I’ve never been too involved in American politics. I find it tremendously overblown, all pomp and flair with little to no substance. I’m sure that some enjoy the drama and posturing of it all but it just reminds me of professional wrestling.
American politics used to feel like something that really shouldn’t affect me. I didn’t know much about it, I had an inkling of what democrats and republicans stood for and I knew that there were donkeys and elephants involved somewhere. Outside of that, I had little to no understanding of their politics. I’m a Canadian, I have Canadian problems and I‘m much to busy being apathetic about my own country’s political issues to worry about someone else’s.
However, as I watch from the north, I find myself squirming in my seat a wee bit. I wonder if this is how Poland felt just prior to September 1st, 1939 when Germany invaded. Something bad is brewing. It’s like living in a really nice neighborhood and one day, a moving truck pulls up to the place next door and a bunch of sex offenders move in. Suddenly, you don’t feel safe and you’re constantly looking over the fence, worried about what your neighbors might be planning.
Politics seems to have become a sort of sporting event in American on par with the Superbowl. With great spectacle, American news stations offer around the clock coverage of political debates and the issues surrounding them. Using infographics and play by play breakdowns, CNN, FOX, NBC and CBS, to name a few, sift through mountains of details about the presidential hopefuls in an effort to garner controversy or support for individuals who sit in line with the political leanings of the network. Whose up for some unbiased reporting, right?
That’s where the allure of someone like Donald Trump comes in. Every sexist, inflammatory and/or ignorant thing that he says is a veritable gold mine for reporters because it gets international coverage. I don’t feel like it is hyperbole to say that much of the world is watching everything Trump is saying and doing right now.
Whenever Trump speaks, tweets or messages something, we gobble it up; we share it on Facebook, retweet it and therefore serve to increase the spread of his message. Why? Two reasons: one, he keeps it simple. “America good! Guns Good! Economy good! Women in the kitchen!” His messages appeal to the lowest common denominator and there are far more of them than there of the more reasonable clear thinking people. The second reason we support Trump, whether we mean to or not is because of the cult of celebrity in North America. We elevate our so-called social betters to such lofty heights that they are above reproach. No matter how awful the deed or insidious the act, there is no real punishment for their actions. We’ve seen it before. Consider the illustrious Rob Ford, Toronto’s’ former mayor and recreational crack user. His well-known bizarre and sometimes violent antics led him to international fanfare and even a visit to Jimmey Kimmel Live.
I’ve come to accept that politics is more about protecting the bottom line than ensuring the basic needs of the population are met. I get it; we live in a capitalist society where money and corporations come first. What unnerves me is that I truly think Trump is going to win. Where will that leave me as a Canadian? Must I watch the border for the resource starved southern half of North American to start moving into my backyard?
A few of my more mature colleagues have told me to believe in people making the right choice, that no one could possibly elect Trump president. I disagree; I think that America has their finger on the self-destruct switch, wondering to themselves what will happen when they push it.
This excites the part of me that romanticizes the idea of the apocalypse. Perhaps should the worst (or best) come to pass, I will finally be able to live out my dream of leading a ragtag group of mercenaries across the scorched irradiated wasteland that once was Canada. When I think about it like that, I sort of want Trump to become president.