Dad and I were on the front porch back at The Homestead last time he was up from North Carolina, sitting in those Muskoka Chairs (or Adirondack if you’re American). It was a hot summer day, and he’d been busy over the last hour killing flies, and with a flick of the swatter disposing of their bodies between the floorboards.
Dad is a news junkie, and when he’s in residence one can guarantee to walk into that house that has seen many a political argument over the last 100 years, and find CNN broadcasting their sensationalized newscast on the TV in the kitchen.
My Father and I have had many of our own debates in that house. Growing up in Canada, with a Canadian Mother and American Father, my sister and I were introduced to a side of the southern U.S. that few Canadians see.
Last Fall, when Trump was still merely one of a handful of candidates, Dad had already shocked the heck out of me when he said I would vote for him if I could. Therefore I had made a decision to refrain from saying what was on my mind concerning that man.
It took a certain amount of tongue-biting. I mean, last fall it seemed the man had a pie-in-the-sky chance in hell of ever getting that far.
Yet, here we are, and Trump is President, and I know without even having to ask how my father voted.
I would imagine I’m in good company, worldwide, when I say I sat slack-jawed at the TV as the votes came in. Even as close as I am to the beating heart of the average American (given I too share that citizenship with my Father), I was stunned.
But why? How could a man who’s opinion on world events I respect, vote for such a man as Trump? He spent almost 50 of his 70 years here in Canada, and so some of our multicultural and open-minded values had to rub off on him. My Dad is not a dumb man.
How could I not have seen this coming?
How out of touch have I been to not see that there was a movement mustering it’s courage in the U.S. of A. A movement that had gained traction over the course of the year, as both sides, the media, WikiLeaks, and everywhere you looked, more and more rhetoric got thrown around, till at one point it became almost just a matter of “he said, she said”.
Still though, I thought, the American people will prevail.
I guess at some point, perhaps, for many Americans none of the facts actually mattered, and Trump knew it. Knew that his brash style, and say it like it is language spoke to a disenfranchised nation that felt that something had gone missing in the American Dream – AMERICANS.
So I’ve had to step back and try to understand. I mean, my Dad is not just some stereotypical misogynistic, racist southern white guy. While I may not always agree with his politics, I do value his opinion.
The media over the course of the last few months has not done justice to the movement that was afoot in the U.S., it would appear. As the news and media outlets paraded every dumb-as-a-stump Trump supporter across our screens, back in the corners of that country there was a revolution quietly gaining ground.
As I watched the numbers appear on the screen, the people spoke.
It was one of the points Dad had made, way back last Fall. That Americans are tired of the elites that have taken over Washington. The lobbyist in the U.S. has such a stranglehold on the inner beltway, that almost the second after your election, you are corrupted. As the newly minted politician takes their first tentative steps through the threshold, the average American believes they are already tainted. Already in the crosshairs of someone more than willing to pay whatever price you require to see it their way. For, you know we all have a price.
All but a man who has so much cold, hard cash at hand that no amount of money can buy him.
I was saying to someone at work yesterday, that if nothing else comes of this man’s election, at the very least the people have spoken.
For some, I imagine it was the only way they had of getting the message across that THINGs HAD TO CHANGE. I wonder how many Americans out there held their nose and put their cross through the square that would elect change?
Anyone who believes this election was just about race, religion or creed is just as hoodwinked as the elites who govern.
Now certainly, for some, that was all it was about. Some could never swallow a woman as President. While others, certainly, voted with their race card held up for all to see. Yet, that mindset would not have elected Trump.
No, the days ahead will tell what comes of that mindset, but at the foundations of the populace is a people who were tired of their voices being drowned out by talking heads on screen that do not even come close to representing WE THE PEOPLE. A vote for Hillary would have just been, for many, a vote for more of the same.
I’m reminded of my southern roots. That there was a time when my Great Grandmother could sit on her front porch and shoot the breeze with her bestfriend, who was black, all afternoon long. Drinking sweet Tea, rocking back and forth, at the centre of such racism that wouldn’t allow her to invite her bestfriend inside her house. My Dad reminded me a few years back, how that racism I had only read about in books, was all around him growing up. He could not have gone anywhere and not seen the products of that segregation that dominated his childhood, having grown up in the 50’s.
I am also reminded that that Grandmother of his raised him from the time he was 9, till he was 19 and came up to Canada to work in Tobacco that first summer. She was the Matriarch of her family, and her word was law. But those were different times, and that south was a far away land to me.
See, for my Dad, this election was not about bringing back a time and place best left in the past, for him this election was about change.
I guess, if nothing less, I see now for him, loving the country of his birth as he does, this election went beyond merely one political platform over another. Instead, it was a way for him, and every American, to stand up and say WE THE PEOPLE will not be bought. WE THE PEOPLE are not for sale.
Yet, god help us all, for with great change comes great challenges, hard lessons and choices that could very well have far sweeping consequences beyond the borders of the United States Of America.