I am not planning to become a political commentator but, thanks to my grandmother’s son, I have been incredibly political my whole life. When I was young, people thought I would be Prime Minister and I kind of thought they might be right 😉 But once I got to the big city and discovered the ugly compromises it generally requires, I resigned as the Secretary of the Young Progressive Conservatives at the University of Manitoba.
It didn’t mean that I stopped caring or totally abandoned politics. When I was so hoping for the Hillary win, I was thinking of my dad, wishing he was still alive so I could call him to discuss – and remembering when we watched Jimmy Carter get elected. One of my favourite memories. Jimmy was a far more interesting outsider than Donald and still one of my favourite Presidents. The truth is, people, Presidents are just part of the machinery and – if you don’t have a corrupt, incompetent system – they often set the tone rather than develop and pass all the legislation so I judge them more on what they do after they get that famous – and Jimmy has been a superstar.
It’s odd talking about Jimmy Carter and Donald Trump in the same sentence. I do think there is a chance though that he is a different guy than we have seen. I am going to cross my fingers and hope for the best.
Hey, my grandmother inspired me and I have adopted a lot of her values in my adult life and I have a lot of admiration for her but that lady scared the shit out of me through most of my childhood 😉 She was one of the toughest people I have ever met. She had some totally kookoo ideas. Despite the fact that she was fond of her Native Canadian son-in-law, she said things that were shockingly racist and made me uncomfortable.
She never had a passport. She took long bus trips when she was so elderly most people couldn’t have made it up the steps. She was a fighter. She loved her family. She loved westerns and young people. She was a force of nature and I am so happy she was part of my inspirational life.
But she was not perfect – and she had the kind of world view some of the people who voted for Donald Trump had. Politically, she was a hot mess. I think it was the Conservatives she hated her whole life. I know it had something to do about the price of eggs during that administration. She was a farmer. My father would argue with her but it never mattered.
I have been reading and listening copiously the past few days. My takeaway is my very special privileged life. I was raised in a place that isn’t dissimilar to the disaffected people who made Donald Trump President. I was crazy ambitious so I turned myself into one of the elite who is sometimes resented by members of my own family.
I’ve toggled between the worlds – along with lots of other permutations and combinations, having now been to 58 countries – and it has made me far more sensitive and understanding of the entire world order.
Trump is an opportunist who seized on stuff I never would because my moral compass is WAY higher but there is value in us all getting out of our normal perspective and trying to understand – and more importantly respect – the other guy.
Sure, Trump is a bully and a lot of his supporters are bullies. BUT I am NOT really an elite person. I am a girl who passes for elite…
And lots of the elite are bullies too. I managed to finagle my way into a very elite university program only to discover I had no way to bond with all these rich kids who had not been able to arm wrestle at eleven because part of their day was spent carrying ten gallon pails full of chop, which is pig food for all of you non-farm people.
I am trying to find something positive about the Trump presidency but I am listening to Colbert as I type this and it’s tough.
Trump is no ME. He doesn’t understand at all the people who voted him in. I hope they will call him out if he doesn’t represent them. The big challenge is that the world is a complex place. We are lucky in western democracies to have systems that can generally protect the average person. We already know that I wanted Hillary… but I think I really liked Bernie better.
The truth is politics is a tough, messy business. As is life. It is SO hard to find a solution that will responsibly let national citizens prosper and thrive.
I’ve never known how my father voted. Only that he really cared about the world. Not even about democracy. He seemed to be onboard when I decided at about age thirteen the best political system was likely benevolent dictatorship… but finding the right dictator such a tough call that democracy was the next best and workable option.
As a REAL OUTSIDER, what I would suggest to Americans is that they need to talk TO each other, rather than AT each other. That is their biggest problem. The elite can be pompous and insensitive. The frustrated can be angry and unreasonable.
You may not like it but the world is constantly changing and you just need to accept it and try to find the best way to embrace it. I have so much sympathy and compassion for the people in the Rust Belt whose jobs have been taken over by a robot or a cheaper worker but you have to realize those workers used to be really poor – as you were a century or so before – so they are grateful for the jobs, which have made THEIR lives better…
The big change that has happened in the last hundred years is that there is a lot more wealth. The bad part is that we have allowed that wealth to become concentrated in too few hands. A lot of us are victims of marketing. If you really want to change the world and bring jobs back to your region, support your local entrepreneurs – even if it costs a little more. We need to rebuild our sense of community. We can’t stop globalization and it is not all bad – but we have lost each other’s back…
Enter the Trump machine… It’s up to you. We can stop him. He doesn’t have a lot of original ideas…