BY KATHY MCDONALD
I must admit that I had to rewrite my entire column as I was so convinced that common sense would prevail and that the President Elect of the United States of America would be Hillary Rodham Clinton. But as we say in Jamaica “Common sense not so common”. I thought that given the racists and misogynist rants, the fact that Trump constantly berated minorities, the disabled and anyone that did not meet his standards of beauty, his tendency to be so arrogant and the abundance of allegations of fraud coupled with his blatant lies; there was no way he could be elected. I kept saying to everyone. Trump will be trumped. I said this even though the polls, the pundits, my friends and colleagues were saying he could win. Deep down I knew that Trump could win but I kept saying that he would not. This was probably my mechanism of coping with the brouhaha surrounding the past months.
I equate this experience to being in a loveless marriage that one stays for the “good of the children”. You know deep down that you spouse is disingenuous and his family and friends know this too but you stay. You cope by being in a constant state of denial. “When my last child left home that’s when I physically left” Jane (not her real name) said about ending her thirty-seven-year marriage. Coming home late after our bi-weekly meeting at the Peel District School Board, I rushed to the TV where my husband was watching CNN, when he stated “It does not look good”. Around 1o’clock we lost hope and went to bed. We heard the results when we woke up. A flood of emotions rushed through my being. My brilliant eight-year-old daughter came running into our bedroom on October 9th saying “Mommy they made a mistake they announced the wrong name” She was so confident that it was a huge mistake. Her enthusiasm quickly turned to despair as her trademark smile was transformed to a frown when I told her “It’s not a mistake sweetie”. Even my eight-year-old understood the negative implications of a Trump presidency. Forget for a moment things like the stock markets and other financial indicators just think of our children. There are so many anxious children in America, Canada and quite frankly the world.
The importance of educating the populous cannot be lost in this election. The necessity of capitalizing on the opportunity to engage your children in dialogue and critical thinking exercises should not be ignored. I would encourage parents to use this time as an opportunity to have uplifting and in-depth discussions and debates with your children. There is so much fodder that this whole process provided for family time talks. Never underestimate the power of these young vibrant minds, especially in a wired world. Young children are exposed to a constant bombardment of information and they often benefit greatly from healthy discussions. A lot of the information can be quite frightening and confusing. The children know that this election is important and that the impact can be far reaching. There are innumerable topics that could spur enlightening discussions: why do you think Trump’s negative campaign was so effective?, is racism on the rise and civility on the decline?, the differences and nuances between glaring lies, hyperbole and propaganda, women and the glass ceiling, privilege and power, body image and its connection to one’s self-concept and self-worth, immigration and the immigrant; the power and importance of the Black vote, one’s civic duty to vote regardless of race or ethnicity; the electoral college and the individual ballot to name a few.
Never underestimate the power of hate, ignorance and propaganda. Trump in his “astuteness” tapped into the frustrations of the middleclass. Middle class people in America, in fact all over the world are fed up of seeing the rich top 1% in society doing remarkably well while the they are living pay cheque to pay cheque. In most cases, they are worse off than they were ten years ago. We saw this in the UK where the citizens voted in a referendum to exit the European Union. We see in America that the immigrant is being targeted as one of the reasons that middle white America is not thriving. Trump played on people’s biases and hopelessness to fuel a campaign with a racist slant. There is great similarity to this and the rhetoric of Hitler and Mussolini. I would encourage parents to examine some of these observations and linkages with your children especially older children. This is an ideal time to speak about social justice, racism and prejudice.
For the record, I was right about one thing you have more descent people than “deplorables” in America. Hillary Clinton won the popular vote. She received more individual votes than Trump even though she got less electoral votes. I too like Seth Myers have been so wrong about everything regarding Donald Trump. I can only hope that I am wrong about his ability to lead. I sincerely hope that the leader of the most powerful and influential nation on earth is not the xenophobic, misogynistic, impulsive, racist narcissist that I think he is. So, as we wait and see what path the journey will take in the future…. Walk Good. Belle Marché.