Oh boy, it has been a while since I have blogged. Life has been so hectic in the past few months with wedding plans, family issues, neighbor issues, house hunting, trying to keep up with a new exercise regimen and not letting my house fall into complete disarray in the midst of all that, that blogging fell completely by the wayside. I do have a slew of photos put by though and am hoping to have the time to share them with you and tell you the story behind them in the near future if my life allows it. In the mean time I felt compelled to write today about what happened in the US election and how it has me feeling.
I, along with many Canadians, watched with varying degrees of horror and disbelief the circus that was the campaign leading up to Tuesday’s presidential election. I honest-to-goodness could not believe what I was seeing and hearing every single time Donald Trump opened his mouth. I have to say though, I was not shocked that Trump made it in. I groaned and hid under my duvet a bit on Wednesday morning, but I was not shocked, just disappointed. Why was I not shocked? Because I have spent a lot of time in the United States, especially over the past twenty years or so, since my grandparents retired down there. As a side note, my grandmother is getting the heck out of there. That’s the silver lining on this for me, Trump gave her the final bit of incentive she needed to move back to Canada. However, having spent a fair bit of time visiting my grandparents in the southern United States over the last few decades allowed me see the true colors of the country and they are not pretty and have not been pretty for a very, very long time. The level of social and racial inequality in America is staggering and far greater than anything I have ever seen here in Canada. Our country is not perfect, no country is, but the huge, huge difference is that here, no matter how poor you are, you can walk into a hospital and get treated and not go bankrupt and high quality university education is also far more affordable. Think of Canada with no universal healthcare and the best universities costing upwards of 40 000$ per year in tuition fees (add housing to that and you hit 50-60k easily) and the havoc that would bring about in our social structure. Yes, there are community colleges in the United States but I encourage you to read a bit more about them here and see that while they have some advantages and give the opportunity to get a higher education to students who could otherwise not afford it, they can also leave much to be desired.
The bottom line is, you cannot have a country with such major social inequality and not end up with a huge political upset at some point, which is why Trump gained such a massive following when he came in with his ‘Make America Great Again’ message. Give a disillusioned population someone to blame for their problems, ideally a group that is already marginalized, in this case illegal Hispanic residents, Muslims, Blacks and yes, even women and they will jump right on the bandwagon. If you think things are going to get better now that the election is over and Obama is saying that his first meeting with Trump was ‘excellent’, think again, read this and just look at Obama’s face in this picture:
Does he look very encouraged to you?
This is what the gentleman looks like when he’s had a pleasant exchange with someone:
And one more with Trump:
Excellent meeting, my eye. Once again, let’s make this clear: Trump’s victory is not shocking. If you find it shocking, please get your head out of the sand and educate yourself on life in the United States. It is absolutely nothing like what you see on your favorite TV show. It has nothing to do with what you see in the movies. TV and movie producers show what sells. The ugly truth of 43.1 million Americans, that is 13.1% of the population, living in poverty (U.S. Census Bureau 2015) does not sell. Study education inequality and race inequality in the United States, look at how much health care really costs and you will understand how this happened a bit better and remember, even if the percentage of people living in poverty (they refer to it as ‘low income’ here) in Canada is roughly the same as that in the US at 12.9% (or at least it was in 2011, the latest census data is not in yet), we have far greater opportunities for low-cost education and universal health care!
The saddest part of Trump winning the election is that he will not be able to fix the rampant social inequality in the States. His racist, sexist rhetoric will only make it far, far worse. America’s greatest chance for greater social and racial equality was Barack Obama, but in this age of constant desire for instant gratification, Americans were not able to appreciate his efforts.