Donald Trump and I have one thing in common: we are both optimists.
Trump, for all his honking about the terrible fate of the United States of America, was optimistic that he could win a presidential election despite no political experience.
I was optimistic that our neighbours to the south (and our most important trade partner) would not engage with a clown like Trump and Hillary Clinton would win easily. Nearly all the polls had Hillary winning in a landslide, and even the cautious projections still gave her a 73 per cent chance of winning.
That is why I wrote and printed a Speculator piece about Trump losing. To pull the curtain back, the Silhouette’s glossy covers are required to go to print a day earlier than regular newsprint. That means we have to submit the Speculator on Tuesday nights.
Instead, I am wrong. That is not what kept me up on Tuesday night, it was the fallout that will come.
The United States elected a man who has more failed businesses than McMaster has overpaid professors, who called Mexicans criminals and rapists, who was endorsed by the Ku Klux Klan, who blatantly lied multiple times a day, who said he was “smart” for not paying taxes, who said he would commit war crimes, who lost access to his own Twitter account over the weekend for fear of what he might tweet, who wants to deport all Muslims, who wants to build a wall to keep Mexicans out, who believes climate change is a hoax created by the Chinese and said he will cancel the Paris Accord, who believes that the same-sex marriage legislation from 2015 is wrong and should be left to the individual states, who has joked around about committing sexual assault on camera, who has been accused of committing sexual assault by at least 15 women and who did not even know the election date. The list goes on.
And now, we look ahead and know we will not be moving forward. A man with this history, with these beliefs, with these policies, cannot push a country forward. Trump will only move them backwards and the entire world will feel the movement.
This needs to serve as a wake-up call for everyone. Intolerance is encouraged in the most powerful country in the world. We should not be naïve and smug – a default for Canadians when the United States fucks up – we should acknowledge this as a tragedy and take steps to address it in our own country because it absolutely exists.
In Hamilton, there are issues. The city had the second-most hate crimes per capita in 2015. While isolated incidents should not be used to represent the entire population, intolerance has a way of manifesting itself in the dark corners of our society.
We may not see the clues of hatred until a moment like this, where we wonder how we missed it all along.
The hints are not just the graffiti, arsons or slurs that happen in our city.
Kellie Leitch, a Conservative party leadership candidate, sent a press release describing the Trump win: “It’s an exciting message and one that we need delivered in Canada as well.”
Let’s remember that Stephen Harper vilified Muslims during the 2015 campaign too, and Harper would not march in the gay pride parade.
As hard as it may be, Canadians need to move forward in this bleak Trump-as-president reality. It was not our decision, but it is a burden we will carry.
We have to use this as an opportunity to evaluate ourselves and really turn our country into the place we believe it is.