The possibility of a Trump presidency makes me feel anxious, also angry, appalled, repelled, stricken, unsound, hyperactive, itchy, doctor I just can’t sleep.
And I am not even American, although I am at the point where I worry we share lakes with a nation that could vote him in. It is nice to read that NBC/Wall Street Journal poll saying Americans really really like Canada, favouring us over everyone and everything. But do they know us?
Only three per cent of Americans said they disliked Canada, which is troubling because a much higher percentage will vote Trump so why don’t they hate our guts? Don’t they realize we dislike them? That we find them unconscionable, shockingly ill-informed and possibly not house-trained?
Trump does get the adjectives flowing. I have time to assemble word-strings when I wake at 5 a.m. and have a hard think about 2016 until my coffee arrives, courtesy of a family member, at 7. I’m on Twitter at 6, my working life not a pretty sight pre-election.
Then come thought-strings: Donald Trump, Joe McCarthy, Barry Goldwater, Wilbert Lee “Pappy” O’Daniel (Trumpian Depression-era Texas huckster whose slogan was “Pass the biscuits, pappy”), Dick Cheney (heart pump outside the body), Richard Nixon (anti-Semitism, CREEP, Cambodia, Laos), Jimmy Carter (good), American pie (good), Bruce Springsteen (depressed), Hillary Clinton, Between Two Ferns, white power tie ...
Each week brings a book-length manuscript of chain-link thoughts. I am not alone in my disquiet. The wonderful Michelle Goldberg of Slate has written a convincing anecdotal — “there are however a lot of anecdotes” — column about Americans going to their therapists about their Trumpy fear and depression, or as she put it, “a hallucinatory sense of slow-motion doom.”
“Once a week I wake up in the middle of the night in clammy, agitated horror,” Goldberg writes. This sounds familiar. I usually dream my newsroom is dotted with abandoned mine shafts, or that my editor is forcing me to walk in his huge men’s shoes, which flap on my feet and make me angry.
But now I dream of open spaces where people gather to watch arms being severed. Tell me that’s not a Trump rally.
American liberals, writes Goldberg, have often been ruled by detestable politicians, but not to the point where they envision the ruin of the country, civil war or possibly the Third World War. What most distresses them is the idea that many of their fellow Americans don’t mind Trump. They feel they’re in a Twilight Zone episode.
I was at wedding in Windsor recently — the University of Toronto student I mentor was marrying an American — and I didn’t know a single person in the room, which is my idea of a perfect party. There were so many Americans there. “Can we discuss Trump?” I said. Faces turned. We started talking. We could not stop.
Many of the guests had been to Canada before — so multicultural, they said approvingly — and some asked about moving here. I made encouraging noises and offered hugs.
It was a Jewish wedding. Trump’s campaign has been marked by anti-Semitic motifs and Trump himself singles them out in an offensive way. “You’re not going to support me because I don’t want your money,” he told a Jewish audience in Washington in December. Who talks like that?
One lawyer said he thought vice-presidential candidate Mike Pence, a Catholic Democrat turned evangelical Christian, was playing a long game and was actually the bigger threat. Others told me of pleasant friends they would no longer see after they erupted with Clinton conspiracies and open racism.
The wedding couple was living in L.A. Would the bride be expelled by a Trump administration? Come home, fine woman, and we’ll mentor your wonderful husband in the ways of Canada. We do not open-carry, we do not concealed-carry, we do not carry. But of course he doesn’t either.
“Fear of a Trump presidency is a normal human reaction, of course, not a clinical condition,” writes Goldberg.” A vertiginous sense of unreality is a symptom of an anxiety attack, but it is also a symptom of being a thinking person in America in the fall of 2016.”
Well, what about in Canada? If there’s one person we can all turn to, it’s Bruce Springsteen. He just gave an interview, saying “The republic is under siege by a moron, basically.”
I think the Boss is losing sleep, too. Will he ever leave Rumson, N.J. for Brampton or Bobcaygeon? It could happen. Hey, we’re all in this together.
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