we have a voice. Democracy doesn’t mean we will always like the outcome.
First, for my friends and loved ones
I have countless people I love who fall into one of the groups Trump singled out during the campaign. Regardless of whether it’s the colour of your skin, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, etc I have a heavy heart as I cannot imagine what you’re feeling right now. To have the (soon to be) leader of your country stirring up such inappropriate things in such an unapologetic way has left me dumbfounded these past number of years. I can only imagine how this leaves you wondering about the basics rights you are supposed to be enjoying in a free country.
As the day wore on I started to see all kinds of posts, radio programs and articles with regards to Trump winning this race, and what that means for the US and world. If you’re wondering, I live in Canada and am confident I too will be impacted in some way by your decision as a country to elect Trump. Having said that, I think the same would have been true with Clinton. Let’s face it you really didn’t have a good choice this time.
What I saw all day were many different ways to react. Some who quietly mourned the outcome, and perhaps posted to social media in some way. Others who took to the street in protest, and in one case were apparently chanting “F*** Trump!” over and over again. I bumped into many Canadian’s yesterday while in Toronto, who were even very upset by the outcome. I had a few people who told me they weren’t able to sleep after watching Trump win the election.
I too lost some sleep. I woke up at 2:45am, and looked at my phone. When I did, that sealed my fate and I wasn’t going to sleep for the rest of the night. I had all kinds of thoughts running through my head like “what will this mean for my business?” or “will this impact my planned travel into the US?” I started to wonder if there was hope for this world, when someone like Trump can get himself elected to such a powerful office.
It wasn’t until I was driving to Toronto that it finally came to me. All I have to do is to keep breathing. To continue being the best version of me I can be every day. I know despite whatever might happen in these next four years, I am strong enough and capable enough to respond in a rational manner. This is when I heard a little voice in my head say “all hope is only lost if you choose not to have hope“.
The Emporer is naked
I had to stop reading and listening to anything election related for the past number of months. It was making me ill to hear Trump talk in such bigotted, racist, and sexist ways. Let’s face it, if I went downtown today and started yelling out even half the things he said I would likely be sitting in a police station before long explaining myself. I may even be charged with something (and should be if you ask me). So why on earth would anyone be able to get away from it from such a public forum as running for President. That said …
From my northern perspective, Trump didn’t actually say or do something which wasn’t already alive and well in the US. In fact, it seemed to be escalating in many ways and causing your country to become very divisive. For Trump, I think he was simply reading the room and stirring it up. It’s so hard to know what he really believed, as I think his single objective in all of this was to stir things up and win the election at all costs.
Here’s what I think we can all celebrate: The underbelly of your country is out in the open for everyone to see, yes even your neighbours. Yes it’s ugly, and may even be painful to see and acknowledge. However, with it now exposed, you can now choose to look at what is real and true about what you as a country are seeing. When it was kept under the covers, it was far more difficult to see, and when it’s difficult to see it’s all too easy to just deny it’s really a problem.
I hold the same thought process about so many other things I’ve observed. For example, the US is already deeply in debt, and Trump doesn’t have a great track record with businesses. Trump has said he will stop free trade to keep jobs in the US, when the truth is you are stronger because of free trade. Truly this is a case of the Emporer is naked.
Just breathe … there is hope
This morning, I am sitting in my living room as I write this. The sun is coming up and shining through the trees to bring us another day. What I know is there is hope. There is hope for all of us if we choose to accept nothing less. The next four years could get interesting, however, I also know when I move towards my own discomforts and stop denying they exist something beautiful emerges. So I am confident something beautiful will emerge in the years to come.
In the meantime, my wish for you and the whole world can be found in this picture (it’s what I’m seeing right now). The best thing we can do now, and always is to stand together as a community and never stop believing in a better world.
Together we just need to Live, Love, and Laugh.