I thought it would be close; I thought there would be moments when we thought that hate had won; when we started planning for an ugly new world. But I thought that ultimately, as the clock ticked towards midnight, Clinton would squeak out a victory. Even at 10pm, when things were looking dire, I thought that would be the path that history would take. I was wrong.
Initially this post was going to be one of those “open letters” that are so popular nowadays. It was going to be aimed at white women because in my opinion, they cost Clinton the election. Yes, it was white men who came out the most for Trump but we expected that to happened. What we didn’t expect was for the majority of white women, Clinton’s “tribe,” to vote for Trump. According to CNN, 53 per cent of white women voted for an admitted sexual predator.
I was going to explore why and how that happened but then I thought, why? We know the answers: self-loathing, ignorance, the fixation on interfering with the reproductive rights of others (I blame organized religion for generating much of these issues). Oh and of course, good old fashion racism. Trump almost point blank stated that a vote for him was a vote for preserving white privilege. I guess when given the choice between possibly losing some of that privilege and supporting a man who can’t even be trusted with a Twitter account, 53 per cent of US women decided to go back to their abusive ex than strike out on their own.
While we do need to explore why that happened, right now the focus needs to be on how to keep a shitty situation from becoming explosive diarrhea. And in here in Canada, that means we need to stop being so smug and realize that we have our own pockets of racists, homophobes, misogynists and others who would happily support a homegrown Trump.
You know them; they pop up from time to time on your Facebook feed. Other times you overhear them at a party or on transit. And sometimes they reach out to you via your inbox.
This morning federal PC leadership candidate Kellie Leitch sent out a pro-Trump email to her supporters. In it, she says that Trump’s victory is an “…exciting message that needs to be delivered in Canada as well.” Leitch, in case you don’t know, is a woman, the kind of woman that cost Clinton the election.
And now she’s trying to bring Trump’s message of hate to Canada. I don’t think so and based on Twitter, so don’t many other people.
But Twitter outrage isn’t enough. Leitch and the people like her need to called out more publicly. They can certainly say what they want (within the limits of free speech) but they need to know that their words and actions will have consequences. In other words, feel free to be asshole but expect it to go down poorly.
The classic Canadian stereotype is someone who’s polite. I think Canadians are more reserved than polite but either way, it creates an environment in which subtle hatred can fester. Fuelled by what’s going to happen in the US, I fear that festering will eventually escape the drunken conversations and stupid memes were it currently resides and make its way into the mainstream. Apparently, that’s what Leitch is counting on as well.
But it can be minimized. The next time you hear a racist joke or slut shaming or an ignorant comment about how group X abuses the System, question the speaker. Ask why they’re saying what they’re saying, if they understand the impact of their words. Don’t be afraid to provoke, educate, even shame if need be. No, it’s not an easy task but I imagine that it’s a hell of a lot easier to do than to be a minority in our current society (as a woman, I’m technically a minority but I’m also white, straight and usually have the confidence level of a GOP bro).
Hatred can also be fought by having a strong offensive. While this topic deserves its own post, I will state now that we need to continue working on creating a country in which everyone but assholes can feel safe and accepted and where the possibility for growth exists for all (yes, even the aforementioned assholes). There are so many ways that this can be accomplished, from volunteering time or money to raising children with progressive beliefs to just giving a welcoming smile on the subway.
And of course one of the most powerful tools for fighting hatred is voting, which brings us back to Leitch. Did you know that a membership to the PC party is only $15? One can be purchased here. No, I don’t know who you should vote for but there has to be a better candidate than Leitch, right?
Okay, here’s the promised cute animal video.