It’s been one year since the U.S. presidential election. It seems like longer. I remember sitting at home watching the election coverage last November: I thought that it could never happen. Many of us assumed Donald Trump and his presidential campaign were a joke, and that it was impossible that the American people would elect him. Of course, we were all wrong.
While it might seem like it shouldn’t matter to Canadians who the President of the United States is, it does have an impact on us. The U.S. President is in control of the most powerful country in the world, and one whose ideologies tend to filter out into the rest of the world through popular culture and media. What’s going on south of the border has a profound effect on Canadians, both in terms of political policy and mental health. After all, having a loose cannon as a next door neighbour would make anyone nervous.
The last 12 months have been stressful. Trump was not officially sworn in until January, but the pressure his election put on the world was felt immediately. How were we going to handle this? How were we going to stop it? But the world continued to turn and Trump was sworn in, making one of his first acts as president an executive order, which would prove to be one of his favourite ways to get things done. That first order was an attempt to scale back the Affordable Care Act. He would not be successful with that one, as the fight to provide medical coverage for all Americans continues. But, that’s not the worst thing the POTUS has done.
Throughout this first year of his presidency, Trump has banned Muslims from several countries from entering the U.S., attempted to ban transgender people from the military, and called a group of nazis some “very fine people.” He has also attempted to or actually withdrawn the US from some important international agreements like the Paris Agreement and NAFTA. He also revoked government funding of NGOs, non-governmental organizations that provide a wide range of services in a charitable capacity if they “offer or promote abortion as part of their family planning service.” He’s also threatened to go to war with North Korea, villainized the entirety of the news media, and made lying a way of life.
This makes it seem as if the Trump presidency has been all bad. It hasn’t. Having a common enemy has brought hundreds of thousands of people together in an attempt to bring to light and correct the major issues of our day. The day after his inauguration, the Women’s March took over Washington D.C. That march was just the first in a tsunami of political protests that has crashed over the U.S. in the last year. Trump himself has brought to light some very important issues, though some may not have been his intention. He has demonstrated to the world just how racist and bigoted the GOP might actually be. He has put it all out in the open and given them all the opportunity to call him on it. When people start to think of John McCain and George W. Bush as the good guys, it really does show just how bad the bad guys have become. Trump has let the whole world know where his party stands. While it all looks like a storm of terrible things, what’s really going on is the world’s immune system has kicked in. We’re fighting off the diseases that have been festering under the surface for generations. I’m not saying this will magically fix everything wrong with the world, but it certainly is a start. Don’t lose hope. The world will make it through this.