I am so looking forward to January 20th when the United States inaugurates a new president. One can only hope the shenanigans of the current leader will no longer dominate the news, social media posts, and television talk shows. In the last four years, it seems no matter what kind of social situation I am in the bizarre and derogatory comments or arrogant and rash actions of Donald Trump somehow end up as part of the conversation. And I am as much to blame as anyone. I have been reading American newspapers and magazines and watching news clips from that country to a degree I never did before Trump was elected so I have often been the one who talks about him.
I have allowed him to take up too much space in my head and to make me too pessimistic about the future. Knowing he will no longer be leading what once was the most powerful country on earth has given me a greater measure of hope for a world that will be a good place for my grandchildren to grow up in and raise families of their own. The fact that there were still enough people in the United States who saw him for what he was and voted him out of office restores some of my faith in humanity. I am reminded of a photo an American friend posted of her and her young daughter dancing with abandon in a city park after the election last month, as though a huge dark cloud had just been lifted off their lives. Although I am not an American I feel that in a way too.
Donald Trump was gifted at exploiting the damaging and dangerous political, religious, racial, financial and cultural divides in our world for his own purposes. Maybe he has done us a favour by exposing those harmful and gaping divides so when he is gone we can spend more time talking about how to cross them and build bridges rather than focusing on his self-serving bridge-burning rhetoric and antics.
The Trump Silver Lining
Why Do Men and Women Vote Differently?
Yascha Mounk- Lots to Think About
We were having supper in a small hotel in Portugal and my husband struck up a conversation with the only other diner, a man from Chicago. He was in Portugal looking for a retirement home to buy. He and his wife had planned to retire in Arizona or Florida but the election of Donald Trump and the fear he might get re-elected in 2020 has them looking elsewhere for a retirement residence.
Our dinner companion said he wants to throw up every time he sees Donald Trump on television. He called him and I quote “a moron without morals.” He told us he is particularly sickened by the evangelical Christian support of a man who is the antithesis of everything Christianity should embody. I asked him why he thought Donald Trump enjoys so much support in the United States. His answer was quick. “It’s racism. Pure and simple.” He felt Donald Trump made people feel less uncomfortable about their underlying racist tendencies. He was sure Trump was voted in as a backlash against the election of a black president.
The morning after our conversation with the Chicago businessman I happened to read an article in The Atlantic called The Heavy Burden of Teaching My Son about Racism in America. It was by Jemar Tisby, a PhD history candidate and the president of a group called The Witness. They seek to engage the Christian church in an honest dialogue about racism in America.
Tisby’s article explained how he, like all diligent black parents, has had to introduce his seven- year old son to the reality of racism in the United States. Black parents must remind their children early and often that people may consider them threatening for no reason. They must tell their kids they will have to work twice as hard as others and won’t get second chances. They have to teach their children that just hanging out with other black kids in too big a group can raise suspicion.
Parents must choose the right way to explain lynching and slavery since they play such an important role in family history. Tisby lives in Mississippi and he says racism is especially prevalent in the American south. He believes in the south for “every adult who is trying to train their children to confront racial intolerance, there is another teaching their children how to perpetuate and preserve it.”
I had wanted to believe my Chicago acquaintance from the previous evening was exaggerating when he talked about the extent of racism in the United States. Tisby’s article suggested he was not.
And we Canadians need not grow too smug, We have our own issues of racism to address.
I’m So Tired of You America
A Novel So Long It Took Us Through Eight States
We were out with friends last Sunday night. We had spent many hours together and were enjoying one last beverage before we went our separate ways. I mentioned something Donald Trump had done that week.
“I thought we were going to get through the evening without talking about him,” our friend said with just a little disappointment in his tone.
My friend’s response wasn’t a rebuke exactly but it was a good reminder. I need more time spent without thought and worry about the troubling political developments south of the border. It intrudes too much on the joy I should take in the blessings of the present, the company of good friends, the love of family and the opportunities I have to be creative, contribute to my community and learn and grow as a person.
I know I need to keep informed about what is going on in the United States because it does impact Canadians and the rest of the world but………. I should remember there are always more productive and positive things to focus on and talk about than the latest antics of the American President.
The Trump Silver Lining
I’m So Tired of You America
A Religious Opinion
Yesterday I did a blog post about Tiananmen Square and this morning I read that in last night’s Republican presidential debate Donald Trump was asked about comments he once made regarding the 1989 event. Trump called the massacre at the square a ‘riot’ and said it had been stopped by ‘a strong and powerful government.’
This morning friends from Hong Kong were posting links to an article in the Hong Kong Free Press describing the exchange of words about Tiananmen Square between candidate John Kasich and Trump during the debate.
On Wednesday I saw the play Chimerica at the Manitoba Theater Center. It explores the complex and troubling relationship between China and the United States. It’s a relationship that may become even more complex and troubling should Donald Trump be elected the next American president.
A Strange Family Photo- The Chinese Revolution and One Child Policy
Three Gorges Project